By Roy Douglas Malonson
“I’m gonna make a change; for once in my life; it’s gonna feel real good. Gonna make a difference; gonna make it right…. (Chorus) I’m starting with the man in the mirror; I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer; if you want to make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”
– Michael Jackson
Oftentimes, we as African-Americans have the tendency to blame everybody else for our failures, mishaps and misfortunes in life. Notwithstanding the fact that the many things we fall victim to are self-inflicted. Some years ago, Michael Jackson sung a song written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett, called Man in the Mirror. I have always liked this song because it encourages listeners to start addressing the root of our own problems by working on one’s self.
As a community leader, I have always expressed to anyone who listens to me the necessity of holding those individuals we elect to represent us accountable in every way. Although this thought, I believe is of the utmost importance, it is also equally vital that we learn to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and decisions. We MUST Understand, “our money” and “our vote” are two of the most important tools we have; therefore, we should be careful who we give them to. On many occasions, I hear Black folks complaining about the job that elected officials are doing in office. But, most of the times, these same individuals sit idle during early voting and election days and then when the final results are tallied, they have a problem with the outcome. The way I see it, if you negate your civil right to vote, then you negate your right to complain. Once again, we must learn to have personal accountability on the things that matters most to us.
By the same token, I have heard many people complaining about their lack of succeeding in life due to the fault of family members, employers, elected officials and otherwise. But, until we wake up and see that We MUST first hold ourselves accountable for our own failures, things will continue to remain the same. That’s why I have always said, “The squeaky wheel, gets the grease.”
Moreover, it never ceases to amaze me the tremendous amount of scapegoating members from our community have in reference to the, “Man keeping them down.” Every time I hear such foolishness from this modern society, I have to shake my head; because the truth is present-day African-Americans have it much better than our ancestors did. I could elaborate on this subject in more ways than one, but, unfortunately space will not allow me to. This is why I will be continuing on in an “Accountability” series in my upcoming editorials, to explain the need for our community understanding the importance of holding ourselves and others accountable.
Concluding, I would like to reference a quote I saw before by an anonymous contributor. “The winners are those who learn to take full responsibility for their actions. The losers are those who blame others for their failures.” With that being stated, I implore our readers to start taking charge of your own lives and know that no person can hinder you greater than yourself.