Monday, January 16, 2012
Have you ever heard that black people are the biggest consumers? I find that hard to believe when blacks in the US only consume a very small fraction of the country’s wealth. Maybe a more suitable phrase would be ‘Black people don’t know how to save their money’ and/or ‘Black people like to appear as if they have money’. Do you think these statements are true? These statements couldn’t be true because it’s a generalization.Let’s think about the blacks that we know that have an obsession with ‘making money’. Besides their skin color what else does this group have in common?
One thing they want more than money is the appearance of having money: The fake-it-until-you-make-it syndrome. For instance, jewelry; there were more diamonds at the NFL Draft than there were at the Royal Wedding. Compare the two, who is wealthy and who has the desire to appear wealthy? Kanye said it best ‘They made us hate ourselves and love their wealth’.
Education is an underrated investment. Education is liberation. Education leads to power. When you are in a community that lacks in resources, the best thing you can do is educate yourself.
Knowledge is power; cliché as that may sound it is true. The more knowledgeable you are, the less you can be manipulated. If you receive $100,000 today from an insurance policy, what would you do with that money? Buy a car? Or put a down payment on a house? If you buy a car, do you expect your investment to depreciate or appreciate? The more you are educated, the more likely you are to make informed decisions. The more likely you are to acquire wealth. Everyone isn’t going to go to college. However, you do not have to have a college degree to be educated. You must have ambition, and a willingness to learn.
The poor communities do not value education, however, they value wealth. This is one of the greatest tragedies. If you do not have education you can still acquire wealth (you probably won't sustain it), but your chances decrease significantly. Acquiring wealth is not the real issue. It’s the way one decides to acquire wealth and the mentality that money can satiate all of your needs. If you spend your entire life in the pursuit of money, you will miss out on life. You’re pursing money in belief that it will make you happy, so you will not allow yourself complete happiness until you have money, and the money you obtain will never be adequate. You have now fallen into a vicious cycle.
One thing you need to realize is that you are rich. You may not be the richest, but you are in fact rich. Look at the other countries in the world and see how they, impoverished, still maintain happiness. However, you, with food, shelter, clothing, are lacking? You need the latest phone, the biggest chain, the flyest car, but unknowingly, you are only investing in products that depreciate and can be easily taken. Once the new phone, car, or jewels come out, your former treasure has become obsolete. However, the ones providing these materials will continue to maintain their wealth.
We have to learn where the true treasure lies. It is not material, it is not flashy jewels, but it is our own understanding. Treasures can be stolen; however, they can never take your education away from you.
We Have to Do Better
After living in black communities and attending a HBCU, I have come to realize that the black community is very hard on themselves. We have the propensity to come down hard and strong on one another. We often see how the media illustrates us and how we are perceived by other races, but we fail to realize that there is more to us then our color. Yes, the media is cogent, leading us to believe the copious negative stereotypes of blacks. But who should know about Black People better than Black People?
If you ask me, one of the biggest problems within the black community is that we are always talking about the biggest problems within the black community. It is okay to discuss problems… how else will we ever come up with a resolution? However, these discussions are not being had with the intent to resolve but to criticize. I have never heard any other group of people treat their own kind so poorly. Black on black crime isn’t only happening in the streets with guns and violence, but it also comes from our own mouths. Have you ever heard the saying ‘If you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book’? I have. And I have only heard it from other Blacks. Why would we say or repeat something like this? I am black, and I read books. I have friends that read, and they too are black. I am sure the entire White population doesn’t read on a daily basis, nor does any other entire population. So why do we feel the need to criticize each other? Shouldn’t this be labeled a crime? As a young child, being aware of the racial differences, hearing ‘If you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book’ was an injustice. I was molded into thinking black people are less intelligent; black people were inadequate compared to other races. And it came from BLACK people.
As cliché as this may sound, we are more than our skin color. We have rich blacks, we have poor blacks, we have educated blacks and we have uneducated blacks. So should we expect the poor blacks to carry themselves as the rich black people would? And vice versa? Should we expect the educated blacks to carry themselves the way uneducated blacks would? And vice versa? The point I am trying to make is that we are all different. Yes we have our percentage of criminals, but we also have our percentage of doctors and lawyers too. If we have a greater percentage of blacks in poorer communities, then it’s a domino effect in the sense of ‘being a product of your environment’. This, is not based off of race but more so due to ones surroundings, which include economic status and education background. The poorer the community, the more crime you can expect. But why do we only focus on skin color and blame this as the cause?
You are a product of your environment. You become who you are depending on your genetics and upbringing (nature and nurture). With the race factor being put aside, consider the upbringing of a child raised in a poor community in America. How would he talk? How would he dress? Does he know what resources are other there to benefit him? Does he value education? Does the people around him value education? It's all about the environment. You can't expect someone from the hood to carry themselves the way someone from Beverly Hills would. And you most definitely can not blame it on ones race.
I say all of that, to say this: we are black, but we are more than just that. The stereotypes will never cease to exist. That is not under our control. But to spread these stereotypes and to believe them is an injustice. And to be completely politically incorrect, I believe we should look at the real issue which is education. When you are in a poor community, the more the likely-hood that you will be less educated. By being less educated has it's side effects which includes proverty and crime. Yes, rich folks can be criminals too, but their crimes are different from the crimes that occur in the hood. In poor communities Lil Ray Ray is getting shot because he wanted to be a dope boy.
Race doesn't have anything to do with the way people act. Ecucation, environment and economic status determines that.
(Disclaimer: I am not saying that only poor people commit crimes.)