ColumnistsOp-EdOpinionWilliam Reed

Blacks Must Put Own Needs Before Politicians’

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.

When are blacks going to break the cycle of business as usual? Seemingly, African-Americans have cast their lot for empowerment with politics and the Democratic Party, but what hope and change has taken place for blacks? Unless there is some significant infusion of capital that lifts us (i.e., reparations compensation), the average black household will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as whites if current economic trends continue.

“Business as usual” is blacks continuing to be led off course. To “overcome” America’s wealth gap, blacks have to change out of dysfunctional ways and habits. Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad provided a platform of empowerment that taught individuals and families how to tap into the power within. Many blacks have moved from the margins to the mainstream, but the majority needs some level of NOI-inspirited discipline and dedication.

“The slave master is no longer hindering us, we’re hindering ourselves,” the late Muhammad once said. “Now get something for yourself.”

Move away from “establishment” matters and take personal inventory — the bottom line is that the way blacks act is politically and economically dysfunctional. We can control our lives and destinies by: 1) demanding something tangible in return for our vote; 2) using our political clout to get reparations legislation; 3) putting money into black-owned-and-controlled financial institutions; and 4) supporting and patronizing black-owned businesses.

Blacks have bought into “political empowerment” charlatans and entireties. Too many African-American voters are buying into false promises of representation of our interests. Blacks have captured the highest rung of political offices, but how’s that benefited blacks? Blacks are too awed with having a black POTUS to access the Obama presidency. Recently, lame-duck President Barack Obama told blacks that he’d “consider it a personal insult” if they don’t vote for Hillary. How much do black lives matter to Obama if he is confident enough to cavalierly tell blacks “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot”? What “progress” is Obama talking about? And what exactly what progress can blacks expect from a Hillary presidency?

Whatever happened to political discussions regarding reparations? Record numbers of African-Americans hold elective office, but the policy preferences of black voters remain unlikely to be enacted. Record numbers of blacks are in the Congress why are their constituents not demanding they convene discussions on legislation to bring millions of dollars to black households and organizations.

It’s as if fundamental capitalism escaped blacks. The bank is the most important financial intermediary in the economy. Black-owned banks have a history of helping the needs of the African-American community. Black people have over a trillion dollars in spending power, yet most black banks struggle to get black people to deposit their money in them.

Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups. How many blacks go out of their way to patronize black-owned businesses? African-American buying power is over 1 trillion, yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African-American spends goes to black-owned businesses. A Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management study found that a million jobs could be created if black consumers spent $1 of every $10 at black-owned stores and other enterprises.

When will we cease going to whites calling for economic justice without making demands for reparations due us? Why aren’t we demanding reparations based on the economic ills that happened to our race during and since slavery? Too many blacks are used to being second-class and accepting that level of regard and treatment. We need to stop taking signs and protests to whites expecting them to “wake up” to the fact that racism exists. Contemporary blacks can be reliant on our own powers and resources. And, if we want to make sure black lives matter, we should remedy ourselves first.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

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William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed has a national reputation for his expert writing, speaking, organizational, research, management and motivation abilities, along with strong managerial, presentation and sales skills.

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