Recently, BET founder and chairman of RLJ Companies, Robert L. Johnson, released the results of a poll on "Issues in Black America." He considered the views of many blacks on issues ranging from economics to political pride. While the results showed a hopeful outlook, they also highlighted some glaring disparities. Unfortunately, it is these disparities, which keeps us from overcoming.
We have now lived through what Dr. King could only dream about. We have elected, to two terms, a black president. Is our work done? No. But where are we working? See, it's great to have pride in the First Family being black and beautiful. It's even greater to aspire to be president one day. Yet, hopes and dreams are only a part of the equation. What many forget is that, the Civil Rights movement was fueled by grassroots projects, coalitions, insurgency and education. Where are those things today? M.I.A.!
Today, blacks are still living in substandard conditions, with the economic gap widening every day. We boast an almost greater than 50 percent high school dropout rate, an unemployment statistic of 13.8 -- about double the national average -- and well, very few black families within communities all over this country. The disparity here isn't within the statistics. The disparity is within us, as a people. The poll results mentioned earlier, blames everything but, the people who are affected most, us or blacks.
Now before the Uncle Tom, sell out card and other blasphemous names are thrown around, let me point out that yes, institutionalized racism is still very prevalent. Likewise, society has not done all that it could to increase the potential for blacks in America. But, when did it ever?
During the Civil Rights movement, blacks understood that America was not built for our betterment and so we marched the streets, demanded better, educated ourselves on issues and laws and took up arms for justice and equality. We didn't wait, like passengers or bystanders, for someone else to do our work! Why, then, are we waiting now?
Education is free to all in America. If the system that you are paying into is broken, get off your butt and demand better. Start teaching our children, early and often, so that they are equal to their white counterparts in a classroom. Read to our children about their heritage and instill that pride which is lacking inside of American classrooms. Volunteer at schools to mentor students whose families are broken for no fault of their own.
Stop waiting on government policies to be handed down for our betterment, from people who don't even understand how we live! Let's educate ourselves about politics, parties and candidates. Let's get out and use the voting rights we fought so hard to attain. After all, it is easy to ignore us when we refuse to make ourselves seen and heard.
And for the love of all things beautiful, let us band together. The system has set out to systematically divide us. We hate our own people because they attain levels of prosperity and potential that some may never see. We demean anyone who dares say, we should look in the mirror about our issues, but, we yell for everyone else to look at us when our reflection binds our thoughts and actions!
If we want better, we must be better, do better, seek better and make it happen for ourselves. We can educate ourselves. We can own businesses, but we must take steps to set ourselves up first. Until we make ourselves a priority though, we will never overcome. We can no longer be our own disparity.
In essence, if we are to see our promise land, we have to start seeing ourselves and the conditions which we are accepting and/or creating. We can be more than a disparity. We are our own solution!
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