A Black New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Make One Together

Since the election of Donald J. Trump on November 8, 2016, I have listened to countless people talk as if the world was coming to an end, especially many Black folks.

Start on January 1

It is as if many of these seemingly naïve Black people have never researched the history of the Black existence in America, or learned about the challenges we faced and the atrocities we suffered, while remaining resilient and fighting to overcome as a collective people.

Hell, if you listen to them, along with their gloom and doom outlook on what life will be like in America now that Trump has been elected, I could see how you could be afraid – very afraid.

But guess what? I’m not afraid. Black people have historically gained power and have survived under more treacherous and racist political figures than Trump, so I know we will be fine.

As many of you may already know (and probably practice as an annual habitual tradition), it’s time for all of us to make our New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year. Now, I know that most of us rarely stick to any of the New Year’s Resolutions we set, in which, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “we make promises to do something differently in the new year,” usually consisting of an act of self-improvement or doing something positive for other people.

Many of us start with good intentions, but as life goes on throughout the year, either distractions or a lack of commitment, cause us to deviate from those well-intended New Year’s Resolutions.

While I know I don’t speak for all Black people in America, I do, however believe I have a voice that is extremely important at this time in our generation, and I believe we need to have a collective Black New Year’s Resolution going into the New Year that we can agree on.

Call me a blind optimist or a wishful thinker, but I believe the best about Black people. I’m extremely proud of our rich history and our storied culture, and I know that we have the potential to operate at a greater level as our African ancestors once did. But, I’ve gotta keep it real with you. I’m getting down-right sick and tired of us dealing with some of the same rudimentary issues that have plagued us and led to our demise for years. It’s truly frustrating.

Why haven’t we learned from these things and why do we continue to fall victim to the same thing? It’s like looking at a little child being spun around on a merry-go-round at the park. Many of the recurring issues we face constantly have us going round and round on the merry-go-round of life in America, yet we sadly choose to hop back on that merry-go-round and beg someone to spin us around over and over again, until we find ourselves in a constant state of real-life dizziness. This has got to stop going into the New Year.

Many of us pretend as if something is going to miraculous happen to change our situation, so we sit back and make excuses about what is really going on in the Black community, while we hear the proverbial “I told you so” statements or hear the “Where are/were our leaders” questions.

Let’s be honest about what’s really going on, so we can set a Black New Year’s Resolution going into the New Year. Can we do that?

If we take a moment and truly look at the areas that impact our daily lives such as politics, especially since many of us are so disenchanted and worried about what will happen under a Trump presidency; coupled with other issues such as the public education; healthcare; the wealth gap and income disparity; law enforcement challenges in our community; the lack of justice in the justice system; housing disparities; and many other areas, let’s talk about how reactive we are when the people who don’t look like us who control these areas, put us on the defensive when we finally realize we are being harmed or disenfranchised.

Sadly, we then call on many of the same select group of folks, typically a few Black elected officials, Black ministers, Black community leaders or Black activists, to help save the day by dealing with our issues and problems without our active participation or involvement. We look to them to be our savior and a group who will speak up for us and best bail us out of our current predicament and mess. We look for them to prevent others from taking away from us what belongs to us. We look for them to help us fix many of the mistakes and poor decisions we have made that brought about many of our internal issues in the first place. We put too much trust and power in the hands of other people outside of the Black race, and we wait for them to tell us that they fixed the problem or have the solution. We must do better going into the New Year y’all.

I have a rhetorical question to ask all Black people going into the New Year: Do we truly need somebody White, like Trump, to manage us live slaves so we can have what we need to grow as a people and to get our act together? If your answer is yes, that is deeply disturbing to me.

Black slaves were told by their White slave masters where to go and what to do. Black slaves had no control over their own affairs or their own resources. Black people, need I remind you going into the New Year, with Trump as president, we aren’t slaves anymore. Our ancestors have already fought and died for us to be able to handle our own affairs – internally.

Should we really be concerned about our future growth and survival under an erratic and egotistical White male president, who many believe we should be afraid of, when Black people didn’t grow their wealth or experience many direct gains as a people under President Barack Obama? Keep in mind Black people, prior to President Obama, every single president has been a White male – many of which were racist and who embraced White supremacy. We shouldn’t be afraid, we should be encouraged and we should force ourselves to think differently going into the New Year.

As a matter of fact, I’m overly optimistic and hopeful that the results of the November election, coupled with the potential decisions being made by Trump and others like him, will force Black people to work out our internal differences; deal with our internal problems; develop a collective Black agenda that we can agree on and proactively advocate for to our local, county, state and federal elected officials; use our Black dollars as both a tool to develop our people and as a weapon to boldly deal with the unfair treatment of our external enemies; understand the collective strength of a unified Black people; challenge Black people to return to their unwavering faith in God; challenge church leadership to return to their commitment to the Black struggle; and force us to straighten up and fly right so we can overcome.

You can choose to disagree with me on many things I say, but what you can’t disagree with me with or ignore is the fact something needs to be done to improve our overall condition and deal with our deep-rooted internal issues before it is too late. Now is the time.

Let’s get better and stronger under this Trump presidency. No more excuses. We have to take responsibility for our own village, and what a great time for us to start taking back that responsibility, than going into a New Year and making a strong Black New Year’s Resolution.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at jboney1@forwardtimes.com