In this Sept. 24, 2013 file photo, a sheet of uncut $100 bills is inspected during the printing process at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

“It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism” — Malcolm X

It’s time that African-Americans got it right. Across America, the name of the game is “capitalism.” Other ethnic groups grasp the fact that in America the rules of the game are competition and maintaining private property. The capitalistic system is based on recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

Take note: capitalism is “an economic and political system in which trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” “Perfect competition” is the economic system where market forces — supply and demand— dictate all things. Capitalism and socialism are different political, economic, and social systems. The United States is usually considered a prime example of capitalism; whereas Sweden is usually considered socialist.

There is no question that America is a racist country. It is separate and unequal. But is capitalism the culprit? Or is it how we use and apply capitalism? Many African-Americans still associate capitalism with segregation and Jim Crow and misreading of it by people such as Malcolm X and Manning Marable (“How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America”). The record shows that the current generation of African-Americans hasn’t the slightest perception of capitalism and how it works. They all contend “capitalism is black Americans’ greatest enemy” and that the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans was the foundation of capitalism.

Some deem white dominance and racism as an integral part of American capitalism. But black leaders rarely point out that how we perceive and use capitalism as the problem. Blacks continually illustrate we don’t have a clue about the art of capitalism. Despite five centuries in America, blacks have never forged economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship. Too many blacks subscribe to the notion of racial integration that African-Americans should be able to move and operate in a predominately white society safely. Too many blacks buy into mainstream values and seek to assimilate themselves and their money into white society and institutions.

The majority of African-Americans aren’t able to fathom the fact that Asians keep a dollar in their community 120 times longer than we do. Among African-Americans’ “get a job” mentality, capitalistic rules hardly apply. Blacks account for 7 percent of businesses, even though we are 13 percent of the population. Capitalistic-oriented blacks can foster an environment where more black businesses can thrive. A dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities 20 days and white communities 17 days. But a dollar only circulates among African-Americans six hours.

To naive blacks, integration is leveling barriers. Gullible African-Americans seek to be able to move and operate in predominately white society safely. Racial integration concerned mostly public spaces and private hiring practices.

Capitalism is what other ethnic groups in America engage in successfully, while, at the same time, blacks “play at” mainstream commerce and politics. Black capitalism equals “Black Power” to position blacks as the owners of land, the means of production and businesses. The aim of having blacks collectively participate capitalism bolsters self-reliance — individually and communally.

Money is like blood — it needs to circulate for local economies to survive. More blacks need to build wealth through ownership and development of businesses. Working together is the only way blacks can get our economic and social goals. “Black capitalism” can empower blacks’ progress.

Blacks will never gain parity until we practice and engage in “collective capitalism.” The key to “collective capitalism” is strategic circulation of resources between your kind and kin. Blacks do capitalism right through cooperative efforts of building wealth together. Blacks need to consciously participate in capital exchange and investments. Blacks are recommended to research and read works by black capitalists Claude Anderson and Boyce Watkins.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

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...

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