The title, "Stop Being Niggardly And Nine Other Things Black People Need to Stop Doing," was an eye opener itself. 'Excuse me,' I thought as I flipped the hardback over, staring into Author Karen Miller's eyes, which seemingly said "I dare you to read it." The word Niggerly in white letters on the front cover spanned across a red banner to me meant ghetto, ignorant, selfish and cruel, yet dictionary.com classifies it as stingy and not generous.
Refreshingly delivered with a blazen boldness, she tackles issues and turmoil, along with the sacrifice, support, strength and power needed to help recifty the rage and spirit of hopelessness in the black community. This book was started out of frustration the same way this blog was concieved out of a desire for hope and change. Too often we as blacks get bent out of shape over what we can't control but are content to complain about what we can. Instead of focusing energy on the "white man," white power and the odds against us, how about shifting our focus and energy on educating our youth, flourishing our communities with black business and home ownership while attacking detrimental issues like gang violence, teen pregnancy, black on black crime and the rampant rate HIV is currently thriving? It takes a village right?
Inspired by Nannie Helen Burroughs, the daughter of ex-slaves, and her book Twelve Things the Negro Must Do, penned in the 1890's, her motto spoke volumes: "we specialize in the wholly impossible." Even with the decked stacked against her (denied a teaching position after graduating with honors; she started her own school) she allowed her drive and thirst to achieve more, guide her. Here we are in a world full of freedom, experience, opportunity and possiblity and yet we limit ourselves. Out of the 10 things Black People Need to Stop Doing, my three favorite:
1. Stop Complaining and Start Planning: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail and we owe it to ourselves to get our lives in order. A map is a needed guidline of where you're going and how to get there.
2. Stop Tearing Down Our Heros: Its as if we can't wait to tear people down. Hero's make the world go 'round. They inspire hope, can empower the soul and motivate being. Without them, we have nothing to base a foundation on.
8. Stop Being Fat!: Blacks are the line leaders in major health- risk categories including cancer and diabetes, with "four out of five African-American women either overwight or obese." Once your health is gone, that's it. Stop making excuse for poor health and kill the bad habits because if you don't, it'll kill you. Nothing feels better than healthy.
"I have learned that change doesn't come in comfort. We make changes when there is pain and discomfort. I want people to be upset, and I want them to talk about it, and I want us to come together and work toward some solutions and make some plans." - Karen Hunter