by Dr Boyce Watkins
I woke up today to find an article explaining that black men are criminalized very early in life. As I peeked at the article, I thought to myself, “Why do we keep repeating the same simple information over and over again?”
Do we repeat these studies in hopes that white people will eventually listen? Is it some kind of cry for help? Are we warning other black people about things they already know?
I can’t say that I know why we keep repeating the same devastating information about our kids. But the truth is that I don’t need another study, article, movie, TV show, or radio segment to tell me that young black men are an endangered species.
Rather than being reminded of the problem, I’d rather focus on solutions. I think that, for some of us, we deeply believe that if we complain long enough about our situation, our white “brothers and sisters” will pick up the mantle, push their political leaders and donate resources to help us solve the problem.
Well, if you know the white people willing to write a check to resolve black suffering, please give them my number. No, wait. Don’t give them my number, because that would probably mean that they are trying to buy me.
Here’s a horrible newsflash: Other people don’t care about us, and they don’t care about our kids. The only reason that others work to keep up with what’s going on with black children is so they can best figure out how to exploit them. Our children are cash cows, being used for profitability and prosperity of people who don’t look like us. So, in some ways, we’re BETTER off when no one else is paying attention. At least they might leave us alone.
In order for black youth to survive in this country, it is critical that their parents give them an “Economic Survival Kit.” This is a set of important tools that every black person must have in order to survive the pain and enslavement of white supremacy. White supremacy tears at our psyche, it destroys our physical health, it makes us hate one another, and causes us to spend our lives as angry as I am right now as my fingers are banging against this keyboard.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t have much freedom in America. This freedom is significantly impacted by your economic state, as well as that of those in your community. There are at least two angles to this problem: 1) How far behind we are, and 2) How little we’re doing to make up the gap.
It’s one thing to be behind in a race, and it’s another to keep running slow. All around me, I see young black children who are learning all the wrong things, being pushed in the wrong direction and being taught to become drones for white supremacist institutions that enslave them in exchange for insecure jobs and inadequate wages. Even worse is that we often define black success to be disturbingly correlated with acceptance by white people and their institutions:
“I am successful because I attended Harvard University.”
“I am proud to be an executive at IBM.”
“I live in an exclusive neighborhood that is filled with white people.”
“I have a television show on ABC.”
You get the point.
Beyond the basic manipulation, I also see our kids growing up watching politicians milk their communities and police shooting black people in the head, all without much recourse. This only adds to the trillions stolen by corrupt sports leagues like the NCAA, failing urban school systems that are profitable for suburban administrators, and the rape and torture of the prison industrial complex.
In other words, we’re being screwed from the left, the right, up front and behind. Part of the reason that we are so easily exploited is because a) we don’t know what game we’re in, b) we don’t know how to play the game, c) we don’t have proper equipment, and d) we don’t always try as hard as we can.
But, as we spoke of at The All Black National Convention, there are solutions to this problem, if we are willing to change our habits.
At the very least, every black child under the age of 12 should be taught to start a business. If we simply developed a generation of expert entrepreneurs, we could shift the economic system into our favor. Knowing how to start a business can be the economic equivalent to knowing how to fix a flat tire: You may not want to do it, but it’s good to know if you are “stuck on the side of the road.”
Millions of black people, especially men, are stuck on the side of the economic road. They are marginalized at an early age and unsure of how to get access to money without begging a white man for a job. If you want to know the financial equivalent of having your testicles removed, this might be it.
We should also talk to our children about making investments to create multiple streams of income, learning how to save money instead of spend it, and finding like-minded black people to work with when white people kick them out the door. By coming together and believing in each other, we can develop alternative economic systems that protect us from white supremacy. My life got much better when I didn’t have to go to work everyday and be treated like a n**ger.”
What’s the point in all of this? The point is that if you want your children to succeed, you must prepare them for success. If you want success for yourself, you must learn the game you’re trying to play. The world runs on one big economic engine, so we would be wise to spend time learning how this engine works and how to make it work for us.
Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD and author of the new book, “The New Black Power.” He is also the founder of TheBlackWealthBootcamp.com.