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04 June 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

INTEGRATION: IT HURT US MORE THAN HELPED US

You know, I’ve noticed that there is a noticeable difference between Black people who grew up during the tumultuous times of segregation and those born after the introduction of integration.

Integration, while being one of the best things that happened to Black people, could also be categorized as one of the worst things that happened to Black people collectively. Don’t take my word for it; all you have to do is look at the way our once strong communities and sense of Black pride have gradually eroded over the past several decades following integration.

If you choose not to ignore various reports and the latest study, you’ll find that Black people are statistically listed at the bottom of every good category and at the top of every negative category.

Sadly, Black people have been the unwilling beneficiaries of systematic, institutionalized racism and that should never been ignored or forgotten. There are many systems and contributing factors that have contributed to the issues we as people are facing. There are also too many issues that we’ve allowed to infiltrate the Black community where we’ve been silent and disengaged.

I’m often amazed when I see Black people complain about issues initiated by people outside the Black community, but say absolutely nothing about the problems caused and issues initiated by those within the Black community itself. Honestly, it’s as if we’ve turned a blind eye to what happens in our own house, but get all bent out of shape when we see or hear about someone outside the Black community crossing the line and disrespecting us; like Donald Sterling did.

First of all, Black people aren’t stupid. We know about the problematic and troublesome things that go on in our community and we know who those "in-house" perpetrators are, but unlike our predecessors, today’s Black folks sit quietly by and do nothing, and then somehow provide some unexplainable reasoning to justify why nothing should be said or done about these perpetrators.

Some people call that ‘snitching,’ but I call it being responsible for your own village.

Growing up, there was a saying I’d hear, which was "it takes a village to raise a child." That was then, but nowadays, many in the Black community rely on the school system, teachers, social media, along with the sports and entertainment community to raise our children and then have the nerve to blame someone else for what happens to their children.

Where is the accountability that we once had?

Many of us see drugs being sold in our communities and we know who is using and abusing those drugs, but instead of addressing it "in-house," we make excuses like, "We aren’t the ones bringing the drugs in the community," or "We don’t have planes and ships to bring the drugs into the country, so don’t blame us for what’s going on."

The end result of drugs in the community is almost always the same; rampant drug use, ruined lives, incarcerated loved ones, increased crime, murder and violence.

We see how gun infiltration is destroying the Black community every day and we see the number of guns that have infiltrated our communities, but instead of addressing it "in-house" ourselves, we make excuses like, "We aren’t the ones manufacturing the guns and shipping them into the neighborhood, so don’t blame us for what’s going on."

The end result is often gun infiltration always the same; armed robbery, aggravated assault, ruined lives, incarcerated loved ones, increased crime, murder and violence.

Where is the accountability, I ask? What ever happened to the people like Ms. Leola?

Ms. Leola was my family’s next door neighbor in the house I grew up in and Ms. Leola would keep an eye on everything that was going on in the neighborhood and somehow report it to all the folks and parents on the block. I couldn’t stand it or understand it. She was masterful at looking out her window, at any time of the day or night, and be able to see nearly everything that was happening in the neighborhood. She would then somehow report everything back to her respective neighbors and all the parents on the street.

Folks like me would get a spanking because of Ms. Leola’s report and I would get mad at her, while trying to figure out how in the world she even knew what I was doing. She would put the fear of God in everyone who knew her. We all knew she was going to ‘snitch’ on us if she saw us. Even the adults in the neighborhood were careful not to do any of their dirt in plain sight of her. We respected her so much that we made it a point to speak to her and do nice things for her. We found ourselves looking at her right-side window to see if her blinds were moving, because if you had a neighbor like mine, you know you had to look for that movement in the blinds.

Although I didn’t like it or understand it at all then, I can look back and appreciate what Ms. Leola was doing for her community and for me. She wasn’t doing it to hate on me. On the contrary, she was doing it to protect me and the community she cherished. Truth be told, watching over her community saved me from making a lot of bad decisions on several occasions.

All I have to say is if you know troubling things are happening in your community and you choose not to address it, you are just as guilty as the people committing the acts. Many issues that plague our communities are the direct result of the people with the wrong mindset.

You can’t ignore these important issues. They are your issues; they are your problem; and they should be your concern. It is your community, so stop running away from these issues. You can’t escape them and if you don’t deal with them, they might just show up at your doorstep.

But then again, maybe we should just do like most of today’s disengaged Black folks have been conditioned to do; just shut up, pray, do nothing and say nothing. I’m almost certain that if the predecessors, who sacrificed and fought for us, would have predicted we’d respond to integration the way we did, they’d probably balk at the idea of it and focus on maintaining the village.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .