The African-American family is currently at one of the lowest points in recent history. Critics, media and community publicists all weigh-in trying to allocate blame to the cause of our societal and cultural demise. I agree that the liberated black woman movement has influenced a shift in how the family structure was traditionally built, but also recognize the desire for a woman to better herself should be seen as an asset and not a liability. After all it is not her fault that a number of black men have lost motivation to better themselves.
Despite the issues our black women possess today, you can often identify one of us (black men) as the source behind many of their troubles. Whether it’s abandonment by a father or mental/physical abuse in relationships…we are generally behind these unfortunate experiences, but I digress.
Let’s explore a couple questions that need to be asked regarding black men’s complacency and its associated financial impact.
1. Why are so many of us not finishing high school and opting to simply underachieve? It is not okay for this trend to continue, especially in a society that is demanding higher qualifications for some of the most basic employment opportunities. There is definitely a specific group of men that are better served pursuing alternative learning and skill development training (trade schools), but this should be the exception and not the norm. In health, we identify cancer as a disease that eats away at the various areas of a person’s body.
Similarly, underachievement is one of the cancerous practices that some black men are contributing to a society that is already dying a slow death.
When black men make conscious decisions to abide in complacency, it is a slap in the face to the pioneers who came before us. Not to mention many of the complacent underachievers miss out in about $1 million in lifetime earnings versus those with college degrees!
2. Why are so many of us looking for the quick-fix hustle and instant wealth gratification?
The media and entertainment industry glorifies the hip-hop movement, sports figures and often associate popularity with money. However, the harsh reality is 99% of men will NEVER make a hit album or play professional sports. I know that we should not try to deflate the dreams of our young people and it is not my intention to do so. However, it is the responsibility of mature black men to make sure the younger generation is prepared to be successful in ALL walks of life. It is okay to encourage our young people to excel in football, basketball, baseball, golf, etc. It is also necessary that we balance out their athletic appetites with a healthy dose of academic reality.
The pursuit of quick-fix hustles is causing some black men to shun their responsibilities, abandon committed relationships with women while potentially continuing the cycle through the children who are left behind without a father.
The black family needs strong black men more than ever. Start thinking with your ‘intellectual’ head, start treating women with the same respect you would treat a beloved sister or mother with, start living up to the accountability that God delegated when He designed us.
We are not only basketball players or football players, but we can become influential members of society. There is nothing wrong with becoming a doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur (legal of course) or corporate executive(s). Start dreaming big, but remember that an entire generation will be lost if we continue at our current pace. The black man’s absence is causing the black family to miss out on generational wealth and legacy building. We CAN’T afford for this to continue!
Kenny Pugh is a Life & Relationship Strategist, Author of ‘Can You Do It Standing Up?’, Speaker, Host of the Chat Kafe Radio Show (http://www.chatkafeonline.com), singles leader and sought-after speaker on singleness, relationships, finances and life. You can find more information about Kenny at http://www.kennypugh.com. You can follow him on Facebook at Kenny Pugh or on Twitter @mrkennypugh.