The Black Community Suffers from a Massive Economic Structural Deficit – Part 4, 5/2/2017

The Black community is being crippled at every level due to its current state of economic affairs and it represents the biggest challenge to a positive future for Black America (it’s the new enemy).  No matter how you measure economics in America between white and Black people, you will conclude that the Black community is woefully behind in every aspect and the disparities are more like canyons than gaps because of a nearly 30-50 point differential, which contributes to the economic structural deficit.  

Unfortunately, this reality is magnified and becomes even more challenging because too many Black leaders and Black opinion-makers have been tricked into believing (brainwashed or programmed – you pick one) that these economic disparities don’t really matter that much and the real enemy of the Black man is the Black man (internal).  The oppressors have succeeded in getting the victim (Black community) to believe that they are the culprit.

Obviously, I totally and wholeheartedly disagree that Black people are the culprits (internal) and believe that no matter how much we focus internally, unless the Black community gets a better share of the economic pie than we have had historically, it doesn’t matter what we do internally. We must come to acknowledge that we suffer from a massive economic structural deficit.  

I do believe that we should do all we can to fix the internal socio-economic issues that plague us (i.e. demise of the Black family; Black on Black crime; Black economic boycott, erosion of the Black culture, etc.), but we can’t let America and all of its business sectors off the hook for the astounding damage that they have caused to our community (economic, social, psychological, emotional, etc.) from nearly 500 years of severe oppression.  While we’re no longer in physical and legal chains, racism is still alive and prevalent and now hides behind the “status quo” buried within existing laws, policies, and behaviors that look to be race neutral, but are anything but.  Most existing public and private policies and behaviors have had alarming and negative impacts on the Black community as a whole; this is a structural problem.

When I use the term “structural,” what I mean is that the Black economic deficit is “baked” into the American infrastructure and all of its systems and institutions, as well as the general beliefs and behaviors of many of the caretakers of those institutions, be they Black or White (it really doesn’t matter).  If you were to poll many white people in leadership today, the overwhelming majority believe that the Black community is where it is because of the Black community’s own inferiority. They don’t believe that Blacks have been victimized.  In fact, they also wouldn’t acknowledge that anything was done to the Black community nor would they acknowledge that they have benefitted from their whiteness. This is truly amazing.  

In fact, it’s much worse because the gains made by Blacks in the 60s and 70s have produced the election of Donald Trump; Black backlash.  Many white Americans have turned against Blacks and the Black agenda because of the strategies and policies that seem to emphasize benefits to minorities over the past 50 years.  This is extremely misleading for the Black community because the concept of minorities and affirmative action, which was intended to support the Black community, has ballooned to include everyone except white men (i.e. white women, Latinos, Asian, Disabled, Native Americans, veterans, and the LGBT community).

In the 1960s efforts to raise the public’s awareness and conscience about the plight of Black Americans helped to enact Civil Rights legislation.  However, within just 10–15 years after this legislation, the civil rights gains were fully and thoroughly undermined, not just in the expansion of the concept of “minority,” but conservatives were successful in taking the issue of rectifying and addressing the historical and structural issues related to the plight of the Black community (reparations) out of the public forum. The Black community has lost its leverage.  In fact, in response to any reference to the disadvantages that Blacks have compared to whites, white conservatives have coined a new term “playing the race card,” which makes it very difficult to address inequities.  The “myth of Black progress” played easily into the hands of conservative critics of pro-race policies and now we have no leverage.

Contrary to popular belief, the Black community hasn’t progressed economically as many, including the media, would have us to believe.  The reality is that the Black community has regressed economically with the Black community and the Black agenda being relegated to the back burner and other groups who have utilized the “minority” designation have moved ahead of the Black community economically.  We have the highest level of poverty and near poverty; unemployment and underemployment; incarceration of young men; low and no business startups; homeownership; financial loans; and K-12 public education failures. All of these things and more contribute to the structural economic deficit that entraps the Black community.  

These and other factors have created and currently sustain the economic structural deficit.  We all know that the economic issues facing the Black community have not been resolved and the Civil Rights legislation achieved in the 60s was just a start. These legislations needed to be supported and sustained over a number of generations – 10-15 years just didn’t cut it.  Now that the narrative and general opinion of the Black community’s social and economic plight in America (disparities) and the role that America played in creating those horrible conditions has been completely removed, our ability to hold America accountable has greatly diminished. You don’t even hear about the concept of reparations anymore.  

The Black community is currently trapped in an economic problem that can’t/won’t fix itself without America first acknowledging and understanding the historical and structural affects of slavery on the Black community. This isn’t about playing the race card; this is about being honest and truthful.  In addition to this reality, there must be a significant understanding and acceptance of responsibility by the American government and its institutions that it owes the Black community for what it has done.

Finally, any solution to assist the Black community must be seen as an investment, not a social hand out.  Not only should the solution be extensive, but continuous and lasting over several generations. This requires that the Black community unify around one economic voice. Our community must have unity around our economic reality.

Many times when we call for unity amongst our people, we are calling for something that seems unachievable.  Why?  Because, many times the call for unity is an emotional one usually in response to some reactionary outrage (i.e. police killing, adverse court verdict, etc.) and we mobilize for a few days or maybe even a few weeks.  We must come together and establish one voice around the structural economic deficit that will only worsen.

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