Category Archives: Providing For The Family

A Letter To Young Black Women

Recently in the news was controversy from a letter a former Princeton alumnus wrote to the young women on the campus of Princeton. In short, it advised these women to select a husband before they were done at the school because they will never be around so many smart, promising, and available marriage prospects again. I really didn’t understand what the big deal was since she is absolutely right. There is no place like a high end college to be surrounded by future doctors, lawyers, and engineers untouched by divorce, kids, settlements, or any other drama or anchors. You, also, get to see what kind of friends they have, what kind of activities they are involved in, and how do they handle themselves in a sexually liberated environment. It is like picking a strawberry straight from the field versus buying one listed on Ebay.

However, the number of Blacks who end up in high end colleges or any colleges for that matter is much smaller than with Whites and Asians, meaning the Princeton advice wouldn’t have a big impact unless modified. Though you don’t think of high school as a time to think about marriage, with the large numbers of Black and Hispanic teen mothers, we are engaging in marriage-based behaviors anyhow. So, why not get our young people thinking about someone they could meet in high school who might just be the ONE. On that note, I present the Blacknek version of the Princeton letter:

A Letter To Young Black Women

Prelude: I am not young. I am not a woman. But as a Black man I have grown up with Black women, attended predominantly all Black schools, and grew up in a predominantly Black city. So, these qualifications for daring to write this open letter may be sufficient for some, insufficient for others. With that said, let me begin.

Young Black Women in High School,

The future is yours. You exist in a time created by decades of protests, activism, and blood. You live in a land millions want to enter, despite its flaws and shortcomings. You claim citizenship under a government with a leader who shares your skin and your culture and with first ladies and first daughters whom share your lips, noses, eyes and essence. Make the decisions now to make your future bright.

High school is a time in your lives when things suddenly get real. Your style becomes your everything. Your body development starts to drag you out of childhood, rather you like it or not. Picking and being accepted by the right crowd of girls seems to be the most vital part of existence. And very importantly, talk of love and relationships changes from holding hands and kissing to sex and the future. On this last novelty rest the greatest stumbling block to your futures. No matter what your parents may want to accept, you know from all of the attention and desires of the opposite sex that you are a sexual creature now. Wise decisions at this point in your life will save you a lifetime of heartache, disappointment, and shortcomings.

The family problems we are facing are cyclical. Fathers who abandon sons create sons who think it’s normal to abandon their future children. Daughters of such fathers grow up to accept and even desire such men, who offer good times now with little prospects of a stable and reliable future. And the cycle continues one generation after the next.  Young Black women, there are a class of boys who think with nothing else but their crotch. They see no long term future and only live for the here and now. They are often very handsome, very confident, very charming, very well dressed, and know just the right things to say to flatter you…to make you feel like a queen. 

I’m not going to be an unrealistic moralist and advise you to live like a saint in high school, because our culture and times are beyond that ideal. BUT there is a big difference between having an occasional, youthful indiscretion at a party with proper protection versus putting your entire future in the hands of some clown by risking pregnancy and STD’s. All teens are led by hormones but there is a greater problem within our culture. The perception of a lack of available men and great competition has created a pressure to be the ‘baddest chick’, meaning not to be outperformed sexually by any other. Thus, why make a big deal about condoms when he might move on to a girl that let’s him go raw. Plus, there is this idea that getting pregnant might help to make the relationship permanent and turn the players into a responsible partner. Young black women, don’t sell yourself short by chasing such delusions.

Here is your secret for finding long term happiness with a young man: look at how he handles his school work. School is free and is the first level of responsibility this society ask of a person to fulfill. Education is the first stepping stone to a long term, productive life. Any young man who throws this away is not planning for the long term. Unfortunately for you, this means getting pregnant by such a man is almost a guarantee of raising a kid by yourself. You can’t change a boy/man who has been avoiding responsibility all of his life by presenting him with fatherhood.  If you can hold off on getting serious with anyone until you get to college, that would be even better. Even here you need to make sure the young man is taking his academics seriously and not just there on a sports scholarship. But if college is not in your future, then you have to look at high school as your best chance to secure a high quality man. It is in this setting where you can see his work ethic and character, his interest in monogamy or being a player, how much of his money is he blowing on high fashion clothes, and what kind of friends and company he likes to keep. You won’t ever get such a clear picture meeting some guy in the club or through an online profile.  You don’t have to have marriage or a serious relationship on your mind, but make a list at least of some of the high school boys you might just want to reconnect with in a few years. Thanks to social media, it is easier than ever to see how someone is progressing in life and what their current dating status might be. 

