David Banner’s New Year’s Resolutions for the Black Community in 2012

The outspoken entertainer offers up three key lessons for Black America in the New Year

LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh holding Miami Heat jerseys

Miami's Big 3 (Image: Getty)

New Year’s Resolutions

So, in 2012, what can the Black community learn from each of these three aforementioned scenarios? The answer is… much.

Lesson 1

The story of LeBron, Dwyane and Chris is a lesson in uniting of the now fractured Black community toward the common goals of economic and political independence. LeBron’s story also represents the shedding of the “crabs in a barrel,” “dog eat dog” pursuit of individual advancement and the adoption of group cooperation toward a collective goal. Much like LeBron, Dwyane and Chris, the Black community, collectively, has both the skills and the resources to act independently.

New Year’s Resolution 1: Assert Our Economic and Financial Independence Through Group Economics

A recent report that garnered much attention highlighted the immense spending power of the Black community. According to the study, by the year 2015 the total spending power of the Black community will exceed $1 trillion. Put simply, as Black people we spend an amount of money that makes us the equivalent of the 16th largest nation on earth. But, as our present condition clearly shows, merely HAVING money to spend doesn’t equate to having “power” or experiencing “progress.” The fact of the matter is we don’t practice group economics. What good is having the spending power of $1 trillion if that money only circulates within the Black community zero to one time? Other economically successful communities (Hispanic, Asian and Jewish) see their dollars circulate within their communities 6, 9 and 12 times before it’s spent outside of their community.

Their practice of group economics has catapulted them to economic self-sufficiency and independence, and following the cooperative and goal oriented example of LeBron can eventually lead the Black community to self-sufficiency and independence in 2012.

Lesson 2

Our relationship with the Democratic Party is a clear-cut example of the dangers of not leveraging our influence and our voting strength. To represent such an integral and dedicated block of votes while continuously having our specific interests ignored is the height of arrogance on the part of the Democratic Party and a gross display of irresponsibility on the part of the Black community.

New Year’s Resolution 2: Assert Our Political Independence by Demanding Our Interests Be Addressed

Some in our community have argued that presenting a “Black Agenda” to politicians is unrealistic. “President Obama is the President for ALL people in America, not just Black people,” so the argument goes. As a result, we shouldn’t expect him—or his party—to specifically target our community’s needs with policies and legislation. To be sure, the President should indeed be an advocate for all segments of our society. But, advocating for all segments of society actually necessitates addressing the needs and interests of a major segment of that society—and a major base of support for the Democratic party: Black people. Add to this the fact that the President already has a history of advocating and signing legislation specifically targeting other subgroups, (repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, tax incentivizes for businesses hiring returning veterans and signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act) and there no longer remains any reason to absolve the President or the Democratic Party from tailoring policy and legislation to address our community’s interests and needs.

The fact that many in the Black community dismiss (outright) the notion of holding the Democratic Party accountable to our interests while other groups consistently have their interests met is reminiscent of the words of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who wrote:

“If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself…you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

Ninety-six percent of Blacks who voted in the 2008 Presidential election voted for President Obama. While support for Obama has dwindled among the Whites, women, younger voters and liberals who previously supported him, his support in the Black community has not waivered. What is unmistakable is that without the support of the Black community there is no President Obama and there is no Democratic Party.

That support should not come cheap and it should not be a foregone conclusion.

Lesson 3

The lesson of the 360 deal encompasses the lessons of both LeBron and our unreciprocated political support. Just as the music industry feeds off the entire actions, works and efforts of an artist, political parties, as well as businesses outside of our community, have consistently fed off our actions (our votes), our works (our productivity) and our efforts (our spending). This results in the vast majority of the Black community’s 360-degree sphere of activity parlaying off for the betterment of other communities but to the detriment of ours.

Fueled by these lessons from the realms of sports, politics and the music industry, it is my hope that 2012 witnesses a monumental shift in the affairs and the condition of the Black community. With respect to our politics and our finances, we possess both the leverage and the dollars to bring about this change. It is my sincerest hope that, in implementing my proposed resolutions, we can regain what we so long ago lost—our sense of culture, our sense of community and our sense of self.

As I reflect on the profound possibilities within our grasp I’m reminded of two of the greats from our past. In 2012 let us always remember the words of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey who said, “Up! You mighty race, you can accomplish what you will.” And in 2012 let us also be reminded of the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who told us simply to, “Do for self.”

