edited version A few years ago the late author Ralph Wiley wrote a book tilted What Black Folks Should Do Now? So much emphasis is put on trying to figure out how to make white folk like us, how to get them to change, how the “white man” is doing this, and doing that….what about emphasis on our own empowerment? What about choices that we make that can both individually and as a collective elevate us? I firmly believe that the black collective has become so engrossed in Eurocentric “greatness” culture, mores and values, and history that we have become a lost tribe, with no way out and no reference to our own greatness, culture, mores, values, and history. We operate out of a system of helplessness, and powerlessness. Part of our issue is that we don’t realize the power that we possess. We hear talk of the power of the black dollar – in our spending choices we empower the white power structure, and dis-empower us, but saddling ourselves with debt. So what do Black folks need to do now? Develop Courage: We speak ad nauseam about we need to vote because “so many of our ancestors died” to get us the right. Newsflash: The courage of our ancestors didn’t stop and start with voting rights. They didn’t die to for their sons and daughters to become to dishonor them mind body and soul. They didn’t die for their sons and daughters to be court jesters, and minstrels. They didn’t die so that their sons and daughters would angels of death to our own community. Our ancestors lost tongues because they wanted to speak their native language, hands were cut off because they wanted to drum to maintain a connection to the continent. Can we develop the courage of our ancestors to begin to reduce our spiritual, emotional, and mental dependency on Eurocentric cultures and traditions? This doesn’t mean we need to be “Mr. Broke Conscious brotha” who has can quote Amos Wilson, or the Metu Neter, brag on being a vegan, but can’t keep a steady job. Jesus said “render unto Caesar what is his”. We need to learn to function in this culture, earn a living, be responsible for our children, families, and communities, but do it in away that doesn’t bring about dis-ease, and spiritual death. So what do Black folks need to do now? Be in America but not of America: Develop tools that will allow us to function in this death riddled culture in a manner that embraces life and abundance, instead of operating in a manner that embraces death, and the illusion of lack. What should Black folks do now? Sit Christmas out (and many other Eurocentric holidays) Is there really a rationale behind going into massive debt for a holiday not of our making? A An alternative could be either Adopt either a $100.00 limit or Limit gifts to something you make or cook. Lead by example by lowering household expectations re Christmas gifts. So what do Black folks need to do now? Change the Channel Tune out from the usual media outlets Clear channel outlets, BET, which offer radio versions of black minstrel shows, and listen perhaps tune in to NPR, and PBS or other more thought provoking outlets. These outlets often provide insightful thought provoking African American centered programming. So what do Black folks need to do now? Change the Channel part II We download spiritual messages interpreted by others every Sunday, how bout downloading spiritual messages directly from the source…perhaps instead of Sunday church perhaps quiet meditation, yoga, a peaceful walk and plugging in directly to the source. We said what would Jesus do? Often Jesus spent quiet time in meditation, not in loud distracting, performance riddled sermons. If silence and solitude worked for Jesus why not you? So what do Black folks need to do now? Change the Channel part III Pick a day perhaps two where there is no computer on, nor television, radio. Replace those distractions with a family game night, family discussions, reading or an outing. So what do Black folks need to do now? You are what you eat Instead of resigning to the statistics that black people are predisposed for strokes, heart attack, some cancers, change your diet. The excuse it cost more gets more indefensible when comparing the cost of prescription drugs and health care that are becoming a national crisis. So what do Black folks need to do now? Engage our children We need to go beyond merely checking homework, engage your child, ask questions, and find out what’s on their mind. Discuss what happened in school, stay plugged into their culture speak to them on their terms. Parents must engage with their children to compete with outside influences. Prepare them for adulthood, engage them with your adult decision making process, as opposed to saying this is how it is. So what do Black folks need to do now? Readers become leaders The late Tupac Shakur read vociferously, his lyrics were a reflection of that. So are Barrack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Reading expands your world, opens up new ideas, concepts, and points of view. Encourage your children to read, read everything, and read often. So what do Black folks need to do now? Be a Credit Killer Teach your children the dangers of debt; lead by example, help them avoid the blandishments of the credit industry. So what do Black folks need to do now? Make our “leaders” and institutions accountable We can’t continue to support and apologize for crack using politicians, for school boards that are dysfunctional, organizations that are black on the outside but are mere front for others agendas, or media outlets that promote black tomfoolery, and ministers who spend their time pimping their congregations, and often living double scandalous lives. So what do Black folks need to do now? Conclusion: This culture is debt ridden, obese, unhealthy, lacking the ability to critically think (a critically thinking nation would never elected George Bush President). We live in Rome, but there is a point of diminishing returns when we embrace the Roman Culture at the expense of our own. In 2007 we are at that point. Unless we as a collective begin to understand how to live in a culture of death, and not die along with it, we will perish - the death will first come in the form of spiritual death, and soon to follow is emotional and mental death, then physical death. At this stage many are already, walking dead. Chose life!