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Dr. Boyce: Black Entrepreneurship is Key to Solving Problems in Black Unemployment and the Black Family

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I recently traveled to New York for a panel on black male fatherhood, hosted by former NBA player Etan Thomas.  The panel consisted of other great athletes, including former NY Knick Allan Houston, Billy Hunter (Executive Director of the NBA Player’s Association), Chris Broussard from ESPN and several others.  One of the topics that came up was economic security as a contributing factor to the breakdown of the black family in America.

This issue burns me up because some of us don’t see the link between black unemployment, mass incarceration and the breakdown of the family.  When men can’t get jobs and a chunk of them are in and out of prison, the numbers of men eligible to run a household decreases dramatically.  So, even though some of us don’t care about these issues, the reality is that these problems affect all of us.

The black unemployment problem is one of the leading economic crises to hit the presidency of Barack Obama.  It is also the one that the administration has probably ignored the most.  This economic elephant in the middle of the room is both a problem that politicians consider unnecessary and too difficult to solve.  It is mostly unnecessary because Obama and his team have always known that they never had to deal with the issue in order to keep black loyalty.  It is difficult to resolve because the reasons for the problem run incredibly deep.

Writing for TheRoot.com, Keli Goff does a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of developing black businesses as a way to fight the black unemployment problem.  She mentions that minority employers are far more likely to hire black people, so black-owned businesses can be open lots of doors to the rest of us. This evidence is further shown by the recent story about the woman who changed her race from black to white on Monster.com and then received dozens of additional job offers.

Here’s the deal:  People tend to hire those with whom they have the most in common, those who they understand and those with whom they feel most comfortable.  Unfortunately, we’re usually not included in that group.  This is doubly true for black men, who find that merely being intelligent and confident can lead others to treat you like a criminal.  Therefore, it is not surprising that black male unemployment is the highest for any other group in the country.  The bottom line is that when we choose not to shuck and jive at every turn, we can easily be perceived as being a threat.

Things cannot continue this way if we are seeking to rebuild the black family in America.  We must also stop buying into systems that only serve to perpetuate our own oppression.  One of the ways to get off the economic plantation is to ensure that all of us and our children learn the basics of starting our own businesses.  You don’t have to be a full-time entrepreneur, but everyone should at least develop a part-time revenue stream.  This additional economic security will not only improve your ability to provide for others, it also frees you from the shackles of having to remain quiet and loyal in the face of blatant disrespect from others.

The Obama Administration can help matters by providing more funding to support and develop black businesses.  Targeting government resources to areas hardest hit by the recession could make a difference. While he’s at it, the president can lift his pen and start putting together task forces to re-examine prison sentences for Americans who received harsh terms for drug distribution 10 and 20 years ago.  We all agree that those sentences were long and Draconian, and we also agree that most of them tended to be handed down to black people.

Rebuilding the black family in America is going to require us to think differently and try new strategies.  The advantage of being where we are is that we know for sure that the old models aren’t going to work.  So, in order to secure our individual and collective economic security, it’s time that we learn to start owning our own stuff.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

 

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12 comments

  1. DVDs of positive Black images is a business created. Hiring Distributors. Website: myspace.com/topsinfilm. Order at amazon.com.

  2. GOOD LUCK !—— we are no longer a united race Integration separated us and our communities suffered —you cannot find professionals or the so-called intellectuals in black neighborhoods —-our communities are starving for them to make their appearance (PHYSICAL)— otherwise “SHUT UP”!!….JEHOVAH WITNESSES got the right idea—-A ORGANIZED door to door plan of “EPIC” portions —-The NATION of ISLAM started one in my neighborhood (NY) but only made one visit with the promise to revisit, but never returned—we were so disappointed—–The first meeting was so insightful we were hungry for more——every body was at the meeting place, but they never showed–It was as if they were teasing us—–They were BRILLIANT with their information.

  3. This is so true and a great idea but many of us have trouble getting financing. Another problem with black businesses are they are not professional and so many people don’t want to see you succeed so they don’t patronize black businesses. When black businesses do well in our neighborhoods they need to also do something for the neighborhood other than live a prosperous life in front of them and don’t attempt to help someone fulfill their dream of having a business.