Young black women, it is time to get out of the change and reform game. We celebrate single Black mothers in our culture, and the work they have to do is admirable. But what none of our leaders are really harping on is that 90% of these situations are avoidable if smarter choices were made. When you look at a young man now, you should ask yourself ‘Does he have the core qualities of a responsible father and provider?’. You won’t change the player or the baller. If the guy has so perfected bravado, smooth talk, and swagger that he can convince you to sleep with him after a very short time, do you think he is going to put those skills in retirement. The ugly truth is that for such men/boys, the female is nothing but a conquest. The class clown in school will be a class clown in life. The player will always play. Pregnancy nor persuasion would make a permanent change is these men. They live expecting to die young.  And clowns and players are always the same, generation after generation. Just looking at the men in the videos below, you can’t help but wonder why any woman would risk pregnancy by them and what on Earth made her think they would have any interest in fatherhood or faithfulness. Stop the cycle and raise your standards. There are a group of Black women out there that swear there are no good Black men left. These are usually women who have spent their whole lives chasing after players, hoping unsuccessfully to bring them to true manhood. Good Black men are out there, but you need to know what to look for and make your move early so that you avoid following the paths of these women.

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Filed under Fatherhood, Marriage, Protecting The Family, Providing For The Family

Show On Oxygen To ‘Highlight’ Main Family Problem Facing Black America

Here is the most troubling statistic facing the African-American community: 72% of black children are being raised in single family homes. This above all else must be addressed but is seen as dirty laundry. To have that high of a statistic (world average is around 15%), shows there is  chronically bad decision making occurring from one generation to the next. It is also cyclical as kids raised in such homes view this as normal and grow up to expect and repeat the same behavior.  Just a few episodes of the Maury or Bill Cunningham Show will demonstrate the sad state of affairs as paternity test are the new form of daytime entertainment.

When this kind of foolishness becomes the norm, we are officially tossing the idea of family and stable homes to the side. Now there is a show coming to the Oxygen network about a rapper and his TEN baby momas. This is not a sad documentary but a sleazy reality TV show highlighting each ‘baby mommas’ attempts to gain the affection and financial support of this so called father.

There have been protest and petitions to not air ‘All My Babies’ Momas’  for the moral trash that it is.  I, however, am on the opposite side of the fence. If this was some fictional portrayal which never happens then I would also protest the show. But with 72% of Black kids being raised in situations similar to this if not as extreme, I support anything that will bring this conversation to national prominence.  We have ignored this problem for way too long. Now let the world see how dirty our laundry actually is and maybe that will spark change. Maybe young people will see this sadness and want to value themselves enough to not repeat this cycle….to end the statistic.  Is this show embarrassing ? YES. But the fact that it is should cause an immediate call to action. Not to sweep the dirt back under the rug but to address this issue head on at the #1 problem hurting the black community. Our acceptance of fatherless homes has gone on too long. As BlackNek parents, be sure to teach your daughters to have high expectations of themselves and their lives and that they need to do everything possible to bring children into the world in stable, safe homes. It is not cute to have a baby. It won’t make you popular or the guy love you more. And if a guy has lived irresponsibly all their lives by not taking school seriously and being involved with the criminal justice system, they aren’t going to suddenly become responsible just because you are carrying their child. And please tell your sons to avoid getting in this situation to begin with and explain all of the responsibilities involved with fatherhood. If your son gets a girl pregnant, they better be there 100% with no exception.

This takes us to the topic of the grandparent as the primary parent. This is common in the African-American community as the primary parent might not be available for any number of reasons. Grandparents have been the glue holding families together. As burdensome as it might be, if your child has brought a baby into the world without a stable environment, that baby will likely fall into the CYCLE (single parent home, dropping out, criminal activity) unless some intervention is done. As a BlackNEK, we can do a great service to our community by saving these babies and becoming heavily involved in their lives. This is the case for any young children in your family at risk for the CYCLE. Even if you can open space in your home to give them a new community to live in, this could have wonderful effects in a kid’s life.

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Banks To Pay For Foreclosure Abuses – Importance of Housing

Ten banks have been ordered to pay 8.5 billion dollars to victims of rushed foreclosures with faulty paperwork from 2009 and 2010.  Since this blog started after the worst of the housing crisis, I wanted to touch on it a bit. The reason we got into this crisis to begin with was that mortgage lenders were handing out loans like they were candy, many with non-fixed interest rates which increased each year.  Many of these loans were given to people with poor credit or in circumspect financial situations.