In short, let us make 2012 the year of group loyalty, group independence and group cooperation.

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  • Craig

    Good piece David, but all this starts with the kids and the parents, I’m 23 black male and the way things look I don’t think anything is going to change for alot of Blacks and the rest will stay the same while a minority will get better.

    Example: People want health care right? but u see all across the country mostly young Black kids were in a rage over some high priced Jordans, that money would have taken care of their healthcare. So u see its a matter of priorities and it starts with the parents and the kids. Sorry to say it but not much is going to change these are the last days.

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  • Marco Panache (dot) Com

    You make a valid point craig, but i can’t say i agree, entirely. I think DB’s proposal is a great place to start, it just need to be packaged in a way that is as appealing to our youth as those “high priced Jordans” you mentioned. Admittedly, hip hop and its elite dictates and influences a large part of how our youth move and what they gravitate to. Sadly, a huge majority of those who are in their impressionable years look to hip hop, not parents or politicians, to see what’s considered cool or hot via clothing, lingo, fly whips, etc etc. I’m not a betting man, but if i were, i’d be willing to bet that if these hip hop heros began buying up all the foreclosed property in their respective communities and flossed/rapped about their phat/fat property portfolios, instead of flossing cars, bling, high-priced euro brands, big booty vixens and a closet full of brand new Jordans, then our impressionable youth would latch on to that too, and aspire to do the same because that too would be considered dope (cool). …just a thought

  • Eddie Perkins

    I’ve been saying that years why spend money and smile at someone who dosn’t even like you, don’t want you in there Community and gets mad when you even come to spend dollar. Chris Rock even did a movie about this same subject all anyone ever got was “that hair sho’ look good “

  • Just A Thought

    I think whatever plans are implemented, we have to be wise, humbly aggressive, strategic, and remember that we are a minority (with all that word entails). A few words for that that I read on another site by KIR10:

    “I have great respect for what Malcolm and what the Black Nationalists stood for. The Black Nationalist and Militant movements were needed AT THAT TIME, but was not successful. They just weren’t. Let’s stop acting like it was. Where are their hospitals, colleges, trade schools, manufacturing companies, farms & food distribution networks and business organizations? They want to call everyone else out but what the hell have they accomplished? Please, can you name the black militants and nationalist major accomplishments over the last 100 years.

    I think their goal was honorable but it failed, for a variety of reasons. I think the reason that it failed, is failing, and will continue to fail is because people in the community and outside of the community associate black pride with condemnation of blacks who don’t think exactly like them and condemnation of whites and non blacks. That IMO is a prescription for failure. As a matter of fact, I thought the NOI had it just about right if they had excluded the hate and the Muslim religion. I understand why they had a hate message, however, long term it was and is not sustainable. Black people did not and are not going to buy into that. The Jews, Asians East Indians and Mexicans are Nationalist based on love for their people and to a certain extent acceptance of others. And definitely, no public pronouncements of hate for anyone. It’s bad for business.

    Social.ism in a capitalist country is doomed for failure. Hell, Social.ism, Marxism and Communism don’t even work in the countries that practice those economic principles. To expect a community to practice those principles in a capitalist country is economic suicide.”

    Second Post:

    “At what point are black folks going to figure out this model they’ve embraced. Straight one party voting, Black Matriarchy and Rejection of Capitalism is A BIG LOSER? Unfortunately 90% of black people cannot see the connection between the condition of their community and their political and economic views combined with almost all of the homes being baby mamma led households.

    What you all are looking for are specific economic programs for blacks only. Good luck with that. :lol: Anyone with half a brain knows Obama can’t create bills without the Congress and the Senate. And every bill has to be legally correct so that it passes any challenges thru the courts. Obama can’t solve all our problems. Blacks need to stop relying on government to create jobs. That is not the government’s primary responsibility. Citizens must create jobs within their own communities. There are jobs being created everyday in the black community mostly by foreigners on a shoe-string budget. Some will succeed and some will fail. But, at least, they tried.”

    • Anonymous

      so what exactly do you suggest? And what exactly is black pride to you? do you know that without these leaders that did ‘nothing’ black people in the 80′s woulda given hope? Remember when BPP first started out, black folks weren’t defending themselves in the west coast, BPP changed all that. To apply that to this article, if you can defend yourself, you damn sure can defend you wealth n resources. Plus there are two sides to everything you’re either this or that, that’s just how it is. You’re either insane or snae you can’t be both. Hence you can’t be down with black people and change in the black community and be all jolly with the white folks. Anyway instead of slamming BPP and the NOI why don’t you appreciate em, at least they caused a revolution, unlike yourself. What pray tell have you done for your communtiy?!

