Houston Forward Times

24 July 2013 Written by  Jeffrey Boney

REALLY……WHAT THE HELL ARE “YOU” DOING?

Selma Montgomery MarchYou know, I keep a running list of my pet peeves and sadly that list seems to grow every few days or so. One of my greatest pet peeves is when people criticize the actions and responses of others who choose to deal with issues in their own way, yet those same people provide no realistic solutions, nor have a track record of doing anything that remotely resembles results themselves.

I mean, why would you constantly criticize someone else’s efforts and consider their efforts fruitless, when it is clear and evident that your efforts appear to bear no fruit of their own?  To me, that is that most oxymoronic thing imaginable. It truly amazes me how people can always tell others what they see wrong, but can never seemingly develop their own strategy to fix things or implement things themselves.

Take the issues surrounding Black people in this country. You have a person who would say that we no longer need Affirmative Action or that we need to move beyond slavery or that Black people have an equitable footing with other races in this country.

This is entirely not true.  There have been tremendous advances for Blacks in this country, but those advances didn’t come without sacrifice or advocacy and they damn sure didn’t come because we were considered equal.  It is extremely naïve to say that just because Black people have this quasi-freedom on paper that we should not complain or protest when we consciously see injustices on a daily basis.  

How can we “turn the other cheek” and “forget about it,” when there is evidence of there being a systematic attack on Black people in this country since we arrived here on slave ships?  

Every Black person isn’t the same and doesn’t have the same makeup or opportunities.  Stop being naïve and be realistic. There are many Black people who are still dealing with limited resources, being caught in the system, employment discrimination, having no jobs and having to adopt a survival mentality.

Who is offering Black people jobs and employment, when we realistically have the highest unemployment in the nation?  Tell me, whose fault is that and what is your solution to this problem? How do we move from the mental scars and effects of a systematic plan to enslave and devalue an entire race of people?  Again, how do all these wonderful “ideas” that people have become a reality and solutions implemented?

I am sick and tired of the critiques of people who have nothing meaningful to offer, except critique. They act like a 5th grade teacher who puts red marks all over a student’s paper in order to show their “alleged” mistakes, yet offer no feedback as to why it is wrong and what would make it right.

Most recently, people have been criticizing people’s response to the Zimmerman verdict and the subsequent protests and marches that have followed.  For those of you who truly know your history, you would know that protests and marches aren’t new and have been the catalyst of most change in this world, especially in this nation.  Many people like Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others have led 288 Protestprotests and marches against injustice and what they believed was a threat to their existence and livelihood in the United States.

To go even further, we pledge allegiance to the United States of America and salute the flag, but isn’t war a form of protest?

When Black people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali, spoke up and out against the Vietnam War, they were deemed traitors to their country and communists. Yet, the U.S. goes to war with its enemies when it believes the enemy poses a threat to our nation?  Is the U.S. wrong for this form of protest?  

I accept people for where they are and respect the fact that many people react based on their experiences or their fears, but I refuse to dismiss or demean an activist because they choose to handle business in a different way than I would.

Say what you want about Quanell X, but at least the brother is doing something to deal with the issues plaguing Black America, even if someone else wouldn’t do what he does in the same way. If what Quanell did wasn’t effective, I don’t think he would have the City of Houston spending over $250,000 per meeting to hire police officers to be there.  I don’t think over 1,000 people would march down streets in River Oaks or walk across a busy highway during rush hour traffic, if he wasn’t doing something that resonated with people and was having an impact.   

Just because things don't make sense, doesn't mean they aren't effective.  The people will always choose.  People believe in a God whom they have never seen and have faith that this same God will answer their prayers. Tell me how that makes sense, yet we believe, hope and pray.  I know I do.

So, I ask, what was the purpose of the MLK protests and marches?  It took some time, but you eventually saw it.  Just like the protests forced Florida to arrest Zimmerman, who had previously not been arrested before the protests and marches.

Listen, if you choose to march, do your thing.  If you work behind the scenes on key legislative matters, do your thing.  If you are educating our young people, then do your thing. If you can contribute to the causes of other people by volunteering or giving money, then do your thing.  Whatever you do, do something.  If not, I hear you talking, but “What the Hell are You Doing?”

I'm interested in working with ANYONE who has those sorts of ideas and has a strategy to implement them.  Be sure to let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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. .