eBook (PDF), 160 Pages
Traditionally, American Blacks have been one of the most consistently conservative groups in the United States. But, because politics has become more of a marketing mechanism utilized to steer a susceptible electorate, Black political actions reflect less upon traditional values and more upon compensation based sensitivities to a historical identity. With the significant progress Blacks have experienced over the past several decades, Taking Ownership represents the need to shift Black identity away from its reactive base and towards a proactive avenue that brings forth those historical values that held communities together during the most oppressive years. The ‘Race Experts’ and Political Consultants may continue to manipulate the electorate; however Taking Ownership moves us away from a focus on shallow political victories and towards the reality of functioning in an ever more competitive global market place.
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Aug 12, 2010Taking Ownership: Moving the Black Community Towards The Task should be required reading for everyone. If you are not challenging yourself to do the very best that you can do with your life, or if you have ever wondered what’s wrong with people today, this book holds the answers you need. Dr. Malik Watkins does a masterful job of examining how Blacks managed to do so well in America long before they were granted equal rights or even before they were thought of as human beings. In spite of insurmountable challenges, they never gave up. In fact, they stood together, supporting each other, building strong families, and in some cases, strong businesses. Dr. Watkins’ “no holds barred” dose of reality also explains why today, in spite of such tremendous opportunities that are available, so many Blacks continue to struggle. It’s time for all of us to go back to the basics and live like the giants (our ancestors) to whom this book was dedicated. Those giants worked hard, helped their... More > neighbors, took care of their families, took responsibility for their children and encouraged them to value education and want more out of life. If we could just follow in our ancestors’ footsteps, we would see such a tremendous change on every economic level, and we could enjoy the prosperity we so richly deserve and thought we would have attained by now. The best part of this book, the author delves into the many problems that the Black community faces that many never choose to discuss openly and honestly. While he puts all of our “dirty laundry” out there for the whole world to see, he intelligently and articulately steers the reader to a place that we know. In spite of what sometimes appears to be overwhelming odds, the author finds common sense solutions that encourage his readers to get involved and do our part to build a brighter tomorrow.< Less
Aug 1, 2010In this short book, Watkins describes the condition of the Black community in America as it has been formed by changes in economic policy, leadership, and shifts in community values. One of the ideas in the text that is advanced early is that Black Americans are no longer African, a concept that allowed me to exhale as a Black American who has visited western Africa and who felt it to be true immediately as I interacted with people on the continent. The debunking of this derivative mythology set the stage for more assertive theories about his Black socioeconomic model. His discussion is thought provoking and refreshing and definitely not middle-of-the-road. By looking at the business, rather than the individual, as a unit of measure in the development of community conditions, it was easier to see where Blacks do and do not matter, and how equivalently, how race matters less than we are conditioned to believe. Through compact review of political history and historical data, Watkins... More > also revisits integration and its impact on cohesiveness in the Black community- how that affected the transmission of values, the accumulation of survival skills, and preservation of Black businesses. The title Taking Ownership resounds with the idea that “quality of life is primarily a function of individual decisions.” So if you think oppression is primarily responsible for the plight of Black Americans, this isn’t your book. If you want to read a gushing tribute to the civil rights movement and its leaders, this isn’t your book. But if you want to start a stark dialogue on when and where Blacks enter into community development and their own self actualization (but not independent of social inequities) then this is a dense, provocative read. Watkins uses a political calculus to derive perspectives that he attributes to a silent middle class. I found the majority of these to mesh with my point of view as a member of this group and as an educator preparing college students to move into these different intellectual and economic classes. This is a hard, but necessary read.< Less
Jul 25, 2010Dr. Watkins' Taking Ownership is powerful and timely. It has helped me to look past the race politics of the day and to expect for more of my representatives and of myself. This examination of the state of America through the lens of the Black community aims to motivate the reader to action. It seeks to raise our consciousness and our confidence in values we have all long forgotten. Watkins calls his reader to ask questions of themselves and their leaders. He also debunks long-held societal myths I'm sure we all had accepted as truths. As a professional working in community outreach in urban neighborhoods, I appreciate this book for its thoughtful delivery and for its underlying optimism. This book is for everyone who still believes that individual choice and action defines the person and determines the quality of life we share as neighbors-- not ones race. Congratulations to Dr. Watkins for bringing us to the beginning of an important and long anticipated discussion.
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- Malik R. Watkins (Standard Copyright License)
- Malik R. Watkins
- September 28, 2011
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