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banner_jboney_colorI enjoy talking to senior citizens and those that have experienced some things in life.

They always keep it real with you and enlighten you with historical information that you would otherwise not know if you hadn’t talked to them.

I have been able to learn more about my family history because of these conversations. I have been able to learn more about the “real” Black experience because of these conversations. I have been able to learn more about the rich spiritual, entrepreneurial, social and political history of Black people because of these conversations.

These conversations never get old.

As you look at the state of Black America today, however, you have to ask yourself what in the world happened to us. I tell you what happened to us.

    • Many Black people, born during and after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, abandoned the struggle and allowed integration to lull them to sleep by ignoring the closeness of community that the struggle created.
    • Many of those who knew nothing about the Civil Rights struggles of their own people didn’t take an interest in learning about the struggle and teaching their children about it.
    • Many of them quickly forgot about the deep-rooted history of slavery in this country.
    • Many of them forgot about the way segregation led to Blacks being lynched and affected their ability to vote and earn wages.
    • Many of them forgot about how Jim Crow laws and being socially ostracized impacted their educational experiences, shopping options and dining preferences.
    • Blacks used to have a focus on the village raising their child, but after integration many of them moved away from that village to raise their families independently.
    • Black businesses once thrived because of the support that Blacks had to have for one another. There were so many Black millionaires created because of the loyalty of the Black dollar and their support for their own.

Think about the social ills that plague our communities that didn’t plague us prior to integration and a change of paradigm.
I have heard the countless stories of fathers and mothers, who held nothing more than an elementary education, would work menial jobs to put their kids through school. They wanted to ensure that their children received a quality education, so that their kids could live a better life than they did.

Fast forward to today, and you see many Black parents aren’t even concerned about their children’s education. Many of them allow their child to drop out of school and leave it up to politicians and school officials to determine what’s best for their child.

Think about that for a minute. How could parents who had an elementary education produce children who are academically successful and today’s parents can’t?

Somebody along the way failed their children, who are now failing their children.

Black people lead the nation or at the top of the food chain in many unflattering categories; such as HIV/Aids, disease, incarceration, crime, drug abuse, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, single-family households, orphans, government assistance, etc.

Somebody has to take responsibility for this, but rarely do Black people accept the responsibility as their own. Many of those who “got theirs”, failed to challenge those within their own family to do better. Instead, many people made excuse after excuse for their inability to deal with the issues impacting the Black community, thus creating a generation of future folks to freely ignore the struggle that allows them to exercise the freedom that they so graciously appreciate.

I have heard about the deep spiritual foundation within the Black community and how that spirituality helped Blacks deal with slavery. The savage and brutal experience of slavery, coupled with a strong spiritual focus, allowed Blacks to develop and strong sense of community and support for one another. Coming out of slavery, when Blacks had to deal with segregation and Jim Crow, they hunkered down and dealt with it TOGETHER.

So, the next time you hear people complaining about how these young Black people don’t respect them or complaining about how these young Black kids aren’t doing anything with their lives, remember most of you are the issue, not them. Many of you abandoned them and the purpose of the struggle, which has been passed on from generation to generation.

They aren’t the foundation of the problem, many of you are.

Take responsibility! Own up to your failures as spiritual, community, business, political and family leaders. You created this monster!


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

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