The late Malcolm X once made reference to a thought that I believe is very true in nature. “What you and I need to is learn to forget our differences. When WE come together, we don’t come together as Baptist or Methodists. You don’t catch hell cause you’re a Baptist, and you don’t catch hell cause you’re a Methodist. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Democrat or Republican. You don’t catch hell because you’re a Mason or Elk and you sure don’t catch hell because you’re an American, cause if you was an American, you wouldn’t catch no hell. You catch hell cause you’re a Black man!”
I chose to use this quote because it symbolizes the truth of how I feel as a Black man living in America. It is one of the key reasons that my wife and I started this newspaper, years ago. I am no racist by a long shot. In fact, some of my dearest friends belong to other races. However, I am not so ignorantly misguided to the fact that there is still something about this Blackness that is and has always been seriously misunderstood. I don’t care how much people choose to believe that just because we have evolved so much as a nation, that race is no longer a factor. Truth is, it was hundreds of years ago and it remains an issue today.
Before my wife and I first started African-American News & Issues, we tried our best to work with other local Black newspapers and publications, but no one wanted to work together. So we made a decision to do what we felt was best and have remained true to doing that for over two decades. We built this paper off of the concept of highlighting and addressing current and historical realities affecting our communities. With that, we have seen much success, but we are only as successful as those who read and support us.
Therefore, I am making an appeal to members of the Black press within our region to unite and work together. We MUST Understand that it is easier to work together rather than against one another. I have repetitiously been telling and writing to the people of our communities for years the same old message. It is imperative that we wake up and see that we are constantly losing valuable resources that have been a part of our culture since our forefathers’ entrance into these United States. Historical Black neighborhoods are becoming obsolete on a daily basis; we are losing many of our Black churches and businesses and many other landmarks are becoming extinct. I feel it should be one of the most important duties of any type of Black press related outlet, to expose these truths and raise awareness regarding the many things that have invaded our fortress. But, in order for this to be achieved, we as the Black press first have to come together and utilize our various resources to get the message out to our people.
The main objective of a Black newspaper is to target the Black audience – simple as that! Therefore, whatever means or tactics that a publication uses to reach that goal is irrelevant to me as long as we are producing and presenting the right messages to our people. It doesn’t take a genius or scholar for folks to know that Black people have a preference. Some folk chose to stay up to date on Black news by reading The Informer or picking up The Defender, another may peruse through D-Mars, somebody else’s choice may be the Houston Sun or one of the likes. Regardless of what publication a person chooses to read; it is up to us as leaders of the Black press to ensure that we are in unison presenting the material that directly affects our communities on all levels.
I just believe that, you do not have to agree with everything that a person does or say to support them. I have always said that I don’t care whether a politician is a Democrat or Republican. The most important factor to me is that whoever represents us has the right motives and best interest in mind as it relates to impacting the African-American community. I feel the same way about our Black press here in the city. I really don’t care how other publications reach our people as long as we are sending the same messages to empower our community in a positive manner.
We MUST Understand that jealousy, hatred and fear have been three of the most notorious factors prevalent within our culture against one another. The cycle must stop! If other nationalities and races can come together and support each other for one common goal, then we are no different. We as members of the Black press can work together, if we have the desire to try. Hence, I would like to conclude with the words of Henry Ford, a very successful American businessman. He said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”