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Stop whining – start grinding

JAMES CLINGMAN | 5/9/2016, 9:22 a.m.
It’s interesting how the young folks have started using a term that describes what the older folks should be doing.
James Clingman

(George Curry Media) – It’s interesting how the young folks have started using a term that describes what the older folks should be doing. I hear young people saying, “I’m grinding,” and I hear older folks whining. Young people know they have to “just do it,” as the saying goes, in order to achieve their dreams. In many cases, they are willing to take risks and forego the creature comforts that could accrue to them via high level corporate salaries. They are willing to sacrifice in order to pursue their own path in life, unconstrained by the “rules” someone else sets for them.

We older folks are not as willing to do the work appertaining to progress; instead we are still relying on politicians to make things better for us. We do a lot more whining than grinding when it comes to our collective – and sometimes even our individual economic freedom.

I hear it on the radio and on news shows all the time from so-called leaders and from so-called liberated Black folks. They whine about what the “Man” is doing to us, how our collective fate is not in our own hands but someone else’s, what “we need to do,” how “unequal” we are in income, wealth and social opportunities, and how many of us are in prison. They can recite all the stats and all the history surrounding our current demise. They reminisce about Kemet and other ancient African contributions to the world. They talk about “Black Wall Street” and invoke the names of our great icons; and they continue to lament and chronicle, as Maulana Karenga says, “Litanies of lost battles.”

While many of us are very adept at talking about our problems, far fewer of us are willing to get into the fray and do the work to ameliorate our problems – even though the solutions to our problems are relatively simple to implement.

Co-convener of the One million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, Amefika Geuka, wrote a “Black Paper” in 2007 in which he stated, “[Our] vision is of a transformed Black community where our people radically improve the quality of their lives and surroundings. We will accomplish this by implementing programs and ventures designed specifically for the unique needs of people of African descent – without apology! This will result in the complete elimination of the ‘slave mentality’ and dependence on the gratuity of others that it promotes. We will cease to be the ‘weakest link in the chain,’ or weakest ‘patch’ in the ‘quilt-like’ fabric of American society and that of the world.”

Rhetoric not followed by action is meaningless; and whining not supplanted by grinding only displays weakness and apathy. Booker T. Washington said, “The world might pity a whining nation, but it will never respect it [until it respects itself enough to do for itself].”

If we would turn our whining into grinding, not worrying as much about the external factors but concentrating on our internal resources to “accomplish what we will,” Black people would be much better off.