by Dr. Boyce Watkins
There is a young mother that I speak with on a regular basis. She is a single mom with three handsome, intelligent boys, all under the age of six. I won’t divulge the personal details of our conversations, which can cover nearly every topic under the sun, but I can share this one.
We were talking about ways to build a solid economic future for her boys. I had to be blunt, since life can be equally harsh on our young people. I told the woman: “Whatever you do, please make sure that your boys learn how to start their own business.”
I’ve been discussing entrepreneurship regularly as part of our New Paradigm Movement, but for young black men, entrepreneurship is even more important than for nearly anyone else. The fact is that, even when black men have all the credentials and have done all the right things, there isn’t always a place for us in corporate America, academia or most other institutions. If we can find a position and hold onto it, we don’t usually get promoted like we should.
Additionally, you are exposing yourself to serious financial vulnerability by depending on one institution as your primary source of income. This is especially true when that source of income happens to be run by your historical oppressor (yes, I’m talking about white people).
So, my take on the matter is simple: Even if your sons get regular jobs, everyone should have a second and third source of income as a way to protect themselves against economic disaster. It is this glaring lack of economic security that has undermined the number of available husbands and fathers in black America. So, we’ve got to learn how to make our own money.