Black men and women in America are able to buy more, but are getting poorer.
How the hell??
The Atlanta-Journal wrote
“Persistent joblessness among African Americans, and its effect on home ownership and wealth building, is raising concerns about about the future of a black middle class that had grown to be a potent economic force in cities like Atlanta.” – African-American middle class gains reversed
Then in The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch, we have the following observation
African-Americans’ buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to The State of the African-American Consumer Report, released today, collaboratively by Nielsen, a leading global provider of insights and analytics into what consumers watch and buy, and The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S. – African-Americans Wield Considerable Consumer Power
So we are buying more, and losing wealth in the process.
Now does this make sense to anyone??
These reports tell us that as Black men and women, WE ARE HEAVILY INVESTED IN THIS ECONOMY, and yet we are not commensurately compensated for that investment during periods of economic expansion, nor are we cushioned during contractions. The answer has less to do with “institutional bias” or subversive economic practices (I bet that’s where you thought I was going with this, huh?)’ and more to do with HOW we spend. This subject has been harpeD upon by pundit after pundit on blog after blog, but apparently the message isn’t being received.
At the risk of me sounding preachy, let’s be real – most of our disposable income is spent on looking good. In my part of Amerikkka, the It’s become a running joke; when it comes to Black men and women, more style often equals less substance. It’s not unusual to see men jumping off the city bus with no job and $200 Jordans on their feet, and the ladies in Chanel are usually the most crass and classless.
We would rather buy a Benz than a stock bond. We would rather buy a Long Island Iced Tea than a mutual fund or CD. And the only skills that are respected and cultivated in our youth are athletic skills.
Meanwhile, kids in India are learning AJAX programming languages in elementary school, Spanish children are learning business basics working in the family bodega/restaurant or lawn care business, and Chinese children are learning how to speak English so they can come over here and SNATCH YOUR CHILDREN’S PLATES.
NO SKILLS = NO JOBS.
Meanwhile, we argue over Mayweather’s sucker punch (and it was a sucker punch, for the record), spend hours on the basketball court and the dance floor, and work hard at keeping our wardrobes in tact. We focus on GETTIN MINE and not on bringing others along with us.
We are earning our place at the back of the line.
Our kids are laughing and dancing their way to the back of the class.
We are complacently working our way into unemployability.
(But yall aint hearin me, tho)
No thought is given to laying an economic foundation down for our grand-children (since it’s already too late in the game for our children). Even less thought is given to building economic blocs or cooperatives that would address our economic malfunction. Whatever capital was earned by freedom fighters of the past (social, political, economic), has been spent. Whatever the glorious achievements of our ancestors, they have been forgotten and squandered.
So what can be done?