The Urban League issues a State of Black America report every year in which they identify the problems in the Black community compared to Whites. And every year it states that Blacks are losing ground on Whites in employment, housing, overall income as well as education. In other words in every positive aspect of life, Blacks are losing ground. When you add the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, it becomes very clear where that leaves Blacks.
The biggest problem I see in today’s Black communities is self-hatred. As soon as we start making money we want to move out of our communities instead of helping make them better. Instead of wearing our hair natural, more and more men are straightening their hair so they can look more White.
We have more Black athletes, more Black millionaires, we even have more Black stars on TV to the point where we have a Black woman sleeping with the White president. But there are no Black sitcoms or any other Black programs told from a Black perspective on any of the four major networks. Remember when we had “The Cosby Show,” “Martin Lawrence Show,” “The Fresh Prince of Belair,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “The Wayans Show,” “Girl Friends,” “D. L. Hughley Show,” “227,” “A Different World,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Good Times”? These are the ones I can remember. I can’t remember a single Black cast show on prime time major network today spotlighting the Black family?
Because the vast majority of Black people still live in the inner cities of this country they are not moving forward in the economic sphere. Part of the reason is White society’s fault, but a big portion is our fault. We are so caught up into drugs, and trying to be cool or White that we aren’t dealing with the realities of the world around us. How do we change this?
By demanding that we all get a quality education, be it in public schools, or charter schools, making sure colleges and trade schools are open to all and that all, regardless of income, have equal access to these schools. By teaching our kids that we must still have some kind of self-pride as Black people.
Being proud you are Black doesn’t mean you have to hate or dislike other people, but it means that you are not going to accept unequal treatment. It means that you support Black businesses while still demanding that these Black businesses perform at the same level as its White competition.
This also means that we don’t hold them to separate standards.
For example many of us demand that businesses in the Black community be perfect. They can’t make mistakes or be out of something. Yet we go to the suburbs and they can treat us like dirt, not have stuff and we keep going back When we walk into a Black establishment we are searching for something to be wrong to give us a reason not to go back.
Conditions have gotten better for some Blacks, but on the whole, conditions for most Blacks haven’t. We are still living from paycheck to paycheck. Just look at our inner cities where the majority of us live. Have they improved? Have conditions improved for the young Black males? For young Black females? For Black businesses? Most of us with a little age can remember all the Black businesses in the Black communities throughout the cities, North and South. Integration instead of helping actually wiped out many Black businesses to the point where most cities today have few to no Black owned businesses of any magnitude.
So the answer to the question is we still have a long ways to go economically. We will have achieved equality when we can go into Black inner city communities and find homes, businesses, and schools equal to the many White suburban communities. When we can find upper, middle and low-income people living together. When we can find White families, not just mixed couples, not afraid to move into a Black community. Economic equality is real equality and Blacks still have a long ways to go. King would not be able to sit back and relax in 2014, so neither can we.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)