In 2009, less than 50 percent of African American men graduated from high school; 59 percent of black women did.
The excuses are getting old.
From tales of “the man” being the oppressor to not knowing any better, some people put more emphasis on identifying reasons-true or not-for why they cannot succeed than they do in trying to figure out how they can. Growing up, I witnessed many of my peers throwing away opportunities because it wasn’t what was “cool.”
Spending irreplaceable time in prison isn’t “cool” either.
As a professional, I can attest to the covert racism that permeates the walls of corporate America. And yes, I am keenly aware of the “good old boys” who seem to have a permanent lock on the c-suite offices, leaving no room for the professional advancement of minorities. But when considering the alternatives that some brothers and sisters have chosen-hugging the block, collecting food stamps, Section 8 or other forms of government assistance-the choice is pretty clear. I’d rather deal with the politics of corporate America than to have the government tell me when I can eat and where I can live, particularly when it is by choice. Many claim to have fallen on hard times, but the fact is, many have never even pursued good times.
As an African American woman, I can also attest to the higher arrest and conviction rates for minorities in our not-so-just justice system. These are real facts, but they don’t change that an entire community is suffering due to the horrible choices of a few citizens. These facts don’t change the false badge of honor that is associated with being “from the ‘hood” and ultimately an excuse to not succeed.
It has been proven that less educated citizens are more likely to end up in jail. It is also a fact that less educated citizens are more likely to commit crimes. When you consider the hundreds of innocent lives lost over the past few years due to gun violence in crime-ridden neighborhoods, it becomes pretty clear how this phenomenon is affecting us all.
But what remains unclear is why some choose illegal hustles, when the opportunities to establish legitimate hustles are aplenty these days.
It’s time to start a dialogue and get to the root of the problems facing our community. If we don’t, we risk losing an entire generation to poverty, drugs, prison and even death.