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Black community & The Economy

26 Jul

Interesting exchange today, on the Facebook page of my friend Yvette Carnell’s. One of her passions as a writer/commentator (she’s basically a left-wing version of me, for the sake of brevity), is black America’s economic problems (the lack of collective wealth due to historical disparities for far too many generations). In short, our past has had a lasting economic impact on today. I think we still have time to save the future, though none of us alive will see it, unless a fountain of youth is found. That’s cuz’ of what my big brother & writer Steven Barnes said – “There’s no such thing as a wound, that takes less time to heal than it took to conflict.” That’s a minimum of 400 years. If you can’t grasp that, accusations of black people being shiftless, lazy & too slow to “get over it” are profoundly inappropriate, if I’m polite. Racist if I’m not.

“Our economic woes as a community, are our fault alone,” some insist. But we’re all humans, right? Isn’t that the battle cry for the #ALM crew? The physical differences are just our inheritance from our ancestors, whose survival in their environment meant having dark skin. The same is true for whites whose ancestors had to survive the cold. The stuff inside is the same. What Ben Carson said. But I’m derailing my own post a bit.

Let me harmonize these statements. With the unique, historical cards we were dealt, I don’t see how anyone can argue, that discussions of slavery are irrelevant to economic ones. Yet I’ve heard them too many times. Slavery discussions are fundamentally economic. This is exacerbated by centuries of head starts others had. I’m tired of these faulty, racial comparisons, and anecdotes, use by some to thinly veil their contempt. The discussion on Yvette’s page started off, with an erudite article about the definition of socialism. Discussions of capitalism inevitably are brought up whenever socialism is. It’s a philosophical piggyback ride in fact. Capitalism is evil, capitalism liberates. My approach opposes both schools of thought on some level, because neither has ever been fully successful. I’m all about precedents, and trailblazing approaches. What is America to do then?

But back to that post in question, a commenter, after the evils of capitalism were presented said, “Capitalism worked for Black Wall Street,” – I agreed. He’s right, but the elephant in the room is that this is anecdotal. Hmm. There are nearly 43 million of us now folks. When at least over half of that number benefits generationally from capitalism, I’ll bite. Until then, leave flippant remarks like “catch up with the rest of us,” and anecdotes at the door. Yvette is justified in focusing on economic growth (or the lack of it). You’re not an ally of either one of us.

Til’ next musing,

Talitha McEachin

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