African Americans: A Look in the Mirror, Part 1Written by Bret Searles
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin At present, African Americans stand at crossroads of great hopes for wealth and freedom exceptional for great-and great, great-grandchildren of former slaves and great despair caused by family disintegration, generational poverty, educational disparities and digital divide. The threat is that we will form a permanent underclass is this new society as demand for skilled and highly educated workers and new business owners reaches a peak. You might not like me too much for data I present in this chapter that reveals depths of our situation. Bill Cosby has been speaking out about these things and has taken some heat for his coarse rhetoric. We can’t change our situation until we know what we are changing. I believe that once you see data, you will be compelled to make some changes. If that is case, I am confident that you will finish rest of this solutions-oriented guide. According to U.S. Census Bureau, over 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. Many times, father is absolutely out of picture. Single moms have toughest job there is in this country. No work demands as much immediate attention and delayed gratification. You cannot pay someone enough to do this job yet single black mom is poorest demographic in our society. An unimaginable 39% of black female heads of household and 33% of black children are living below poverty line compared to 18.6% of white female heads of household and 9.6% of white children. The true shame is that all odds are stacked against these families compounding every challenge normally faced with raising children into healthy, confident and independent adults. They face long odds when it comes to living in poverty, being victimized by violence, lacking quality education, low self-esteem and poor role models. Having a loving father around is a spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially stabilizing force needed by every child. The numbers bear this out to be true. Only 7.1% of black married couple families live below poverty line and only 3.3% of white married couple families live below poverty line. God created family to consist of both a father and mother and all other arrangements are sub-optimal for children. Be that as it may, everyone must also make best of their situation as it may be right now.
African Americans: A Look in the Mirror, Part 2Written by Bret Searles
“For if any be a hearer of word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:23-24
The black community has many success stories. Condoleeza Rice, PhD is National Security Advisor and Colin Powell is Secretary of State to current U.S. president. Thurgood Marshall was a judicial giant on U.S. Supreme Court fighting for greater liberty and against injustice. Bob Johnson, founder and former CEO of Black Entertainment Television and Oprah Winfrey, television talk show host, producer and CEO of Harpo Productions have been bright and shining examples of what African Americans are capable of achieving. Not everyone can do what these people did but we can look to their example of perseverance and triumph against long odds. Some of greatest role models overcame abject poverty, racism, child abuse and neglect. They had excess baggage they had to shed to get to their respective goals. The book, The 7 Simple Secrets to Building Wealth: An African American’s Guide to Wealth Building in 21st Century and Beyond, will give you some strategies you can use immediately to more elegantly overcome your personal challenges and confidently reach your goals. On other hand, statistics show that our success stories are far outnumbered by cold reality that our people are in a struggle for survival. We have a growing middle class of African Americans that are becoming increasingly separated from rest of black America based on education, income stability and family life. As some African Americans push ahead, many are falling further behind creating an inequity between two. Only 13.6% of African Americans reported an annual income over $50,000 according to recent census data. That compares to 27.5% of whites reporting annual income over $50,000. We have only half percentage of high income earners then whites do. We have twice high school drop out rate as whites. Also, 16.5% of African Americans get a college degree versus 28.1% of whites. 32.5% of African Americans are married compared to 56.8% of whites. Finally, 44% of African American families are headed by single moms compared to only 12.7% of white families that are headed by single moms. We have an amazingly uphill battle but we must look even more closely before we can get to our solutions. African Americans make up 13% of population while African American men make up 66% of prison population. Based on Justice Department crime statistics, racial differences exist, with African Americans disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders. African Americans have highest violent crime victimization rates then any other group. We are six times more likely then whites to be murdered. We are seven times more likely then whites to commit homicide. And majority of murders are intraracial. African Americans killed a whopping 94% of African American murder victims. Furthermore, Justice Department goes to report that based on current rates of first incarceration, an estimated 32% of African American males will enter state or federal prison during their lifetime; whites (5.9%). These are depressing figures. The family is place where these statistics will be turned around. Respect for life, discipline, hard work and respect for women are lessons and values that young Black boys learn best from their dads. They learn from our words, our example and through leadership we provide in home. If we fail in this, our greatest responsibility, we will fail an entire generation that fought to secure our freedoms so we could realize our full potential. We will put on chains of slavery of poverty, prison and lack of purpose without a whimper of resistance. The second preliminary step we need to make is taking personal responsibility for our lives and that of our families. The only way we can begin to shape future and change our destinies is to accept our present circumstances as a fluid and temporal reality that can be changed and is never permanent however, very real, so we must take action to affect our reality.