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Do you have Black entitlement syndrome?

Casey Thomas | 12/24/2013, 9:45 a.m. | Updated on 12/26/2013, 4:28 p.m.
I have thought about writing about this topic for a while now. The first step is to admit that you ...
Casey Thomas

The Dallas Examiner

I have thought about writing about this topic for a while now. The first step is to admit that you have a problem and many of us have a problem. Symptoms of this are that you feel that someone owes you something, that you have the right to a quality life and a quality education. These are symptoms of Black entitlement syndrome and it is having a detrimental effect on the Black community today.

As an educator for almost twenty years, I have seen the effects of this illness on our children. I have spent a majority of my career teaching in the inner city of Dallas. I have also seen how young people of all ages are coming to school unprepared to learn and unfocused. They walk in the classroom with no pencil for math class and no paper or folder for any other class. In their mind, the teacher is expected to provide these things for the student. As a result of this, they feel it is the responsibility of the teacher to provide them with these things and they are entitled to receive them.

We are seeing the effects of this with young adults today. There are more people between the ages of 18-25 who are walking the streets today. They don’t have a job and they are staying at home. They are not going to college and are not being forced to do any chores around the house. Without taking any responsibility, these young people will not know how to take care of their own house or pay their own bills.

Unless we turn this around quickly, we are going to raise a generation that does not understand hard work and will feel like everyone owes them something. This mentality is one of the reasons we are seeing so many of the rights that we fought for being rolled back by far right wing conservatives. They feel like Black people have been given enough time to overcome the historical disparities caused by racial discrimination and enough opportunities to close off the wealth and educational gap that has existed for decades.

The good part is we can turn this around. There is a cure for Black entitlement syndrome. It begins with a mindset change. Research says it takes at least 21 days to change a habit. We don’t have another day to waste. Parents, we must begin at a young age teaching our children that nobody owes them anything. That they must work hard for everything that they will get. They must take advantage of every opportunity that they get.

Even parents of teenage children can overcome this. They must immediately walk in from work and tell their teenage son or daughter that things are going to change starting today. That before they can continue to use that cellphone they cherish another minute, they must bring their grades up. Before they can drive that car that their parents are paying the insurance on, they must clean their room and take care of the house.

If you have young adult children, you can always re-direct them as long as they are living in your house. You can tell them that they must immediately go complete an application: either one for a job or one to attend a community college or four-year university. They need an ultimatum to wake up from the entitlement mentality that they have. If they choose to do neither, they must prepare for a life outside of your house. This is what is referred to as “tough love.” It worked for me and it will work for children these days as well. If we don’t do something and do it quickly, we are headed down a road that they we will not be able to recover from. The future of our community depends on it.