  4. I have the solution to our problems and it’s not hard to implement. If these so called leaders aren’t talking about us doing for ourselves, rather then relying on people outside our community, then they have their own agendas, and we aren’t part of it. For more info. go to blackunitythetotalsolution.com

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  5. ONE THE BIG THING HOW WOULD THE MONEY BE SHARED AND THIS IS WHERE THE BIGEST PROBLEM WOULD BE RIGHT HERE….WHO GETS WHAT…AND I SAY EVERYBODY GET THE SAME THING……AS IT GROW THEN WE GIVE A LITTLE BIT MORE…BUT HAVING THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN PLACE TO CARE TALK THE MONEY AND NOT STEAL IT…IS A TALL ORDER…WHEN WE GO PREACHER BUILDING MULTIPLE MILLION DOLLAR HOUSES AND LEAVE THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE COLD….IF WE CAN'E DEPENDENT ON THEM THEN WHO…..HAVE IT TO WHERE WE CAN ALL SEE IT IN REAL TIME….HAVE MULTIPLE PEOPLE WITH PASS WORDS….MAKE IT TO WHERE THE GREEDY NEGRO'S WANT STEAL…LIKE THE GREED PREACHER…..RAW MATERIAL AND LAND BUT LAND FIRST AND A LOT OF THE RAW MATERIAL SHOULD NE RIGHT THERE IN SOME CASES….THEY ARE MAKING PRODUCTS OUT OF TRASH WHAT WE CALL RECYCLES….EVERYTHYING AL MOST…..YES WE NEED TO MAKE "KILNS" WHICH IS EASY GOT TO YOUTUBE AND THEY WILL SHOW YOU…I GOT IT ON MY COMPUTER….. AND LEARN HOW TO MELT THE IRON WHICH IS EASY AND GO TO YOUTUBE AND THEY WILL SHOW YOU WHICH I HAVE ON THEY COMPUTER…LEARM HOW TO MAKE THE MOLD'S FOR THE PRODUCTS WHICH IS EASY AND YES I GOT IT ON MY COMPUTER FROM YOUTUBE WHICH I GOT BOOKS ON ALL OF THIS ALL SO….AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE MAKING AND FOR WHAT.

  6. Black Entrepreneurship…..I AM TRIED OF THIS WORK AND A FEW OTHERS…..HEY PEOPLE IT'S ALREADY BUILDED….EVERY THING ALLMOST….ALL BLACKS GOT TO DO IS REMAKE ALL THE STUFF AND PUT OUR NAMES ON IT AND IT'S OUR PRODUCTS NAME THE SHTY THE BERRY WHITE COMPUTER….O THE "COMPUTER" TEAR THAT SHYT OPEN AND STUDY EVERY INCH OF IT AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AND PUT OUR PEOPLE NAME ON IT LIKE MICHEAL JACKSON AND SELL IT AS OUR PRODUCT…."ALL KIND OF TV" TEAR THAT SHYT OPEN AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AND PUT OUR NAME ON IT LIKE WHITNEY HOUSTON AND SELL IT AS OUT PRODUCTS…AND THIS IS ELECTRONIC…BUT FIRST IS THE REAL POWER AND REAL WEALTH FARMING SYSTEMS OF ALL KINDS….OF EVERY OF OF FOOD WE CAN THING OF…BUT UNDERSTAND STAPLE'S– WHEAT, POTATO, CORN, BEANS AND PEA'S AND LEARN HOW TO CANN AND DEHYDRATE FOR LONG TERM PURPOSE…..CKICKEM FARMS, HOG FARMS EVEN DOE I DON'T EAT HOG BUT I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE DO….COW FARM EVEN DOE I DON'T EAT THE COW I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE DO…..FISH FARM WHICH I LOVE….TURKEY FARM WHICH I LOVE….ECT….THIS IS FIRST…THAT WE CAN GOT TO OTHER THINGS…LIKE EVERY THING YOU NAME: MAKE LIQUID NITROGEN AND WE ARE GOING TO NEED THE TANKS THAT THEY GO IN SO WE GOT TO GO INTO STEEL MILLING…I SAY SMALL MILLS IN MAIN PLACE….STEEL IS MORE USE FOR HEAT AND PRESSURE NOW…THE OIL BASE Polymer OR PLANT BASE POLYERS CAN BE MADE INTO PIPES OF ALL KIND MIX WITH SOME OTHER ELEMENT….THEN THE PEOPLE WHO WORK ON DAN CAN DO SO…FINE THING TP HELP PEOPLE…NANO, IT ALL HERE NOW AND I GOT EVERY BOOK TO EVERY ONE THESE THINGS……BUT FIRST IS ORGANIZATION…TAKING BLACK CENSUS' KNOWING WHERE OUR PEOPLE IS AND HOW THEY ARE DOING….YES WE KNOW WE GOT TO DEAL WITH THE DRUG EPIDEMIC….AND THE AIDS VIRUS….FOR THE AIDS VIRUS START BY BRANING EVERY ONE THAT GOT AIDS SO WE WILL KNOW WHO IS WHO….NO NOT TO BE AGIANST OUR BROTHER AND SISTER BUT TO PROTECT OUR FUTURE….WE CAN DO ANY THING WITH PEOPLE THAT GOT AIDS BUT HAVE SEX AND YOU CAN DO THAT WITH THE RIGHT PROTECTION….I WANT BUT JUST SAYING…..AND LETS MAKE IT CLEAR AIDS VIRUS IS A TRANSFUSIONIAL DISEASE…WHAT IS MEAN IS THAT YOU CAN ONLY CATCH WHEN THEIR IS NO OXYGEN ENVOLVE…IF IT GET OXYGEN IT WILL DIE RIGHT THEN AND THEIR….

