There is a common misconception in our community that disparities between Blacks and Whites are the result of sociological conditions prior to the abolition of African American slavery in 1865.

However, in my “naive” opinion, such reasoning is both erroneous and shameful. If we continue to believe that Father Time is to blame for our shared struggles, then we will forever be dependent upon his mercy, and fearful of his wrath.

Theoretically, a man’s socioeconomic condition, especially that of a Black man, isn’t predetermined by the sins perpetrated upon his forefathers.

In fact, I believe that a man’s success, or lack thereof, is contingent upon the disposition of his mind, and/or the content of his character.

One could, and many probably would, argue the contrary. In doing so, he or she might even refer to anti-affirmative action, the notorious glass-ceiling, and outright racism, among other grievances. But, in our attempts to find excuses, are we acknowledging the strength of human prejudice, rather than the power of ambition, fortitude, and self-belief?

These are necessary virtues that many of us either fail to exercise, or completely lack. But, that’s okay, because in time, “Jesus will come to our rescue, right?” Wrong. For all you holy-rollers, pulpit-pimps, and false witnesses out there, the “Holy Ghost” ain’t coming to a town near you dressed as a Black Panther or as Dr. King reincarnated.

Besides, according to second Timothy 1:7: God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power (so that we can make our own destiny), and of love (so that we can work together for a greater tomorrow), and of a sound mind (so that no weapon formed against us shall prosper). Are we not more than conquerors? Cannot the sands of time run through our fingers?

Again, one could, and thousands probably would, argue the contrary. And the numbers do exist to back them up.

Annual data released recently by the U.S Census Bureau indicates that 43.6 million Americans–one in seven people–now live in poverty. This is the largest number of poor people in the 51 years for which the estimates are available. The figures also show that African Americans experience poverty at a much higher rate than Whites.

In 2009, the poverty rate for African Americans reached 25.8 percent–almost twice as high as that of the general population. One in three African American children now lives in families that have trouble providing for them. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly called food stamps) has hit record levels, with African Americans accounting for 22.6 percent of the 40.5 million Americans who receive these benefits each month. This figure is projected to rise in 2011.

Economists contend that the current increase in Black poverty is due, in major part, to America’s unemployment rate, which edged up to 9.8 percent from 9 percent in November. What’s even more disquieting is the unemployment rate for African Americans is nearly double that rate, at just under 16 percent, the highest of any ethnic group in the country, based on recent reports.

Why is that? Heaven knows it must be deeper than lay offs and cutbacks. Perhaps it’s because so many of us are like crabs, battling to escape from the proverbial barrel. Or, maybe it’s because of our perpetual struggle to wrestle a crumb from the White man’s table?

But, again, in response to this, I say: “To hell with his table, business, education, and promise of 40 acres and a mule.” O people, my African people, let’s reclaim the honor, dignity and pride that our forefathers were forced to surrender so many years ago.

You must understand that prosperity isn’t given (at least not to a Negro); it must be seized with the tip of our swords (mouths), and the power of our inherent nobility. Black people, I implore you, stop feeding off the stale bowels of slavery. No, we don’t deserve reparation of any kind. And if it’s ever awarded to us, we should scatter what we’re given upon the burial grounds of Black slaves, before a dime even touches our empty pockets.

It’s time that we, as a unified people, assume full-responsibility for the present Black condition in order to exact positive change. Only then will our fortune, and our name, improve.