by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I received a call tonight from The Final Call Newspaper, which asked me how black America can be stronger and better in the year 2014. My belief is that this can be our best year and our shining moment if we are absolutely determined to make it that way.
One thing I mentioned that we must confront are those among us who are not seeking to advance the community. I’m not advocating hatred toward anyone, but I am saying that we must re-define the concept of “black unity.” If a family is unified, then that doesn’t automatically mean that you support every relative just because you have the same blood. Instead, it means that those who deviate from the family’s agreed-upon purpose must be challenged to either get with the program or risk being isolated like a virus.
To go further with the analogy, most of us have a relative or two who seeks to destroy those he loves rather than help them. They work to milk resources from their loved ones rather than make a contribution. Their actions are driven by selfishness and greed instead of a disciplined sense of community. So, what do you do with those individuals? Do you let them suck the blood out of your people or do you stop them where they stand?
That’s what this video gets into: In order for wealth to grow in the black community, we must deal with those who seek to harm our families. Much of our economic struggle is tied to the breakdown of the family and the inability of us to provide for all of our children. Volunteers are pushed to the limit taking care of kids that they didn’t make, all so other people can be free to run off and make more babies. Our society allows for the idea of 100% reproductive freedom, but does not support 100% reproductive responsibility. That makes no sense to me.
Single parent households are at the bottom of the economic pile in America, since one income is almost never better than two. This doesn’t even consider what our children lose when their one solo parent is out working 14 hours a day instead of nurturing, teaching and spending time with their kids. Also, the child support courts have ruined the financial situations of countless men, putting them in the shadows of society and even sending them to prison. When all of this occurs, the greatest victims are the children we leave behind.
My thoughts on this matter came to me when I went to visit a friend I’ve known since she was 19-years old. She is a beautiful woman who could have had any man she wanted. But instead of chasing the man with all the “swag,” she went for the man with good values and strong earning potential. Her logic was that such a man would be most likely to be consistent in a relationship, take care of his kids and be financially intelligent. As a result, 20 years later, she has three beautiful children with this man, lives in a giant house, and has been married for over a decade.
My friend’s wealthy life didn’t happen by accident. She planned it all along. She also didn’t allow temporary fights, temptations or a need for instant gratification to cause her to destroy all that could be good in her life. She fought hard to make her marriage work and to keep her family together.
The bottom line is that if we don’t plan our families, plan our children and plan our relationships, we are most certainly planning for lives of stress, chaos and financial devastation. There is a reason that, as Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses puts it, that African families consider marriage and family stability to be an important part of wealth building. It’s because it is.
The video is below, and the bottom line is this: In order to get to the core of our collective financial struggle, we must develop the ability to re-unify our families and establish a sense of community. This is critical for our survival.