today in black history

May 23, 2024

Actor and musician Benjamin Sherman "Scatman" Crothers was born on this date in 1910 in Terra Haute, Indiana.

In the Money

POSTED: July 01, 2011, 12:00 am

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Commitment is one of the most sacred words that can be said to a woman, and most times just the mention of it will make men run so fast you would think they are trying to get out of the rain. My concern though is not commitment between a man and a woman. I’m focused on commitment to the success of our race.

Are we committed to progress for our race no matter what the cost or have we become committed to the dollar and the hell with all the rest? Yes, our commitment to one another has changed over the last half century. We used to call it giving back - spending time with the less fortunate or donating to a cause. What results have our mediocre commitments provided for us? In my opinion, African-Americans are less committed to progress today then we have ever been.

Today it seems everyone has their own set of problems, and life is tough for many of us trying to make it. So many of us turn the blind eye to what is really going on until it hits home. When one of our own children gets caught up in the criminal justice system or death knocks at one of our children’s door, we then want to vent and say “not my child.” Well, it’s a sad day for our children and even a sadder future according to the latest statistics.

Commitment comes with a price tag, and yes, the cost is high - if you want progress you have to pay for it. If we are committed to progress for our children and want to leave a legacy to our grandchildren, then we have to pay for it, plain and simple. We are paying for it now in the wrong way. We are paying for it now by seeing our children make up 44% of the nation’s prison population. We are paying now by seeing African-Americans labeled the biggest consumers in our country (we don’t make anything; we just buy, buy, and buy). We are paying for it now because we are at the bottom of practically every economic category in the United States. We are paying for it now with the highest unemployment statistics of any ethnic group in the nation. We are paying now with the highest rate of single family households raised by our women. I can go on and on, but at some point we have to take a stand and say, enough.

When will it stop, what will it take for us to wake up and make that commitment to our families, children and grandchildren? Our problems are so great and so urgent that we have to solve them for ourselves. No one is going to help us out of this hell pit we are in but ourselves.

We need to make that same commitment to ourselves that we make to those companies on which we spend our dollars. For example, cell phone companies, that when they temporarily interrupt your service, you somehow find a way to get it turned back on pronto!

We have to make it happen! We have to create this opportunity. Collectively, we have millions of dollars sitting around in our homes in jars, piggy banks and rolls of pennies. That’s the old way of saving money, as grandma and grandpa used to do. We have to make money work for us 24/7 and the best way to do that is to invest it in ourselves. It’s true we are facing tough economic times now but our ancestors faced even harder times. Their hard times make our bad times look like a walk through the park, and they came out victorious. We must do the same.

We have to commit a portion of our hard earned money to progress for our future. I don’t care if it is nickels, pennies, dimes or dollars. We have to start somewhere. Right now, the sum is zero and as you know, nothing from nothing leaves - nothing. This is why we have not seen any financial progress in several decades; because we are not properly investing in our future. We are not making a commitment to ourselves and our families for a better life and brighter future.

Carlton Banks is the founder and managing member of Globalfinet, LLC, a unique economic network dedicated to solving the Black financial crisis. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author.

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