Integration or Separation?

I’m still reading the book PowerNomics by Claud Anderson, Ed.D.  In chapter two, the author shares an incident in which a southern white man expresses confusion over what black people want – integration or separation. The man said, Martin Luther King Jr. wanted integration; Malcolm X wanted separation. So, what do black people want?

First of all, this makes as much sense as asking “What do white people want?” Which white people?  Likewise, black people are people. We have different opinions. Just as we don’t all look alike, we don’t all think alike. To assume anything else hints at ignorance, if not actual racism.

Secondly, as the author replied to the gentleman, would he ask this of any other group? What do Jews want? Gays? Women? The answer is we want to decide for ourselves where we live, where we can go, and what we’re able to do, just like any other group. Jews have their own neighborhoods, businesses, and religious organizations, but they are also fully integrated into the larger society. We want the choice to integrate or not, just as anyone else would. But, in my opinion, a better question is – is one of these two options better for us in the long run? Should we shun the majority culture as it has shunned us? Or should we simply take on the majority culture as our own and keep trying to fit in? Even if this were desirable, is it even possible, given persistent white hostility and violence?

Again, I would say that the most important thing is freedom to choose. But, in order to grow and evolve as a people, we need more group cohesion. And cohesion is probably best fostered through voluntary separation. Racism/White Supremacy is the very air we breathe in this country, and internationally, so it is small wonder that even some black people have bought into their own inferiority. Some black people shun other black people or refuse to support black-owned businesses. It is a sickness that needs healing. And that healing is going to have to come from us. The majority culture will not and cannot help us with this.

In PowerNomics, Anderson proposes “ethno-aggregation” as one of the solutions to building up the black community economically. He advocates for black people willingly living in our own self-sustaining communities, supporting our own businesses, as a way of pooling our resources and healing ourselves as a community. Supporting one another, while also interacting freely with the majority society, is the pathway to independence and interdependence.

Peace and Love,

Raven

Black Economics

This week, on the Black Space L.A. Facebook page, we talked about how to potentially become black billionaires, based on the advice of Robert F. Smith who was featured on the cover of Forbes magazine in 2015. We talked about black people homeschooling their children, often at a great economic sacrifice, for various reasons, including concerns about racist teachers and/or inadequate neighborhood schools. I mentioned the importance of a healthy lifestyle as an example to our children, and the beautiful freedom of wearing my natural hair.

Heading into this week, I want to focus on black economics. I’ve started reading the book PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America, by Claud Anderson, Ed.D at the recommendation of Dr. Boyce Watkins, founder of The Black Business School and several other programs. Although I’ve never been one to care too much about money, economic autonomy (not just wealth) is intimately related to freedom of all kinds. And I have always wanted to work independently. The idea of being free from rigid, imposing schedules, office politics, casual workplace racism, and having to run the gauntlet of the hiring process is infinitely attractive to me. Plus, the more economic power we wield in support of our own communities, the better off we will be collectively.

Although American mythology touts the supremacy of the individual, that is not the case in practice. America’s wealth was built upon the deliberate exclusion of certain groups of people in order to enrich another group of people. These people, the ruling class, acted collectively to support their own people, but they did so at the expense and suffering of all other peoples. What I am proposing is not that we imitate such amoral, barbaric behavior, but that we simply support our own cause. I suggest that we work on strengthening our families economically so that we will not be at the mercy of a callous and moral-free ruling class.

As individuals, we can start small, perhaps with an automatic transfer of a tiny amount into a savings account. We can support Black-owned institutions such as Broadway Federal bank in Inglewood, CA. We can chisel our way out of debt so that we will not be at the behest of the credit card companies. We can opt for practical forms of education like technical schools or local state schools, instead of relying on student loans for fancy degrees – which may or may not ever pay off in terms of future salaries.

I hope to share here what I learn from the book and brainstorm how to implement whatever changes I need to make in my economic practices. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but change starts with the first step. I hope you’ll join me in this journey. If you want to read along, in addition to the link above, the book may be available in your local library, which is where I picked it up. Let’s learn together!

Stay strong…

Peace and love,

Raven

Welcome to Black Space L.A.

I started Black Space L.A. for a number of reasons. Primarily, I felt the need to have a safe space to discuss issues of race with people who are the most affected by racism in this country – Africans, African-Americans, and their descendants.

Now that the tentacles of discrimination are starting to boldly reach out for other groups – including Muslims, immigrants, Jews, homosexuals, transgender individuals, and even women – it can seem, at first glance, that all these groups and their issues are the same. I do not believe this is the case.

Despite Ben Carson’s misguided rhetoric, African-Americans are, for the most part, NOT immigrants. Our ancestors did not choose to come here to pursue the American Dream. They were forced to build this nation, without fair and just compensation, and were then – and continue to be – shut out, disrespected, robbed, misrepresented, brutalized, lied about, and lied to. I posit that each group has its own fight. We can work together in coalitions over certain issues. But, for the most part, the black struggle is unique and it is the focus of my own passion and concern.

So, I hope to use this blog to incite dialog and action. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter and comment if there are any topics in particular you wish to discuss.

But, regardless of what is happening on this earth, we are a dazzling people possessed of beauty, intelligence, grace, resilience, a rich culture, and an enormous amount of talent. We also have a bright future – IF we close ranks and strengthen ourselves from the inside, Together.

Peace and love,

Raven

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