Black men are the strongest men on earth … until they become old men. The slave master bred slaves to work hard, make babies and die early. Nobody wanted to feed a retired slave. “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation” is a great book, but I did not write it hoping master will tell you it’s OK. Master will not appreciate your leaving the plantation.

There is no stronger person than a 19-year-old male. He dominates every physical activity he wants. From football to basketball, boxing, track and field and baseball. He is very competitive – but at age 65 he has diabetes, high blood pressure and can hardly walk. Why?

The beauty of a young black woman is legendary. You can talk to any man on the planet about a woman having a “black woman’s figure,” and he would know exactly what you mean. But that is when she is young. When she gets older, her weight doubles, fatigue sets in, and by 30, she can hardly keep up with herself. Why?

This culture we are claiming is killing us because it was always meant to kill us. Master wanted strong, hardworking slaves, sexualized to breed their replacements, working themselves to death right at retirement. That way no one needed to feed a retired slave.

Today, we blacks are young, strong, highly sexually active and on average die right after retirement, just as it was planned centuries ago. But, it is no longer the plan. No one is instilling a sinister plot to harm black people. We have just failed to cast off or end the slave culture. We still feed our children the slave food, sexualize our youth and support slave training camps called public schools. We accept the rules laid out by the slave system. It is on us. It’s going to be hard to change what momma taught us. There will be social rejection from the tribes when we do – but FREEDOM requires it.

The slave master can no longer take care of your children. The slave master cannot provide slave quarters for you. If you allow him to set your culture, then you will have a slave culture. The slave master is dead, so are all of the slaves he owned. If you want to use your energy to work all of your life just to die at retirement, keep seeking a master over your life. If you are not the master of your own life, you and your children will die in self-imposed slavery and poverty.

We keep hearing about the “black community” as if it has evolved from our shared experiences. But it has evolved from our shared survival. The slave system was not created for the benefit of slaves, but of the slave managers. It was not a civic, political or spiritual system. It was an economic system. Slaves were bred like cattle and treated worst.

So our cultural development came out of the will to survive, not the will to thrive. Unlike other cultures, we did not respond to cultural achievements, business developments, education or civic duties. We did not share and exchange cultural experiences with other cultures. We feared other cultures, developed languages no one could understand and avoided assimilating into the culture we were living in.

Maybe it is time for us to give up the slave culture. Praise our ancestors who suffered through it, become thankful for their sacrifices while in it and stiffen our backs in dedication to taking advantage of what they only hoped for. We owe it to those who feared even to think of the opportunities we now have.

The old culture of servicing must be replaced with a culture of thriving. It has to be us who accomplish this; it cannot be anyone else. It will not be achieved with programs, cliches, marches, protests, demonstrations or demands. And it cannot be achieved through kneeling down or burning down. Neither raised fists nor bowed heads will lift us up.

We need to accept full and complete responsibilities for the condition of our families. If it is not our fault, then we are still slaves. If our children are not protected by us, then they also are slaves.

Our food was designed for us, not by us. We should develop a culture of our own choosing and leave the culture master designed for us. What has it gotten us?

How did we end up begging to be treated better, seeking safe spaces, demanding separation from white people and shivering away from trigger words? If America won’t give you 40 acres and a mule, buy one. If the police are too harsh, then elect another chief. Men should marry and protect women, women that will live for their husbands and children, and those children should be in a safe environment created by the parents.

It is up to us, only us – no one else is capable. All it takes is courage to stand – not in front of the crowd and not in front of the police station in protest. Just stand in front of the mirror.