06 April 2012

Today's Thoughts on Economic Power in the African-American Community

In a discussion about who had things worse between Blacks and Jews, I attempted to divert the issue from discussing old suffering to present economic power. I just saw no value or purpose in focusing on the negative. In doing so, I simply stated, "The best any of us could ever do is be conscious and respectful of the other's pain and suffering and tend to our own gardens." In the midst of the conversation, a gentleman asked me by "tending to our own gardens," was I "speaking on an individual basis or as a race?"

My answer to his question was BOTH. We must tend to our own individual gardens and then as a community help one another. It's really a simple principle that you've known and encountered for years ... "What good are you to anyone else if you're of no good use to yourself?" When you get on a plane what are the instructions the flight attendant gives you? ... "If you are traveling with a child or elderly person in your care, place your oxygen mask on yourself AND THEN on the person you're with."

Jews (and just about every other successful ethnic group besides ours) have gotten themselves to the point where they support one another as a community, but the individuals tend to their own gardens by creating valuable products & services for their communities. This creates a virtually never-ending REvenue Cycle.  I capitalized the "RE" & the word "Cycle" because the dollars in those communities tend to "RECYCLE" within those communities several times over before leaving those communities. This is why you have your "Little Italy's, China Towns, Korea Towns," and my (middle to upper middle class suburban) town has a section called "Little India" which on any given evening and ESPECIALLY on Friday through Sunday evenings look like New York's 42nd Street. All the while on those same evenings the predominantly white downtown "Main Street" is all but dead.

If the economic power of the African-American dollar were that of a country, as a people we'd be the 16th wealthiest country in the world. The number of African American incomes reaching over $75K has grown over 64%. Finally, the economic power of the African American dollar is slated to be worth over $1.1 TRILLION dollars by 2015.*

However, that money does jack piss FOR the African American community because The African American dollar is too busy funding OTHER communities. So ... While we might be getting better at tending to our own gardens on the one hand, the reason why we - African Americans as a people are not where we should be is because we tremendously fail on the other.

(*Source: "The State of the African American Consumer" Reoprt (2010) NEILSEN)

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