Traditionally, the African American community was a place of unity. As a people, we are connected through our ancestral experience of being forced into an unfamiliar land. Over the years that unity has diminished; leaving behind a community that lacks loyalty and trust. A profound group of people, who at one time seen strength in their numbers have now resorted to jealousy and rivalry. I too will admit that whenever this topic rears its ugly head, I immediately track our division back to slavery. However, who do we blame in this present day?
We can continue pointing fingers at “The Man”, we can blame the media as they are constantly showing the negative aspects of the black community, or we can take a stand and blame no one at all.
Let’s discuss the 5 top ways to redeem and rebuild the black community.
5. Support the Community
Simplified in one word “Unity.” How many times have you uttered the words “Damn we are the only racial group that doesn’t stick together”? The bottom line is that many black men and black women don’t respect one another. This is a huge problem. Alarmingly, we are very comfortable with making one another feel worthless.
You! Yes, you reading this article. Be the one to make a change. Start by organizing empowerment groups or events in your community. A local church, a rec center, or if you’re comfortable enough hold an event at your home. Give lectures on the importance of empowering each other, develop self-esteem workshops, have potlucks/ empowerment meetings. These events are affordable and easy to organize. But you have to want to make a difference!
4. Outreach Programs
The youth is our future. This generation of black youth, like all young people absorb what they see, hear, etc. It appears that the rest of society views black youth as misguided, menaces to society. With this being said, isn’t it imperative that we focus a great deal of our attention on our black youth?
Outreach programs are vital in communities where violence is rampant. Outreach programs can provide a safe space, giving these youths the choice of staying out of the violence. It is a known fact that young people are more susceptible to choosing a criminal path when they are raised in violent environments. We need to bring back more youth programming. Healing the children of today will improve the adults of tomorrow!
3. Educate Yourself
Lack of Education will result in self destruction
We must always stay abreast with issues. Local news, political affairs and any knowledge pertaining to the black community is important. Once we obtain this knowledge, we are responsible for passing it down to our younger generation. Also, educating one’s self on black history as well as current events will help to find a solution to the problems.
Financial Literacy is one of the most important lessons we can teach. Most black communities struggle financially merely because we do not educate ourselves on how to make money circulate within our communities. Instead, we support nonblack businesses. As a result, we are left wondering why our neighborhoods are left financially stagnant. Create finance workshops, encourage others to attend credit repair workshops, watch debt solutions tutorials or simply read a book on financial repair. Remember, a society that is financially crippled will stand still while the rest of the world progresses.
2. Utilize Good Black Entertainment
The majority of black television programming nowadays, sets us back at least 300 years! Imbecilic reality shows and music videos portraying black women as sex objects and black men as drug dealers aren’t exactly my idea of wholesome TV. Not to mention other ethnic groups will see these same images; claiming them as reasons for why their injustice towards us is justified.
There was a time when African American shows taught us valuable lessons. We were able to self-identify with the people we see on the television in a positive manner. Television shows like “A DIFFERENT WORLD” “FRESH PRINCE OF BELLAIRE” and THE COSBY SHOW” were more than just entertainment. They held moral lessons that helped the youth of our community. We need to introduce this generation to those shows again. YouTube, Hulu etc. are platforms where this generation can absorb positive images of other black people.
1. Support Black-Owned Businesses
Coming in at number one, is my absolute favorite… SUPPORT BLACK OWNED BUISNESSES. Problem: The Black dollar stays within the community for all but several hours before it is spent at a non-black business. Sad isn’t it? Black-owned businesses are a dime a dozen. Solution: As a community, it is our responsibility to support other black people. Truthfully speaking we are the only ethnic group that spends the majority of our hard-earned money supporting non-black businesses. Black people tend to use the excuse of “bad service” as a reason to not to support black owned businesses. However, the reality of this complaint is that these same black people can experience equally bad or worse service at other stores that are owned by non-blacks, yet they will continue to buy there simply because “ That’s the only store that carries what I need” Can you imagine the financial increase within our own communities if we thought that way regarding black owned businesses?
I don’t think we realize how powerful our money really is. If we do not put our black dollar back into our black communities, then how will we rebuild our black communities to be bigger and better? Make it your personal obligation to support black-owned businesses.