As a black person that was the first generation to benefit from the Civil Rights Movement, this past year has been a bit of a wake up call for me. It made me see things from a very different perspective and made me realize that it is time for black folks to really wake up, focus on our communities, what’s best for the future of our children and more. It also make me realize how precarious our position is with a roll back of times just a few politicians away from being a reality. This is a reality in which would become a nightmare if we do not become more proactive in our own existence.
This is not a post about marching, becoming militant, bucking the system or violence in anyway but a more about becoming individually proactive in our lives, which will trickle down to our entire community. This is not about spouting the same old Kumbaya song singing, nonsense that hasn’t showed any measurable results in our communities. This is about black folks become more responsible for the choices that we are making and how better choices could uplift our entire community.
This post will hit home for a lot of people, I know because it hit home for me and I am writing it. If we want to grow as people we have to face some realities and those may not be comfortable but it needs to be done nevertheless.
One of the things that motivated me to create this post is the past year of ugliness, the failure of our community to come together and how we are the only community that continues to push revenue into other communities and NOT our own. Spending just a portion of our revenue in our own communities would insure that we are doing what’s best for our communities, uplifting our community and moving our community toward economic growth.
So here are the 13 Things That We Need To Do In 2013:
- Look AT Your Life: I mean seriously, look at what you’ve accomplished. Are you where you need to be? Are you with who you want to be with? Are you happy? Are your kids happy? Are you happy with your financial situation? Are you happy with your career choices? If you are not happy with where your life is now, it’s time to change your path. Simply write down what you are happy with, and then write down what you want to change and make a plan to change the things that you are not happy with.
- Stop Blaming Others: It’s your life, if it’s sucks it’s because of a choice YOU’VE made. REALLY! There are times when things are out of our hands but we have to be proactive and change our path. Stop pointing fingers because when you point one finger at others you have 4 more pointing back at you. Stop blaming “THE MAN!” Guess what, Life is not fair! Boo hoo! Guess what again, it never has been and it probably never will be. Things will always be tough, it was tough for our parents, our grandparents, their grandparents and so on and so forth. Suck it up, move ahead and make your own way. Although it can be tough, it’s not impossible. Do your thing! Make some moves! You will feel better if you stop blaming others and start becoming more proactive in your own life. Lead your life don’t let it lead you!
- Stop Being Negative: Really, no one freaking cares nor do they want to hear your negativity! Get on with your life! Stop focusing on what is not right and be proactive in making better choices that are right. All the focus on negative things, stop you from focusing on positives! If you have negative friends, get rid of them. Surrounding yourself with positive people creates an environment of positivity. So, stop talking about things that are negative and start ACTING on making positive choices.
- Step Your Game Up: We all talk about so many things that we want to do, what could, shoulda woulda, but it’s time to step your game up. It’s especially time for US as black folk to step our game up. Shit or get off the pot. YES I said it. If you want a better job, step your job skills up. If you want a new man/woman be the person that you want. If you want to be treated with respect, respect others! If you want better for your kids, BE better for your kids. It’s your life, STEP your game up in your LIFE if you want to have a better life.
- Stop Buying Dumb Shit!! : YES I said it! We as black people spend so much money on dumb crap that any and everyone can come to our community to make money from us. Stop buying shoes with red bottoms unless you can afford them, stop buying Jordans when you know damn well you’ll be eating ramen for he next 3 months. STOP going on trips and coming home to shut off notices. STOP buying expensive crap when you know damn well you can’t afford it. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’s when the Jones’ are just as damn broke as you are. As black people we are HUGE consumers, yet some of us make the least amount of money. We need to be more strategic in spending money. We need to stop making everyone rich at OUR own expense.
- Stop Being Sheep: STOP buying stuff just because it is the expectation or because other black folk have it. Why do you need the red bottom shoes? Why do you need the Jordans? Why do you need jeans that cost 400.00? Why do you need a bag with Coach on it? Do you even really like any of that crap or do you like it because others like it? Or because you think others will think more highly of you if you have that crap? Or because someone else likes it? Do you like it because you want to follow the lead of others? Stop being sheep! Develop your own taste; buy because you like the item, not because others have the item. Michael Jordon doesn’t need one dime of my money, nor will he ever get it. Beyonce will never get a dime of my money either. Use common sense! Stop making everyone rich at your OWN expense.
- Scale Down: My life’s philosophy is to constantly be searching for ways to minimize the amount of money that is going out. Scaling down is a very effective way to do this. Instead of buying 3 pairs of new shoes buy 1. Shop for better pricing on everything that you purchase. Search for lower interest rates on your credit cards. Look for sales at all times. Search for cheaper car insurance. You should ALWAYS be searching for ways to minimize the amount of money going out because this maximizes your current revenue.
