Home / Books / Social Sciences / Discrimination & Racism / Stop Being Niggardly: And Nine Other Things Black People Need to Stop Doing ID: B19291
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Stop Being Niggardly: And Nine Other Things Black People Need to Stop Doing

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Author: Karen Hunter
ISBN: 1416563741
Original Region: United States
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher:
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1. stingy, miserly; not generous

2. begrudging about spending or granting

3. provided in a meanly limited supply

If you don’t know the definition of the word, you might assume it to be a derogatory insult, a racial slur. You might be personally offended and deeply outraged. You might write an angry editorial or organize

In other words, you’d better know what the word means before you pour your energy into overreacting to it.

From our urban communities to small-town America, the issues Hunter is bold enough to tackle in Stop Being Niggardly affect us all. Refreshingly candid and challenging, certain to get people everywhere talking, this is the book that takes on race in a new—yet also historically revered and simply stated—way that can change lives, both personally and collectively.

Excerpt from the origin:

Stop Complaining and Start Planning

Write down the revelations and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.

—HABAKKUK 2:2

ON AUGUST 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and delivered a speech that will go down in history as one of the most powerful, poignant, and inspired speeches of our time. It is known as the“I Have a Dream” speech and it begins:

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

As you will see with Nannie Helen Burroughs’s powerfully instructive message, not much has changed for black folks in America in a hundred years. Sure, much of the struggle of the 1960s led to changes in the laws that allowed blacks to drink from whatever water fountain they chose or to ride in the front of the buses. These laws even gave blacks the right to vote. But what changed economically for blacks?

• Black family income is at an all-time high, but is still only 58 percent of that of the average family in America.

• According to the Federal Reserve, the wealth gap between whites and African-Americans is widening. According to the Fed, for every dollar of wealth held by a typical white family in 2007, a black family had only ten cents— that’s two cents less than the family had in 2004.

• And with layoffs in 2009 affecting blacks disproportionately, that gap is expected to increase even more.

• Black-owned businesses have increased in number and have penetrated a wide range of industries over the past thirty years. But the sales of the one hundred largest black-owned businesses combined are less than the sales of any one of the companies on the Fortune 500 list of major industrial corporations. Outside of Black Enterprise, TV One (which is limping), and Ebony and Jet (which are on life support as I’m writing this), blacks own no major media outlets.

• Equal pay? While blacks have made progress over the last thirty years, African-Americans still earn about seventy-four cents for every dollar a white person earns. And in 2004, black family income was 58 percent of that of white families—a drop from 63 percent in 1974.

In that“I Have a Dream” speech, King also said:

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

That’s not true. The framers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence at no time considered blacks—who were then slaves—to be a part of the America they were building. Blacks were chattel, property, three-fifths of a man. There was certainly no consideration of their rights or needs, nor were they considered“heirs” to all the wealth that was to become America’s.

Here’s where King’s dream has continued to be just that. Having a dream, instead of having a plan, has relegated us to living in a world of fantasy instead of reality. Now, I’m not criticizing King or his speech because he was able to get Americans—both black and white—to really start to see black people as equal and deserving participants in this democracy, and that was important. His agenda was not about economic empowerment or even black pride, as was the push by Marcus Garvey and later Malcolm X. We need to dream. Dreams are the building blocks to the manifestation of real accomplishments.

But after we finish dreaming, we need to wake up and do something!

If King had lived, perhaps his work would have evolved. Instead of hoping for white acceptance and unity, he would have rallied blacks to create their own industries and develop their own base of wealth. He would have talked about economic empowerment—not what the government“owes” blacks but what we blacks owe ourselves.

Instead of talking about integrating schools, King might have seen that perhaps talking about making all-black schools better—making them schools that could rival those of whites—would have been more productive. Instead of calling for integrated neighborhoods, he might have talked about making black neighborhoods places where even white people would fight to get in.

Instead of blacks complaining about having to drink from the broken-down COLOREDS ONLY fountains, King could have urged blacks to create their own elaborate fountains in their own neighborhoods.

Yes, Rosa Parks was tired and didn’t want to give up her seat or stand in the back of the bus. But why didn’t blacks create their own bus system? Start it off with some vans. If everyone had chipped in to buy that first bus, the people would have been able to buy a fleet of buses from the monies made.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a dream, and it was a nice speech, a great speech, an inspiring speech. But I believe his speech and his dream was supposed to manifest into something greater, and we’ve let King down.

We had to have the dream. But what would have pushed the black cause further would have been a plan—an economic plan to go along with the dream.

I am a dreamer by nature. I sit around from time to time imagining my next conquest, my next journey, and I play it out in my mind. I fantasize about the wealth I will have and the schools I will build and the children I will take care of.

But I live by a plan. I learned that words are powerful. In the beginning of the Bible it says that God said let there be light and there was. He didn’t think about light and it happened. He said something and it happened. Words then must be the key to accomplishment, followed by action.

I learned that by writing down the things that I dreamed about and envisioned, they often came to fruition. I guess you can equate it to going on a trip and having an idea of where you are going but not having a map. If you’re on a trip without a map and you get lost, you can certainly pull over and ask someone for directions, but you run the risk of someone sending you even farther out of your way with bad advice. The best thing you can do is to make sure you have a map—a clear map—that shows you exactly where you are and where you need to be before you even set out on your journey.

WRITING DOWN THE DREAM

In 1996, I’d got off track, even with some of the positive examples I had from my youth. I was in a bad place financially, spiritually, and physically. My weight had got out of control. I was pushing 240 pounds, eating things I don’t even look at today. My gallbladder eventually had to be removed. I was making bad choices in my personal and financial life.

I turned to a friend who had been studying the Bible and started talking about the things that were going on in my life. My friend asked me a simple question:“What do you want to happen in your life?”

I said,“I want everything to be on the right track. I want peace.”

“Well, first you have to be on the right track,” my friend told me.“You have to take a good hard look at yourself and see where you are. Then you have to look inside yourself and determine where you want to be, and then you have to write it down and look at it every day. And I guarantee you, you will get there.”

So I soul-searched and came up with seven goals:

1. Get closer to God/peace, wisdom through Him

2. Health/booming shape

3. Find love (learn to give and receive)/passion

4. Write a book

5. Buy a house (Arlington Avenue)

6. Get an SUV(Land Rover Defender 90 or Discovery)/Saab (I want back what I had lost)

7. Have fun/enjoy life/make new friends

These goals I typed on my computer January 1, 1996, printed them out, and placed them in my daily planner, which I started using for all of my personal and business efforts since 1991. I taped a copy of my goals on the inside cover so that every day, when I opened my planner to write a number or record a meeting or some other important date, I would be forced to look at it.

By the end of the year, I was definitely getting closer to God. I started studying the Bible. I had read it before but it had just seemed like a bunch of stories in the past. This time as I was reading, I didn’t start at the beginning and read it as I would a book. I started in the back with the words in red (in my NIV edition) and studied the things Jesus said and got a deeper understanding of the nature of God and what He expected of me. I learned how to hear from God through reading His word.

Physically, I hadn’t lost much weight and I hadn’t found love, but I did write a book. I didn’t get that dream house on Arlington Avenue in East Orange, New Jersey, but I did get a new car, a Toyota 4Runner, and I made a few new friends. I was able to cross off four things on my list of seven and I was encouraged.

The following year, I got bold. My goals:

1. Have a really deep relationship with God

2. ...

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