(Blog Segment: Economics and Race)
A lovely, highly-intelligent, frustrated Sista sent me a candid message on Facebook® with a poignant question:
"I see you supporting the community and I am an avid supporter of black owned business, but what can we do as a people to become more supportive of our own? It angers me that people say that we don't support our own. I think that it's the split in the black community that causes this; you know, the one between 'niggas' and 'black people.' I am of the opinion that those that think we do nothing for our own haven't been helped by our community. I've been given housing, a job, scholarships, everything by the black community. I spend a lot of my money in the black community and, when I need things, I seek out blacks first. I am of the opinion that those who 'do not,' don't because they are of the opinion that white is right. So yes, Jews do business with their own, but so do blacks, and it's particularly the affluent blacks. There goes that difference again...the 'niggas' don't frequent black business because they rarely are aware of any, and it's not because black business aren't in their area, but because no businesses are in their area. So what are your thoughts on this? I want to work towards rectifying it." ~ Kemisha Roston
That was really straight forward, hard-hitting, no-holds-barred honesty from her. Respect.
My response to her was short and simple.
"You see, the problem with 'our people' is summed up in something educators Robert Neal (R.I.P.) and Corey J. Turner (R.I.P.) said: 'White people are taught to succeed and black people are taught to survive because we're taught that survival is our success.’"
When we're throwing parties because 'Pooky' made it to 21 years of age, there's a reason for that. It's can be a jungle in the black community. It's definitely a jungle in the inner cities as well. Mix the two, and you've got potential canibalism; eat or be eaten. That's the mindset of 'eat or be eaten.' It's about getting YOURS and making sure YOU'RE alright, even if it's at the negative cost of the community.
Hey, screw the community. At least YOU'RE cool though, right?
Unfortunately, that mindset makes us look for anything that can keep US afloat 'right now.' Our lack of early long-term thinking training actually keeps us from making the mental investments we need in order to change the very mentality that is keeping us from making those mental investments.
A self-full-failing prophecy.
Now, that type of mindset does have its perks...well, its 'perk.' The only good thing about that type of mindset is that it makes us more easily adept in dealing with abnormal and extreme adversities; roach-infested homes (still gotta go to work), low-wage job (still gotta go to work), rodent-infested homes (hope they didn't chew through my shoes, 'cause I still gotta go to work), electricity turned off (candles and boiled water on a gas stove), not much food (syrup sandwiches it is, then!), etc., hence why our suicide rate is not at 'troubling' levels in comparison to other races.
...is that the extent of the goodness? Going to work at a job that pays us crap wages, only to come home to an unfulfilling, non-nutritious meal you eat while sitting on the couch, in a place that is infested with roaches and rats, which we can barely see because of lack of sufficient lighting?
Is that to what we have to look forward?
I say nay.
So, "...what can we do as a people to become more supportive of our own"? Two things can be done to rectify the problem:
Still thinking that, if you tried to be supportive of certain businesses, you might get burned?
Yes, there is still a possibility of you getting burned a little when repeatedly running back and forth into the backdraft of business. However, if you can create several lasting business relationships and save multiple minds in the process, then getting a little 'well-done' in the process is definitely worth it.
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