Keep your word

August 19, 2021

In 2021 African Americans are struggling to find some way to navigate the way US society is changing. There are different forces that are pulling all Americans here and there. You have a pandemic raging across the planet. There is the angst of the coming NFL season. African Americans will have to build a trust with one another to keep from becoming extinct. One easy way African Americans can begin to work with one another is to honor their word.

For years I have watched African Americans dance for white society. I have observed African Americans go to the extreme to ensure they completed a task for white people. I have watched African Americans go broke or endure sickness to pay or work for white people. On the other hand I have watched African Americans lie, cheat, steal from each other. Why? For one reason, many African Americans view other African Americans through the eyes of white people. I have discussed this before. There is a way to repair the damage of mistrust and exploitation in the African American community. African Americans, keep your word to one another.

“I say what I mean, and mean what I say.” Many African Americans have heard these words, and probably said them before. It is time to start making these words the truth. If African Americans are going to utilize their greatest asset, each other, then they have to establish trust. How many times, African Americans, have you been told by another African American that they were going to do something? How many times has the African American who said they were going to take action failed? You don’t have to answer. This lack of following through by African Americans for each other leads to African American distrust. How can African Americans build a businessbased economy if they don’t trust each other?

Many people will shrug off what I am saying. “Oh, keeping your word for small things isn’t important.” Yes, it is. You have to practice doing your best so your best will come naturally. If your word means nothing to those who so-called love you, why would it mean anything to strangers? There is a reason many African Americans can’t keep their word. They commit or speak before thinking. Incidentally this a trait all people have.

It has been said, “Your word is your bond.” If this is true, then be careful about giving your word. I had to work on this myself, so I am not talking as some high and mighty judgmental type. If I give my word then I have to come through. I used to say, “Excuses are the tools of the weak.” When you have told a person that you would do something at a time or for them, do it. This is why you have to think about the situation you are in before you commit. This lack of follow through by African Americans towards other African Americans permeates all levels of interactions. How many of you have heard an African American say, “I tried doing business with our people, but you know how that went.” Too may times, I’d wager. Is there any wonder there is no major African American business-based economy?

African Americans, start small in honoring your word. If you tell someone you will contact them on a certain day, do it. If you schedule a meeting with anyone, make the meeting. To make it easy for African Americans I suggest this game. African Americans, pretend that the other African American is a white person. This illusion will make it easy for you to honor your word. African Americans break their necks following up for white people. Why not do the same for other African Americans? If you can get out of the bed sick to go to work, why can’t you get out of bed healthy to keep a commitment to an African American?

Frank James IV © 2021

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Being Frank” is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.

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