Black Folks

Prentiss Smith  By Prentiss Smith , 12th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

This is an essay on the nature of being black in America.

Daily Life, Family

It is so hard for black folks. And believe me, I know that there are a lot of people who do not want to hear that, but the fact is that it is a true statement. Yes, there are a lot of blacks who are doing well and enjoying the American dream and the fruits of their labor, but then there are so very many who will never know what the experience of having a job is. Many of them are high school drop-outs who have no chance of finding meaningful employment and many of them are the victims of a system that is institutionally rigged against them because they happen to be black or Hispanic.

News Flash---Black people are going to help black people and black people are going to have to help themselves, because the reality is that if they do not help each other and do not help themselves, no one is else is going to help them. This is a world that operates on how much one can spend and how much one can buy. If there is no way for you to get a job and make money, then you are going to be left behind. Today there is a movement in this country to take away or diminish all of the safety net programs that were created to help the poor and the elderly. Some politicians in Washington and all around the country are on a mission to roll back all of the human rights and civil rights gains that were achieved almost fifty years ago.
Young blacks, particularly young black males are finding themselves dealing with the reality that this is one of the worst times in the country's history to be looking for a job. And it is extremely difficult if one does not have the skills that are necessary to obtain meaningful employment. Therein lies the problem for young blacks in this country. Unfortunately, there are too many young blacks not graduating from high school, too many young blacks who do not understand the reality of a good education usually equates to a good job. Too many young blacks want to act thuggish and look thuggish.
When I was growing up many years ago, almost everyone in my class wanted to be some kind of professional when they grew up. And when I say professional, I am not talking about a professional athlete. No, I am talking about real professions like doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, nurses, and entrepreneurs. I recently asked that question to a seventh grade class that I was speaking to, and the responses that I heard made me cringe. Many of the young blacks in the class, especially the young black males, said that they wanted to be a rapper, a football player, a basketball player, or believe or not---just a player. They were serious. Many of them could not relate to being anything else because they had not seen anyone in their family doing any of the other professions. They all seem to have the idea that doing something to make quick money was the way to go. They did not understand the value of getting a good education and how it equates to being successful in this country.
The census bureau recently recently said that the unemployment rate among young black men between the ages of 18 and 25 years old is the highest that it has been in a generation. The census bureau also stated that the poverty rate in the country has increased by almost fifty percent over the last ten years for the whole country, which means that it is exponentially more higher among blacks in general and young blacks in particular. It is a difficult time in this country for many Americans, but there has to be an effort by all of us to get the message out.


Black, Education, Living, Male, Race, Young

Meet the author

author avatar Prentiss Smith
Prentiss Smith has written opinion columns for the Gannett owned Shreveport Times for almost 20 years. He also has particpated in weekly television shows as a political commentator.

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author avatar Retired
4th Dec 2013 (#)

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