Stop the Lip Service: You Supporting Me or Not?

Okay…let me be clear about something.

I am not naïve by any stretch of the imagination, whereby I would be foolish enough to believe that I could ever get 100 percent of the people who come into contact with me to support my endeavors. Everyone I come into contact with isn’t going to support me.

But, let me ask you something.

Am I wrong for wanting…even expecting…those who identify themselves as friends or claim to be supporters of mine, to support me and my endeavors on a regular basis?

It is no secret that I am a weekly contributor at the Forward Times newspaper, which celebrated its 57th year in print circulation in January of this year.

I have been at the Forward Times since 2011…YES, since 2011…and the primary way that we have been able to churn out this paper week-after-week, and have NEVER missed a week of print since the paper started in January 1960, has been the support of advertisers, subscribers and the people who purchase our weekly paid circulation.

No one would be able to read our newspaper every week if it wasn’t for the consistent support of our dedicated and loyal advertisers, subscribers and financial supporters.

I hear many people tell me all the time how much they appreciate my articles, or how they love reading my editorials, or how they appreciate the overall content of the newspaper, yet many of those same people refuse to advertise with us, take out a subscription or even pay a whole $1 for the newspaper.

I have experienced the same thing when it has come to my involvement with people who claim to be friends or supporters refusing to actually support my nonprofits, my business, my radio program, my initiatives or anything I have been a part of or affiliated with.

Honestly, it gets extremely frustrating when I know that they know that I could use their support, but they pretend to be oblivious to the fact I need their support and simply ignore me or avoid me altogether until they need something from me. Many of those same people have reached out to me to do things like write an article, or place an ad, or market their products, or highlight their organizations or clients.

Assuming that I did it, you already know what happened next. No reciprocity.

Why are we like that towards one another?

I often think about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how many Black people never showed their appreciation to him by reciprocating for the many sacrifices he made to make things better for Black people, especially economically.

Dr. King made so many sacrifices for civil rights and the economic uplift of others while alive. How did those beneficiaries of his many sacrifices reciprocate? Did the people who Dr. King fought to secure a better life for, relative to societal living and economic prosperity, ever return the favor to him while he was alive? Think carefully before you just spew out an answer.

And you can spare me with the played out rhetoric about how Dr. King didn’t care about any of that stuff. Dr. King wanted the same opportunities as his oppressors had, and more.

Do you honestly think Dr. King got willingly beaten, went to jail multiple times, marched and then boycotted, because he was thinking about making life better for other people and not for himself also? Dr. King wanted a return on his sacrificial investment, and he shouldn’t have had to do that for free or without any type of support – financial and otherwise.

Listen…If you truly believe in a person, in their business or their endeavors, I believe that you need to invest in them in some capacity. It doesn’t always have to be a 100 percent investment of your time, talent or treasure (money), but if definitely shouldn’t be you just offering up lip service or making empty promises.

You need to fully support them in whatever capacity you choose to support them.

We need to abandon this warped thought process that leads one to believe that we don’t really have an obligation to support the people we claim to appreciate, or who we benefit from, or who advocates for us, or who speaks up on our behalf when we feel like we don’t have a voice, or who shakes the trees and kicks down the doors to give us access.

Refusing to be reciprocal makes us ungrateful users in my honest opinion.

We must change this paradigm and change it quickly.

As a Black person, I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get support from the people who know what I do and know what I need to grow and survive in this tough social climate.

As a people, our mindsets should be on improving and empowering the Black community, which includes our organizations, our businesses and our institutions, as opposed to ignoring them and making them feel less than worthy of our praise and support.

If you are Black and have the time, talent and treasure (money) to support Black businesses, Black organizations, or Black institutions like the Forward Times, do it and be totally committed to doing it. Do it with pride. Do it with excellence. Do it without reservation or fear. Just do it.

If Black people don’t support one another we’ll be headed for collective destruction as a race.

So from this point forward, don’t come around me with your slick rhetoric and meaningless words. If you truly appreciate me…then support me. Anything else is just lip service to me.

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.