- Maximize Revenue: While you are scaling down your should be looking at additional ways to bring in MORE revenue. Get a side hustle; turn a hobby into a business. Sell some stuff on ebay! Learn some new skills, which could get you a promotion at your current job. Look for a job making more money. Think of ways to partner with a friend to start a small business. The possibilities are endless to find ways to bring in more revenue! The ultimate goals are to minimize the amount of money going out and maximize the amount of money coming in.
- Save More Money! : If you scale down and maximize your revenue, save that money. Any chance you get to save money, you should. Knowing that you have extra money socked away relieves stress because you know if something happens you will have that money to handle an unexpected situation. I’m not talking about saving for your trip to the islands, I’m talking about saving money as a rainy day fund, a I loss my job and I am screwed fund, a my kid needs 1,000 as a deductible for braces fund, Oh crap I got a hole in my roof fund, oh crap my son flushed a sock down the toilet and I need a plumber fund. You get it right. Save for the unexpected so you won’t be screwed WHEN the unexpected happens, because it WILL happen. So when you get your income tax SAVE most of it. This is my rule of thumb; if I get a return of 1315.57 I would bank 1200.00 and spend 115.57. This allows me the benefit of buying something AND of saving money.
- Get A Credit Report: NO ONE’S credit is perfect! There are times in life when you have to spend money on unexpected things (a good reason to save more money, rainy day fund and all of that….) so this forces us into a position where we can NOT pay some things or there are times when we are forced to pay some things late. Both of which can negatively affect a credit rating. Just because there are negatives on our credit report, doesn’t mean that we have to give up, throw in the towel and accept having bad credit. We must look at bad credit as a temporary situation, due to extreme circumstances out of our control. SO, CLEAN that crap up people! REALLY. The first step of cleaning it up is to see what exactly is on the credit report. This allows you to know what you are dealing with. Sometimes there are things on the credit report that we don’t even know about, don’t remember, shouldn’t be on there and/or that should be erased. Keep in mind, anything older than 7 years should NOT show up on your credit report. If so you can contact the credit report agencies to get it removed. However, the only way that you will know what’s on the report is if you get a copy. Keep in mind that no matter how bad it looks you can fix it by making arrangements to pay some things, starting to pay things off and paying on time. This may take a while but it took a while for credit to get to the point that it is. Don’t be discouraged, just keep working at it and eventually your credit will be in good standing again. The first thing you must do is getting a credit report though.
- Buy A House: STOP paying other people’s mortgages! YES I said it! Even if you plan to stay at a house for a short period of time, it’s always good to own. The benefits far out weigh the negatives. As a homeowner you have tax write offs at the end of the year, as a renter you nave none. As a homeowner, you OWN and can’t be evicted, as a renter you don’t have that guarantee. As a home owner you earn equity in your home (even if its in the hood) as a renter you help earn equity for your landlord. As a homeowner, you can sell in a few years and make a profit, as a renter the landlord can sell after making a profit from your rents and kick you out. See the benefits? Also NOW is the absolute best time to buy a house. REALLY! Percentage rates are down, housing prices are down, there are lots of houses on the market and we are bouncing back from a recession. BUY A HOUSE.
- Go Back To School: Don’t let anyone tell you that education doesn’t matter and that a high school education is enough. There are instances when people with high school education have really been successful, however in some instances it can be tough to compete in the job market without a degree. I have no doubt that I would NOT be where I am now had I not RETURNED to school. The biggest thing that education does is that it gives you the ability to think in a strategic way; this will help you to make great decisions in every aspect of your life. Additionally it opens doors to more opportunities. BELIEVE THAT! If there is a choice between an employer hiring a person fresh out of college, one with 20 years experience, and one with 20 years of experience PLUS a college degree, guess who wins? BELIEVE THAT! Education is the great equalizer and will allow employers to see you beyond your color and see you as a person that will bring GREEN to their business. It gives you the greatest opportunity for employers to see beyond the black and only see green as in the green of money. BELIEVE THAT!
- Start Supporting Black Owned Businesses: I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Black people are HUGE consumers and we can sometimes be the most economically challenged and live in the most economically desolate locations. How can this be when we spend so much? Well, maybe because we are not spending in our own communities! YES I said it!
There was a HUGE buy American movement fueled by a segment on World News. This movement showed how many jobs this could provide for Americans, how much money will be put back into the American economy and more. WE need to do this in our communities in 2013. The Blackness is dedicated to this, and we are going to start by making a list of the black businesses in our hometowns. I will start in Philly.
It’s time to make some changes in 2013 and it starts with you! What are you waiting for, get started!!! Let’s do this people!
© 2012, Anise Smith. All rights reserved. Copy, and reblogging (reposting) this blog or the use of blog post images are NOT permitted without direct permission of The Blackness