By Michael Cadet
Protest, property damage, anger, frustration, and hopelessness sum up the events that took place in Ferguson, Mo and numerous cities across America. This blog was created to discuss all financial matters and the heart of this issue of police brutality and injustice is simple: economics. Black America is in an economic war.
Today instead of recommending a life insurance policy or quoting new 401k limits, I would like to address the state of Black Americans and explain the current economic condition, the events that helped shape the current condition, and how to change it.
Let’s first begin with the facts. Black Americans make up 13% of the American population. That’s roughly 43 million black people. We’re the second largest minority behind Latinos. Together Black Americans have roughly $1.1 trillion dollars in spending power, but ironically have the lowest economic base out of all ethnic groups. One could easily say ‘if Black Americans would just stop selling drugs to each other and killing themselves and educate themselves to become productive citizens they wouldn’t be in this economic turmoil in the first place’.
So why are Black Americans in such economic turmoil? To answer that, one must know their history dating backing back to the early 20th century in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa was home to one of America’s most successful and wealthiest black communities which was coined “Black Wall Street”. Between approximately 1907 and 1921, this community was the epicenter of black enfranchisement. I point this fact out as proof that Black Americans did in fact have their own communities that thrived and were successful, unlike our current black communities.
When Tulsa became a thriving and well respected town in the United States, many white residents and business owners of the same area referred to the predominately black area of Tulsa as a separate city instead of one unified city, referring to the town as “Little Africa” and other derogatory names. This black community was home to about 10,000 black men, women and children and later acquired the name “Greenwood” until the 1921 Race Riots.
The 1921 race riots is a perfect example of how black advancement has been sabotaged. One of America’s worst acts of racial violence began in late May 1921 when 35 square blocks of residences and businesses were torched by mobs of angry white people.
The riot began because of the alleged assault of a white elevator operator, 17- year old Sarah Page, by a Black American shoe shiner, 19-year old Dick Rowland. The case against Rowland was ultimately dismissed, but the Tulsa Tribune published the alleged story on May 31st 1921. Quickly after the story was published, word broke out that there was going to be a white lynch mob out to kill Dick Rowland.
According to reports, a group of armed white men gathered around the jail where Rowland was being held and were met by an opposing group of Black Americans to protect Rowland. An argument ensued in which one of the members of the mob tried to take a gun from a black man, which caused the gun to be fired into the air. This caused both groups to start heavy firing of weapons which was followed by tragic violence. “Black Wall Street” was burned to the ground.
Troops were deployed June 1, unfortunately it was too late. Over 600 businesses had been burned to the ground including 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, 2 movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even the bus system. Note the entire state had two airports, yet six blacks owned their own planes. Remarkable.
I share this story to show how black communities thrived and have had the capabilities to advance but have been sabotaged by outside forces. The soil which Black Americans have been given to grow and nurture themselves has been poisoned with hate and sabotage. Drugs and guns were introduced into South Central L.A. in 1980. Now you tell me how young Black Americans in South Central L.A. imported crack-cocaine into their own neighborhoods without outside help?
History continues to show us that sabotage is at the root of the disparaging economic class of black citizens in America. They have been funneled down a tube of social paralyzation. So how does black America uproot themselves from the sinking soil of social injustice? By practicing group economics. I will follow up with an article on group economics; for now just allow this history to sink in to understand the conditions that have created a poor class of people.
Not every white person is racist and not every police officer is abusive of power. Our country has deep rooted issues that we all have struggled with throughout our history. The aim is to live together harmoniously and respect each other. It is imperative we find a way to coexist and together we can accomplish great things, but until we learn to co-exist without hating and having preconceived notion of one another we will stay stuck in a place of confusion, frustration and violence. Brothas and sistas of the human race, make your next move the best move.