We all have a vision of prosperity, and with that vision, an eagerness to blame the outside world when things don’t go our way sometimes. Although several economic, social and political problems are without question the fault of institutional racism, biased employers, and a world of white privilege, how long are communities of color willing to bleed? Instead of our pockets getting fatter, our problems are expanding more quickly than a bottom in tight jeans…and overflowing into a muffin top of defeat.
Will we ever be honest about our overall health as a community? Will someone ever have the courage to not merely chastise communities of color, but help us help ourselves? Will phrases like “communities of color” and “the urban community” always be euphemisms for poverty? Can those phrases ever be yanked from the context of “suffering” or “problems” or “pathologies” and become synonymous with wealth and power and integrity—not just for the sake of lawmakers and mouthy pundits on cable news channels, but for the real people who are defined by them?
Though minorities have secured some powerful representation in the fashion world (think supermodels Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Beverly Johnson), and in the political world (think Barack Obama, Colin Powell), and in the worlds of music and entertainment, many of these icons do not reflect, or affect, the lives of everyday people.
In the real world, where black unemployment rates are always the highest, health problems are always plaguing people of color, and education is continuing to tumble in minority communities, regular folk, i.e. Tom, package and Tyrone, need to start admitting that they have age-old problems.
What’s more, we need to start fixing them–by ourselves. The first step though is admitting that we have a problem. We’ve listed the ongoing problems below, as well as their solutions, in our much needed process of collective rehab.