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By: Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher of African-American News & Issues & Author of column series We MUST Understand

Many people are unaware of the fact that I entertain a wide variety of people, throughout the course of a day. Being the publisher of one of Texas widest read and circulated publications with a Black perspective has the tendency to cause people to approach me with different ideas and issues that impacts them. Here lately, a lot of people have been calling me about one simple term, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.

We MUST Understand that the term, “respect” is not one that should loosely be thrown around or used with no regard to its actual meaning. Webster defines respect as, “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Therefore if we consider the meaning of the word, it can only be assumed that the old proverbial saying is true. Respect is not given, but instead it is earned. To that regard, I have to state that my message is one that will remain the same.

It really makes no difference to me how people view or feel about other publications. But no matter what, I declare that African-American News&Issues will be respected. I am sick and tired of Black folks running to the Chronicle instead of running to us (Black publications) first and so we are calling them out and holding them accountable. They can talk about respect all they want to, but they are going to respect us and the message and platform that we operate off of. We got a long list of Black preachers who capitalize off of the Black community yet, choose to advertise with the Chronicle and that’s fine. But understand that nobody is going to respect you, until you respect your own, who you are and where you come from!

For decades, I have sent my people out to cover tons of Black events that support and uplift our communities. Churches, politicians, schools and other entities contact us, when they want us to promote and cover events free of charge and that’s no problem; because that’s who we are and what we stand for. But it is an insult, after we have done our part and promoted, uplifted and covered these glorious events, and then we are not thought of again until folks want something for nothing. But when it comes time to support those who have supported them, they take their money and advertise amongst those who do not look like us. I have a major problem with that because you should at least give back to those who gave to you. It’s not a money thing that I am stressing here, but I am demanding RESPECT. As they say, “If you want it, give it!”

So the message still stands! We are going to hold Black elected officials and Black preachers accountable. Because it’s time out for this crap! Our communities are suffering and dying, now more than ever. But it makes no difference to many of them, because they too busy running around ego tripping. To our Black elected officials and local preachers: YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE OUR VOICE and YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT US! I am fed up with all of these Black politicians getting elected and talking about WE for ALL THE PEOPLE. Hell yeah! You supposed to be for ALL THE PEOPLE, but you BLACK and supposed to at least take care of your own people first. Because when it comes down to the wire and it has, time and time again. When we as the community go to Federal Court about the issues that affects us and our communities, the first thing they do is point the finger at our elected officials. They target our Black politicians and say, “Well y’all supposed to be their voice”! Truthfully, they are right, if we do the work and vote the least they could is show their appreciation and do their damn job!

The point that I am trying to convey here is simple. I am not trying to persuade Black leaders to just look after their own and that’s it – that would be selfish. But in terms of being our voice on platforms that we cannot reach; who is better to convey our issues and problems than those who come from the Black community and have personal insight to the problems and struggles that we face? For the record, I am not being impartial by stating this. I am trying to present the message that we should protect our own, just as other cultures do. It is a proven fact that Black folk, out of all the races that exist are most notorious for taking care of and supporting every race known to man, but their own.

Just take a look at the various representations that we have within our government. Do you think that Hispanic-American, Asian-American representatives and others are petitioning notions on behalf of other minorities – outside of their perspective races’? No! They are too busy trying to secure bills that accommodate individuals from their communities and by right they are supposed to.