W. C. Fields’ quote is a universal call for self and community uplift. Despite all the negative social turmoil of today, Jay Harold believes that the underlying premise of the black community hasn’t changed much in 35 years. African-Americans have always helped each other and pushed for change. Social and political change is necessary, but there’s another side that some people neglect to mention.
Let’s look at the social and political aspect from a Malcolm X quote: “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.”
This feeling is discussed extensively by the public today. The relationship between law enforcement and the black community has always been strained. The FBI’s COINTELPROc (a portmanteau (blend) derived from COunter INTELligence PROgram) was a series of covert and at times illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation2 (FBI). COINTELPRO was aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting domestic political organizations. African-Americans as different as the Black Panthers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were among many that were targeted by the FBI.
Many of the younger African-Americans question, the older generation’s willingness to push for social change. Jay Harold’s answer is that each generation of youth questions their elders about the lack of social, political and financial progress for African-Americans. The younger people do realize that the cumulative effect of generations of hard work in the area of civil rights resulted in the nation’s first black president.
Jay Harold has a few questions for African-Americans under 35:
Work More & You have More!
The typical black household now has just 6% of the wealth of the typical white family; the average Latino household has just 8%, according to a recent study3 . Jay Harold can understand why white households have more wealth, but why do Latino households have more wealth than black families? The question must be asked, “Are we being outworked?”
Jay Harold worked as a carpenter’s assistant building cement forms, as a person who picked up trash at a construction site, and as an individual who scraped the paint off of aluminum sliding (wasn’t good at that job). What about cleaning jail cells and feeding prisoners at the Texarkana, Arkansas City Jail. Jay Harold also worked every day except Christmas for years at his family’s restaurant. Many other black men and women worked numerous jobs and appreciated the work.
If you have one job and lack the funds to reach your goals, get another job! I see Black Men without jobs today and ask, What jobs are you willing to work?” Almost any job should be the answer. We know that’s not true. That wasn’t the case in the past.
What are We Spending Our Money On?
A report4 from the Social Security Administration states, “White households in the United States are far wealthier than black or Hispanic households, a disparity that remains unexplained even after taking into account income and demographic factors.” Are you saving 2% of your salary to build a rainy day fund? What about funding your 401K to get the company match? Are you planning for your future?
These are easy things to do without too much sacrifice. We can all see a possible future of financial hardship if action isn’t taken now!
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.” Malcolm X’s quote rings as true today as it did over 50 years ago.
Jay Harold has visited the South Side of Chicago and lived in New Orleans and Houston. The conditions are tough in many areas of the major cities. Are they worse than what the black farmers endured sharecropping5 in the 1910’s?
We love You!
“It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” Listen and learn from your elders, my young brothers, and sisters. Here’s a quote from Maya Angelou talking love and it applies to you.
“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”
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