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My Musings: Economic Matters, American Slavery & Black Wealth, Manufacturing Fear

Greetings friends,

As promised post before last, here are my latest musings from social media, using the new format of sharing a few quick postings rather than one longer piece so that I can spend more time writing fiction. Enjoy!

Talitha, why don’t you discuss economic matters more?

stacks_of_moneySometimes people ask me why I don’t speak out more on matters of the economy. I do, but those aren’t the social media posts that are popular. Most, if not all of our social woes in America, are inextricably bound to the fiscal ones anyway. I talk about fiscal matters to select audiences of people armed with the economic acumen to engage me. All else is a waste of my time. I can’t discuss the post-jobs economy, the ponzi scheme we affectionately call  Social “Security” quanitative easing, nor the mounting federal debt with people who retort with anecdotes, about their buying power, when the lack of wealth of certain groups in America is discussed. This usually comes from those whose cultural egos bruise easily, especially when our lack of wealth is pointed out by the likes of Donald Trump if I’m polite, any white person if I’m not. Many prefer that our fiscal, community, dirty laundry not be aired, and for some it’s a futile attempt to prove that race related poverty is mostly a myth. “I can keep up with the Jones’,” many insist. The keyword is “I”, which is irrelevant to the topic of what “we” can do, or have. Fortunately for me, I’m under no such delusion. An economic discussion is a moot one, when had with those who believe wealth can be measured by consumerism. This is America, where living beyond one’s means is the norm, and where many poor citizens spend frivolously, while many among the wealthy are frugal. We’ve got it all backwards folks, so one’s ability to consume has no place in an analysis of collective wealth. Some are asking me to discuss the blue sky, even though they’re stubbornly convinced that it’s green. Nope, I’m not doing that anymore, because it’s impossible to wake up people who are pretending to be asleep. Don’t fret though, such persons will never be alone. There’s always plenty of blissful room in Club Ignorance.

Slavery in America & Black Wealth:

Some Americans grossly underestimate the impact of centuries of chattel slavery in this shacklescountry on black folks, in terms of the lack of wealth as a whole. And before someone says “Africans sold other Africans into slavery,” or, “There were black/Native-American slave owners too,” “White people were chattel slaves too,” (utter nonsense, btw), or, “Look at immigrant group X and emulate them,”- note that these are all irrelevant, red herrings. Let your fingertips take you away from this discussion – this one’s for conscious grown-ups, not childish, talking point spouting, keyboard commandos. Everyone else, as my friend & mentor Steven Barnes (NY Times bestselling author of LION’S BLOOD & ZULU HEART) said to me a few years ago – “There’s no such thing as a wound that takes less time to heal than it took to inflict,”. Using those excuses, is like breaking the legs of one man in a race, then shooting the gun in the air for everyone to begin running. After the race & his obvious loss, the winners ask him, “Now why is it taking you so long to start running?”.

If you think that other groups, under identical conditions, would have fared better, you’re a part of the problem. If we believe that there’s no such thing as race, and it’s just a social construct, any other conclusions drawn point to a belief in the inferiority of black Americans, or Native Americans, who aren’t doing so well either. There’s no escaping that. For those who often ask me, “What can we do to help?”, you can start by acknowledging our humanity. When some did have wealth long ago – land (40 acres & a mule), economic prosperity (Black Wallstreet) or, were entrepreneurs (black owned businesses in the Jim Crow south) this was forcibly & violently taken from far too many. That’s not our fault, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m weary of the whole “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” rhetoric hurled at black Americans. We did that, and were re-victimized many times over LEGALLY. It’s still happening on some level today via the judicial system. Do some of us gain economic prosperity despite this? Absolutely! but that’s not the point. Individual triumphs are anecdotal, nothing more or less. Collective ones, however, are an indication of economic stability, which is needed to have & maintain generational wealth. That should be the goal. That is our inherited disadvantage.

And last:

Manufacturing Fear: Hillary Clinton as POTUS & ISIS

isisI’m going to preface this by saying that this is more or less food for thought that requires some level of objectivity. In a recent discussion, a friend brought up his committment to vote for Donald Trump, because he thinks having a female president will open the door for more terrorist attacks from radical, Islamic jihadists. His logic and that of others, is that a woman as POTUS will give the appearance of weakness exceedingly more, from members of a culture & religion, in which women are totally subjugated & have very little freedom.This is within the context of an extremist, radical, Islamic microcosm, to be differentiated from the greater, non-radicalized Islamic culture. Obviously, all Muslims are not radicalized, and I don’t mind going further to say that most aren’t. My intuition initially says yes, they could view America as vulnerable with a woman at the helm, but that’s not reason enough for us to not elect a woman in any election. In fact, that line of reasoning is preposterous. Moreover, America may be embarking on its first female president, but we aren’t the first such country – that logic is lacking in precedents to buttress it. Having a female president may be perceived as a weakness by ISIS, and perhaps even domestic terrorists, but this can be advantageous in our battle against terrorism. Perception often doesn’t match reality. Doesn’t it benefit us to be falsely perceived as weaker? I’m not a fan of Clinton for a myriad of reasons, but this isn’t one of them. It can’t be. It’s a provocative assertion, and not altogether flawed, but it seems to me its more of a fear tactic than a cohesive, valid argument. Maybe I’m just not paranoid.Your thoughts?

Have a safe & productive weekend! Until next musing,

TK McEachin

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