Happy New Year from the A Talk With The Community! We would like to thank you for your continued support as we move forward in our discussion of minority businesses, upholding excellence, and concentrating minority wealth.
In this article, I will address wealth accumulation from several perspectives, such as: its root cause, current condition, how minorities shall overcome, and how to get in the race.
Slavery did a terrible psychological, political, and socioeconomic injustice to people of African descent throughout the United States of America and worldwide. Blacks were not able to earn an income, because they were property. Many of the monetary effects are still being experienced today. Those injustices were reinforced by housing discrimination practices such as redlining and racial steering. Those practices devalued many black neighborhoods and their most lucrative assets, their homes; compared to white counterparts.
Furthermore, public policies have historically oppressed African Americans while systematically assuring that whites would flourish. Although “separate, but and equal” was stamped out by Brown v. the Board of Education Topeka, Kansas, we still live in a nation that remains separate and unequal for people of color. It is evermore present in the growth of the income gap between the top one percent and everyone else. Currently, the top one percent holds ninety percent of America’s wealth. That was not the case in the 1960s, 1970s, or the 1980s. Something changed while minority communities were sleeping. Political rhetoric did not meet reality. Elected officials did not fully implement the promises of the New Deal programs, which were actually not designed for blacks. In addition, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or other Great Society programs purpose was to calm the uprisings of the Civil Rights Movement not necessarily for economic advancement of minorities. And, employment discrimination has been an unending overarching narrative in our struggle for economic opportunity. And, whether black Americans want to admit it or not, they lost ground in education and earnings under President Barack Obama.
With all of this combined, African Americans are able to break through the economic glass ceiling. Our history dates back to Mansa Musa returning from his hajj in Mecca with a net worth equivalent to four hundred billion dollars, Folrunsho Alakija, Nigerian oil and fashion tycoon; has a net worth of two billion dollars, Aliko Dangote, Nigerian trader and manufacturing expert; net worth of over twelve billion, and Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor and television show host; has a net worth of over three billion. These individuals are living proof that blacks can shatter the historical and racial barriers to wealth creation.
The current situation does not determine one’s final destination. It is going to take a serious and concerted force to pull blacks out of this economic condition. The message of wealth accumulation is going to have to be taught by parents and in the pulpit, in schools and in the streets, and from womb to tomb. This message has to convict one’s conscience.
It is going to take a collective to correct it. It is going to take members of the black one percent and others to jump on the bandwagon to preach, teach, and mentor about wealth and do more than “living comfortable.”
It starts with taking out insurance. Life, health, automobile, and homeowners/renter’s insurance are essential to pay for unforeseen events. When devastation hits, it comes hard and has a domino effect. Even the minimum amount of coverage goes a long way when it is needed.
Secondly, educational attainment is mandatory. It is going to take more than a high school diploma to have a decent quality of life in this country. It is expensive to live in America. Education is the fastest way to pull oneself up the socioeconomic ladder. I get so tired of hearing educators and professionals, primarily African American ones, say, “College is not for everybody,” or “It is not necessary to go to college.” But, they have post-secondary education. The proof is in the pudding. If college is not for everybody, why did they go? Why did they not dropout? Obviously, they were successful in it. Obviously, they received some knowledge, skills, and tools that set them apart. Obviously, upon completion of their degree, they gained access and opportunity that landed them in the middle class. So, I do not accept that malarkey. At the bare minimum, encourage members of your family and friends to take courses at a local community college that resonate with a career path the she or he seeks to pursue. Hopefully, those courses will spark an entrepreneurial spirit in them. As a result, they will be employed and empowered.
Thirdly, people must be taught and retaught about the importance of credit and lending. Credit is a good thing. Just like anything else, it comes with responsibility. When establishing credit, interest rates will be high, because of the risks associated with extending a loan. Over time and with positive payment history, it will improve. We must reduce the fears and dispel the myths stated about credit.
Fourthly, reducing frivolous spending. In my opinion, this is most difficult to tackle. Consumers have the capability to spend money every day! Recently, I listened to a report on National Public Radio (NPR). The three commentators discussed a one year no spending challenge. They purchased only the goods or services that they needed (i.e., food, housing, utilities, and transportation). They expressed the pain and anxiety they experienced initially not spending money. They stated how difficult it was wearing the same clothes over and over, expending all food in the house before buying more groceries, and simply not looking for things to purchase (including online). In turn, they deposited the money in a savings account or invested it in other high yield financial products. We live in a nation that is so driven by consumption that is overtakes our psyche. We must reel that in and think how instant gratification and self-esteem boosts from shopping is impacting us. The working poor and members of the middle class are the chief spenders and lenders in the United States of America, but have the least amount of economic power!
We shall overcome this. One must become a better steward of one’s dollars. It can be done by investing in one another, buying black and circulating one's dollars in one’s community several times before they exit. Minorities ought to preach, teach, and reteach one another about proper financial management from the womb to the tomb. And, one must get in the race by means of ownership. It can be done by saving, entering the money market, owning stocks and bonds, obtaining a mutual fund or certificate of deposit, and monitoring one's credit for starters. It is our race to win. So, let us start winning in 2018!