My 2013 Wish List For Blacks

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That’s good. We just need to keep it up – and get mad enough to change some other things that continue to keep us from not being at our best.

For starters, I’d like to see a number of black folks – especially young black males – get so angry at the fact that for-profit prison companies have found a way to become wealthy by capitalizing on their criminality that they vow to stop becoming loyal customers of the criminal justice system.

I’d like to see them save the anger at the person who slighted or disrespected them for the prison profiteers who are waiting to make money off them the minute they shoot, stab or otherwise assault whoever insulted them.

I’d like to see young black people get ticked off at their peers or anyone else, for that matter, who believe that education is only something that whites can succeed at – an idea that will keep them stuck at the bottom rungs of society either in low-wage jobs or dependency on the system, or worse, in and out of an incarceration system designed to profit off their own low expectations.

I’d also like to see us be bold enough to demand more from the Obama administration. Many black people understood that he couldn’t exactly morph into H. Rap Brown during his first term, but were it not for black voters – especially those in Ohio and the ones who waited until the wee morning hours to vote in Florida – Obama would be headed back to Chicago this month.

So we shouldn’t be timid about pressing him in addressing our issues – namely unemployment and education – and he shouldn’t shy away from addressing them.

It’s been said that one of the enduring lessons of the 2012 presidential election was the changing demographics, especially when it came to the rise of the Latino vote. But another lesson of that election that the Pew research reveals, or for me, at least reinforces, is that black people still wield significant power at the ballot box.

It also tells me that if we can channel our anger to control our political destinies – something that we need to repeat during the 2014 midterm elections  – we can also find a way to direct our angst toward controlling our economic and educational destinies, too.

And this year is as good a time as ever to start doing that.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.

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