OK, ok, maybe I am a little optimistic about the power of Black money.I guess when you were raised, as I was, watching your father work two jobs for 8 years so that his kids could receive a good education provided by Brooklyn’s finest public school teachers (Shout out to P.S. 139 and P.S. 188!), you tend to want to dream a little bit.
OK, ok, maybe I am a little optimistic about the power of Black money. I guess when you were raised, as I was, watching your father work two jobs for 8 years so that his kids could receive a good education provided by Brooklyn’s finest public school teachers (Shout out to P.S. 139 and P.S. 188!), you tend to want to dream a little bit. I am reading a book right now called “The Jewish Phenomenon”. I am not mentioning this book to endorse the author. I mention it because, in all honesty, the Jews have a lot in common with Black people. There were attempts to extinguish them as a people. They share a rich cultural heritage. You know, all the stuff that sociologists drool over. But there is one stark difference between Jews and Blacks. Jews have tons more money than we do. The Holocaust occurred in the middle of the century and they are right back on top again. They are extremely influential in Hollywood, banking, education, and other venues, but they only make up a small fraction of the population. How did this happen? I am not going to go into all of that in this article, but I would like for you to think about something. When I read statistics about the collective wealth of African-Americans, in comparison to other people groups, I am on the verge of tears. Not those tears that come because you’re sad. No, these are the kind of tears that come from pure frustration. Why the frustration, you may ask? It’s because there is nothing worse than untapped potential. It like a poor farmer who plows his little field every day with a few vegetables and he hopes and prays that he can sell them all at the local market for a decent profit. Meanwhile, he doesn’t know that his land contains rich oil just a few feet below waiting for someone to discover it. Someone who won’t keep looking OUT, to sell or plow, or UP, and hoping that someone will reach a hand down and help them.But DOWN, and discover that you are walking ON, PAST and OVER the very substance that could propel you past your current struggle. What is it that we may be overlooking when it comes to our financial destiny? As a people, we have to start asking AND answering these questions if we are going to move forward.Do you know that the term,’ghetto’ was originally used to describe Jewish settlements located throughout NY City? The Jews that arrived, began living in these small cramped areas and did the bestin the surroundings they were somewhat forced to live in. Now, when a person says theword ‘ghetto’, immediately images of Black and Latino dudes wearing pants 8 times theirsize and teenage girls names Laqeesha pushing strollers come to mind. The problem is,too many of us haven’t moved from that place. I mean, there is commerce going on in the ghetto, fo sho’! I grew up with a guy who was, let’s say- a pharmaceuticl rep, because he sure supplied people in the neighborhood their drugs! These guys understood supply and demand, marketing, distribution, competition and pricing strategies. The only thing is, they learned it at night, on the corner, and with a gun in their waist. Black people know about money, but somehow, the collective power of that knowledge hasn’t really surfaced. I am learning that the ghetto could again, become a powerful place. We could develop a plan to revitalize our own neighborhoods, and maybe even start our own schools. Why not? Other groups have done it? At this point, some of you are saying, “That’s real motivational. Is this the part when R. Kelly comes out and sings, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’?” No, my friend, this is the part where you start getting frustrated too and maybe even well up with some tears and become a solution to the problem we have in our community.