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BlackPeopleReadingWe’ve all heard that age-old expression haven’t we? “If you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.” (or some say, “write it down”)

So, you mean to tell me that Black folks don’t like to read?  

Maybe so, but this is a long running stereotype that has been applied to Black people for years. The overarching thought process is that Black people tend to rely on verbal communication to receive their information and chronicle their history, and have abandoned the skill of reading and writing.

Some people may take offense to this stereotype, but does that make the stereotype untrue?

I am often surprised when I talk to people about some of the fundamentally basic pieces of information that you would think everyone should or would know, just to find out that they don’t have a clue.

I find myself laughing at Jay Leno’s bit on The Tonight Show called “Jaywalking”, where he interviews average people on the streets by asking basic easy questions that they don’t know the answers to. Now don’t front and act like you don’t respond the same way I do, by saying to yourself or to the TV screen, “Man, you don’t know that?” LOL.

The sad reality of it all is that these are just the folks that Jay Leno ran across. There are way more folks out here that are in the same boat. Maybe even some of you that are reading this article.

I am an active participant on social media sites and it never ceases to amaze me how people fall victim to false information and pass it on as fact; most of the time even believe it as the gospel. It makes my heart bleed to know that so many of us fall victim to half-truths, lies and deception.

It disturbs me equally that Black people continue to get the shaft because they refuse to learn about their history and simply buy-in to what folks tell them because it sounds good. From my vantage point, it tends to be a cultural thing.

Many of us go to church without a Bible and simply put our trust in what the minister says to us and as long as it feels right and is emotionally stirring, then it must be genuine.  

We sit and listen to elected officials and politicians run in and out of our neighborhoods and churches during election time and sell us a bag of goods like Alderman Davis on Good Times.

I have seen so many of us drink the same kool-aid (no pun intended) that Jim Jones provided his followers, only to be led to our cultural deaths. I have seen so many of us buy the lies that the Democrats have told us and the Republicans have told us, all for the sake of pimping us for our votes.

How is that working out for you?

We have been told that if we support what the school trustees and superintendents want us to support, then we will see the benefits. How is that working out for you?

African-American citizens of Houston were asked to pass $2.7 billion dollars worth of bonds that are supposed to help better the lives of African-Americans, but the only thing most people read were the words on their ballot.  

I talked to so many Black people who didn’t have a clue about the bonds and what they entailed, but said that they just “went ahead and voted for them anyway.” What kind of sense does it make to vote for something that you have no idea about?

And let’s see who actually reads what these elected officials have planned with these dollars and who will be informed enough to even know whether they are doing the right things with the money that you authorized them to have when you voted to give it to them.

We need to read and know what the heck is going on around us.

I have seen Black people lose their homes and property because they didn’t read. I have seen Black people lose their money because they didn’t read. I have seen Black people lose their families because they didn’t read. I have seen Black people lose their land because they didn’t read. I have seen Black people lose their lives because they didn’t read. I have seen Black people lose their rights because they didn’t read.

It sickens me to know that we have lost so much, because we have chosen to forsake something as important as reading. I know that I am going to get the enablers and those that will make excuses, to attack me for being too judgmental and too harsh.

But then again, I doubt it.

They probably won’t take the time to read this either.

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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