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Wealth And Consumerism, Black Folks Need to “Get Over” Slavery

Greetings Friends!

I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s solar eclipse! I did, but my mind was also churning with what I wanted to share this week. Let’s get right into it:

Wealth & Consumerism

Anytime someone brings up consumerism in a economic discussion, as evidence of black wealth, and/or to disprove the so-called “myth of racial wealth gap”, you’re wasting your time with someone who is fiscally illiterate. If you think the ability to buy expensive stuff proves wealth in and of itself, you’re probably a person who is either wealthy & out of touch, or poor and living way beyond your means. My patience is growing thin in either scenario. This is why entertainers paid to endorse & peddle products to the poor shouldn’t be revered for doing so. As part of the problem, they have no business telling you which liquor you should drink, pre-paid Visa to get, or which headphones to buy. You can’t claim to be about empowering the masses of black folks to “do for self,” if you’re the spokesperson of excessive consumerism. Nope. Not gonna let them off that easy. It’s the blind leading the blind, and insisting that they can see. Ironically, the claims from such celebrities are false anyway. These aren’t products they created themselves, they are paid endorsers if I’m polite, pimps if I’m not. Ridiculous. I’ll take “stop insulting my intelligence” for $200 Alex…

Black America Needs To Get Over Slavery

I wanted to share a point made by a FB friend. Whenever someone tells me black people need to “get over it” (slavery), I’m still taken aback by their profound, ignorant deflection. It’s a way of ignoring the century (and beyond) of legal discrimination, murders/lynchings, the destruction of black wealth that kept it from being passed down to future generations, and horrific medical experiments/cruelty (Tuskegee, Henrietta Lacks & J. Marion Marion Sims – the latter during slavery) that followed. The Civil Rights Bill was signed just 50 years ago. What do some of you mean, “that was long ago”? Stop that. I’m embarrassed for you:

“The value in the protests and removal of these monuments is not in the removal …but rather the awareness raised that these events took place

Too many people want to make the discussion about slavery because that’s intellectually easy. Very few are willing to discuss 1865-1965″

Yep. He’s absolutely right. Former slaves and their descendants didn’t gain sudden equality when the ink on the Emancipation Proclamation dried. Leaping over this fact is intellectually dishonest. It’s also hypocritical, but what can anyone expect, from folks who are telling black Americans to get over slavery, when they can’t seem to get over the Civil War.

Until next musing,

Talitha McEachin

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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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