Now is the time of the year when a lot of people will be giving “state speeches.” The President gave his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. Governors are giving their State of the State speeches. Mayors are giving State of the City speeches. University presidents are giving State of the College speeches.
And The Gantt Report is giving you a State of the Black Community column. Black communities in America today are in a pretty sorry state. I know you don’t like me to write like this because many African Americans are happy. But they are happy merely because they are here. They are happy because they have survived oppression, exploitation, degradation, dilapidation and disrespect for nearly 500 years.
I say our current state is sorry because I think we are in worse shape than we were four years ago. In fact, we may be in worse shape than we have been in since slavery days.
Our main problem is our problem. The black family has deteriorated. Black men are making babies whom they refuse to take care of. Black women are turning children against fathers who are trying their best to be a part of the children’s lives.
Black men and black women don’t want to be role models; they don’t want to be mentors; they don’t want to be benefactors; they don’t want to be supporters and providers, they don’t want to be protectors; they don’t want to be teachers; and they don’t want to be caregivers.
Sometimes it is necessary to go back in order to move forward. We need to return to the times when we loved one another, when we supported one another, when we helped one another, when we prayed for one another.
When the 2014 state speeches talk about job creation, they won’t be talking about black job creation. Unemployment in the ’hood is always twice as high as unemployment in the ’burbs.
Black businesses hire black employees. When you avoid doing business with your brothers and sisters, you contribute to black unemployment.
The Middle Easterners and the East Indians who own the neighborhood markets in the black community hire Middle Eastern and East Indian workers. They take your money out of the black community and take it to non-black communities.
It is easier to find a Chinese restaurant in the ’hood than it is to find a black restaurant in the ’hood because we don’t patronize black-owned businesses.
Affordable health care is one thing that is looking better in our community. I don’t say “Obamacare” because “Obamacare” is nothing but a watered down version of “Romneycare” that the former Republican governor started in Massachusetts. Black America really needs universal health care but what is in place now is better than nothing.
Yes, the government will say in state speeches that wars are ending on foreign lands but they won’t tell you about the wars starting at home. Fewer and fewer bullets will be shot at the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other hated foreign groups but shot after shot will be taken against the American poor.
Cuts are proposed for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, welfare, disability programs and other like services for African Americans in need. Instead of trying to see how many needy Americans can be helped, more state and federal money is being spent to see how many people can be cut off from government assistance.
If you don’t know, the little money people get from the government is not nearly enough for them to survive on. Ten dollars a month in food stamps or $800 a month in Social Security payments is a joke if you have rent to pay, food to buy, medicine to buy, a phone bill and other bills to pay.
The government comedy routine continues with talk about minimum-wage increases. If pay increases a dollar an hour and milk goes up two dollars a gallon, gas goes up one dollar a gallon, medicine goes up five dollars a month, an increase in minimum wage will mean nothing.
Our state, or our condition, will not change until we change. In 2014 and in any other year, we have to determine our own destiny; we have to make our own progress; and we have to depend on one another to make life better for us.
Stop being misguided, misled, mistaken and mistreated by people who don’t care about you. Take control of your family, your life and your community in 2014.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at allworldconsultants.net