  7. Dr. Watkins you are 100% correct. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said it years ago, "Do for Self or Suffer the Consequences." We are suffering the consequences because for years we have fought to assimilate into the "dominant society" and still teaching our children the mantra of go to school, be good and get a job.

  8. I agree whole heartedly with this assessment Dr. Boyce, I have long desired to own my own business and have pursued business where you need recruit others in in order to make real money, some how the time and energy I put into these ventures never pay off. I desire ot open a very unique boutique and offer several customer specific services tailored to meet their wants and desires. Funding is a big roadblock for me at this time, but the dream is till in my heart. I would employ responsible black men and women through my business and give to my community and worthy causes that are important to me. The African American dollar is powerful and is spent in great abundance.Black Business must have access to product manufacturers, raw materials, and all the means that are necessary to start, operate and sustain a business no matter what the product and services. One of the issues I have experienced myself is that some black business owners do not have good service ethics, neither does some of the foreigners, so blacks will spend where they are treated fairly , with respect and appreciation. I do feel compelled to add one caveat, we must put forth the effort to enlist the few services that are available because opportunities will not come knocking on our doors, we have to go after them AND be prepared when the present themselves.

  9. I agree with you whole heartedly.That the crap the barrel syndrome as hurt the.
    middle and lower portions of our society and in some respects we are to blame for.
    the corporate disregard of our plight. We as a people have to literally band together.
    with support for each other and ideas to end the desperation of man, woman and.
    child.Buy small, encourage, and educate.Study the pass to better understand the future and you can recognize the hardships a mile away, without repeating.

  10. Things will never change for the black race until we stop the crab affect and have unity.Stop lynching each other with all olf this black on black crime.and until we learn to love ourselves and inbrace each other and stop being enslave to everything negative that we come in clntact with.

  11. "The bottom line is that when we choose not to shuck and jive at every turn, we can easily be perceived as being a threat."

    "Rebuilding the black family in America is going to require us to think differently and try new strategies. The advantage of being where we are is that we know for sure that the old models aren’t going to work. So, in order to secure our individual and collective economic security, it’s time that we learn to start owning our own stuff."

    -Boyce Watkins-

  12. Amen!!! That’s it, if we could also unite all these gangs: bloods, crips, gd, vicelord, stones, and turn them into a black owned contracting force with skilled workers and convert their loyalty to the black race and not street life, we’d see a community resurrection, where they can reduce violence and earn money that they don’t have to go to jail or die for…Excellent again …as sherlock holmes would say to Dr. Boyce, it’s elementary my dear Watkins!!! elementary.

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