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!
Peace and love,