      • Just A Thought

        Reading is fundamental! So is comprehension… The above commentary said the movements were needed “At That Time” (i.e., they had a place, one that should be acknowledged, but times are different and so should our tactics be). Refusing to adapt and adjust strategies is fatal. How do I know this? By assessing the end results! Yes, those men were committed, but ultimately, their efforts and movements were not the answer, otherwise we wouldn’t be reading this article nor having this conversation. That’s what was meant by ‘nothing’. NOI talks about hospitals, farms, etc. Where are they?! Tangible long-term substance is what was referred to. It wasn’t an attempt to say they did no good (which clearly they did). Again, reading is fundamental! Further, “Black Pride” as stated in my above commentary is based on love for the people, yes, but to a certain extent accepting others and certainly not unabashedly pronouncing unnecessary hate towards others. I understand that, unfortunately, some blacks have become accustomed to spewing the same hate they decry in others whilst refusing to accept some responsibility, but it’s only hurting us. Right now, I’m more concerned about the young thug on the block than the KKK. As for what I suggest, go back and read it, because clearly you didn’t understand it! Further, how is what I’ve done for my community relevant to the validity of critic. It’s that mentality that’s crippling. A valid observation is a valid observation regardless. Note again that I empathize with the way the leaders handled the movement at that time, but my point is that said tactics aren’t the solution NOW!

    • Attilia

      in books on mind-brain research, neervs that fire together wire together, and as the author says, you’re stuck with them. What she proposes is not brain surgery to remove the troublesome pathway but developing a new pathway that competes with the old one. She points out that it takes a lot of time and work to create such a competitive behavior, but that with each successful effort to do so, the neervs responsible for the behavior become more habituated to the activity, making it easier with time. Ryan also notes that we WILL have lapses as we go, because those old pathways are pretty powerful. Just having given it a try, though, has already started to initiate the changes desired at least we now have a wagon to fall off of. She has several good recommendations on how to gradually bypass that old pathway and even several alternative approaches for some tasks.The book is arranged in a graduated format of chapters, each one giving in a short few pages the information you need at each point in your effort to change. I read the book cover to cover first in about two hours, then I began at the beginning and started following some of her suggestions. Each chapter becomes sort of a workbook of things to do at each level of the change process. The author also makes reference to other writers on the subject of personal change that have interesting things to add, and it is obvious that she does not work in a vacuum but in collaboration with others in the field; in short she’s open minded. So there are other resources to which you may turn as need arises.Probably one of the most important points she makes is that one needs to be definite about which change you’re willing to make the effort to undertake. Global responses make taking action on anything impossible, so you have to select your changes with care. She also suggests that the problem be specific, with clearly defined behaviors needed to accomplish your goal and a clear means of evaluating the change. She makes a point of noting that monitoring the progress of your change is important, partially because it gives a clear measure of success and partially because it provides the satisfaction of actually seeing your efforts worth their expense. Ryan even sees back sliding as a means of assessing your progress and as an opportunity to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and thereby to make appropriate changes in your plan.An excellent book, very precise in its recommendations.

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  • evelynwaller

    You made a valid point, but I have to say that we as a race are our own worst enemy. We allow other enthnic groups to come into our communities and drain all our financial resources out. But we would never be allowed to open small businesses in their neighborhoods(Asian,White,Latino,etc.)They know we spend money, no matter what it takes to make it happen!I feel that those athletics,business owners,actors and others that are wealthy if they really want to do something great “giving back to the community no matter which community they choose” instead of opening or re-modeling rec center’s, how bout developing training programs to teach our youth a marketable skill so they be able to get a meaningful job so they can become self sufficint later in life? We as a race have a duty towards those coming behind us to love ourselves and educating our youth so they will expirer to become business owners and productive adults. We must re-train the way we think about ourselves and how we spend and where we spend our monies! It is sad to say that in the year 2000, we are still falling victim to a “Master Plan” that was put into place back in the 60″s. Shame on Us!!!! We need to Wake Up!!!

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  • Ahmet

    Way cool, some valid points! I apteacirpe you making this post available, the rest of your blog is also well done. I hope you have a great day.