Living Together Could Solve Our Problems

Written by Dotun Adebayo,


HAPPY FAMILIES: Black families pooling and living together could make economic sense

WE COULD solve the challenges of the black community overnight if we wanted to you know. That was the conclusion of a lengthy and heated conversation that I had with my daughters’ maths tutor, Stephen Daley.

He had always wanted to be an academic. But growing up in Leeds back in the 1960s and 70s the local kids used to laugh at his aspirations and call him ‘Joke Doctor Daley’. I kid you not.

Back in those days black people were expected to know their place. And our place was in some menial manual labour that didn’t serve us well.

As some of you will know, the black people of Leeds come mainly from St. Kitts. But not ‘Joke Doctor Daley’. He and his family are ‘yardies’ not ‘smallies’ and that was what probably saved him. As he didn’t quite fit into the Kittian community he didn’t follow the leader into the mills of Yorkshire, but reached for the skies instead.

You see, we could solve the issues of black Britons overnight if we simply reached for the skies.

Reaching for the skies takes on many forms of course. It is not simply raising up your hand and grabbing onto a star.

Although there is nothing wrong with hitching your aspirations to a star, you find that most stars nowadays are too busy with the celebrity lifestyle to give you a bly. Even those who you grew up with. It’s like dog eat dog out there, and once one of the mandem break through it’s like they get a taste for dog and they don’t wanna stop nyaming it. If ya get my drift.

So I wouldn’t rely on dem man. Nah, blud. When I say reach for the skies, I’m talking about aim high. And it don’t have to be in an academic way or a philosophical way or even in a vocational way. I’m talking about reaching for the sky in any way you can to improve things.


Economically for example.

It’s only when me and ‘Joke Doctor Daley’ started working out the sums, that I realised, for example, how much money me and my bruvvas could make if we all learned to live with each other and we all moved into one house instead of us all living in our six different houses.

With the price of houses having gone sky high and likewise the cost of rents, if we all bit our tongues and held down our angst about one another and thought, let’s focus on the money honey, ya know how much we could earn between us every month? Well, for me and my five brothers, you’re talking about £20,000 a month. That’s how much we would make if we rented out our homes and just all cotched in my gaff.


Okay, it wouldn’t be easy. We would have to turn the two living rooms downstairs into bedrooms, but we would still have a relatively large kitchen/dining room to chill out in. And, anyway, as we don’t all get on too tough, most of us would want to not spend too much time with each other. Okay we would have to share the kitchen and, in that, we would have to exchange one and two words with each other. But apart from that and having to wait for a shower every now and then, we could all live in one big house together just like our parents did and our grandparents did when all their children and their grandchildren shared one big house either here or back home.

I mean, you can imagine, each couple would still have a bedroom each. All the boy children could share one bedroom (and one big bed if needs be – didn’t we do that when we were growing up) and all the girl children could share one room together. Okay, there are more girls in this generation of the family than there was in our generation so we could give the girl children the big attic room at the top and that should cater for them all.

What I’m saying is, never mind the recriminations and the bad faith, bad blood and the personal animosity, if we could just hold it down and chill we would be earning/saving/making/investing nearly a quarter of a million quid a year. Just by not each having our own place with enough distance between us.

Believe. There’s never been a more lucrative time to be one family.

I know that you think this is a pipe dream, but it wasn’t for our parents’ generation. Nor for their parents’ generation. It was a reality and they didn’t think anything of it. If anything it brought us closer together, those of my cousins who like me all lived at my grandparents’ house in Ibadan, Nigeria when our parents had all gone overseas for their three degrees.

Our grandparents didn’t earn from it. They weren’t doing it for that reason. They were doing it first and foremost because they were our grandparents and would do anything for their children and their children’s children. And, anyway, which grandparent would not want all their grandchildren to live with them? But they were also doing it so that they could relieve our parents (their sons and daughter) of the domestic and financial burden of looking after the kids or sending them to boarding school or whatever else options there were whilst our mums and dads were abroad.

Okay, I hear you say, that was that idealistic generation. This generation couldn’t live like that.

Why not I wonder. For a quarter of a million quid we would be nuts not to live like that. Surely the financial incentive will suffice.

Didn’t many Asians in Britain once live like that, as one big huge extended family, so that they could pool their resources and invest in the corner shop or whichever business they went on to start and, in so doing, became a nation of not shopkeepers but entrepreneurs?


And don’t the new immigrants from the EU do that? Isn’t that why so many British people voted for the Brexit so that they could kick out Polish builders who were living 20 people in a two up two down terraced house?

So if them, why not us? It would solve all our financial problems. We could pay off all our debts and our mortgage and our bank overdrafts by living on top of one another – as a family.

Like I say, we could solve all the problems of the black community overnight. All it takes is the mentality and the mindset.

If you don’t believe me, ask ‘Joke Doctor Daley’. He’s worked out the mathematics.

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