But housing is an absolutely critical topic for BlackNEKs trying to raise a successful family. Where you have your family determines the schools your kids will attend, the friends they will have, and the activities conducted by other adults living in that area. When you move into a highly populated area, such as a large apartment complex or urban community, you are basically gambling with your family’s future. Your hope is that all the families near you are doing a good job of raising their kids and are engaged in positive activities. Even if this was the case for 80% of your neighbors, that 20% will inevitably hurt the quality of life for your family through juvenile delinquency, crime, and blight. Keep in mind that for a dense neighborhood, the poorly raised kid will have frequent interaction with your kid, and this will be either as a bully or a negative role model. Also, as BlackNEKs work towards self-sufficiency and wise use of money, the superficial values of urban life won’t be of any help to your kids. For these reasons, it is of course ideal to raise your family in a low density area such as in suburbs or the country. I think this is so important that if you find yourself living in an urban area, it might be advised to save to move to a better location before starting a family. Once you have lost your kid to the pull of the street life, it is hard to bring them back.

Obviously, there are many factors people consider when deciding where to live and raise a family, such as available transportation to jobs, closeness to relatives, and housing affordability. And though we all want to live some place nicer, we do have to remember to avoid the pulls and snares of loans which seem too good to be true. Better to live humbly within your means than go into major debt. But as best as you can, the BlackNEK should get the best housing in the lowest population density that they can afford which is still near jobs and educational opportunities.

 

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Fired Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith Getting Looks From 4 NFL Teams – Rooney Rule Assumed

Ex-Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has quickly gotten interview requests from 4 other teams, according to Profootballtalk.com. His team fell apart this year but his past successes include appearances in a Super Bowl and 3 NFC Championships. He has coached with class, kept his team pretty much scandal free (getting more difficult to do these days), and was well liked by his players. Though the Bears missed the playoffs, they still finished with a 10-6 record, so it’s understandable why teams would be quickly lining up to at least interview him. But reading the comments from the same story, many are immediately assuming that interest in Lovie is only because of the Rooney rule. This rule was put in place to increase the number of minority candidates for NFL coaching positions.  Here are some of the comments:

“Lovie is a good head coach, the amount of interest at this point seems to be teams trying to get the “rooney rule” satisfied and out of the way up front before hiring the guy they really want.”

“My guess is the Rooney rule helps, and they’ll drop a quick “if we go another way, would you want to coach the D” question in there somewhere”

“I bet this is mostly Rooney rule interest. He didn’t “wow” anyone with his performance as the Bears HC.”

The Rooney rule has the best of intentions, as many coaches (and CEOS for that matter) can’t even get their foot in the door unless they know or are connected to the right people or social club. This highlights the problem with such Affirmative-Action programs: as long as they exist, every minority considered or selected will not be assumed to have made it based on their own merits and qualifications. This assumption is also reinforce anytime a selected minority candidate underperforms, no matter how many White candidates also may have underperformed. My overall position on Affirmative-Action and the Rooney rule is that I understand the need and purpose of such actions, but ultimately the goal should be to get to a point where such policies are no longer needed. These should not be long term programs. Of strongest concern is when Affirmative-Action programs result in certain applicants being selected because they are the right racial group for a quota and others being rejected, such as what is happening with colleges and universities currently. Discrimination, no matter which color is being benefitted, is not what the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. was aiming to achieve.

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BlackNEKs Should Know About The Fiscal Cliff

Since one of our goals is to encourage BlackNEKS to be good providers, you should know what is going on with this so called fiscal cliff.  Basically from what I can get out of it, there could be a greater amount withheld from your paychecks in 2013 and there might be a delay in tax returns. This, along with some hits to government spending, could send the country into a recession as less money is added to the economy and the prices of agricultural goods go up. No matter what happens, you should aim always have a 6 month minimum, rainy day fund to care for your family needs.

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BlackNEKS Christmas Time

Since October, advertisers have been letting us know that Christmas is in the air and it’s time to spend. As BlackNEKS, we have an obligation to support the family by not going into credit card debt and acting financially responsible. Please keep that in mind for the holiday season. Also, as our children need to become productive citizens of society, spoiling them only hurts their character and expectations of how the real world works.  Just take a look at this wonderful angel not happy with their Christmas gift to see how bad it can get:

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