BusinessColumnistsOp-EdOpinionWilliam Reed

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: How Much Do Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter says that in America, “Every twenty-eight hours a Black is murdered by police or vigilante law.” For saying that, everyone considers BLM “gangster.” In actuality, BLM is an American activist movement that seeks though social media to cause a national conversation around issues affecting America’s Blacks regarding police brutality, economic injustice, and racial inequality.

In reality, some see BLM as no more than a cliché put forth by African-Americans convinced that their existence depends on gaining the support, recognition and approval of whites — whom they view as powerful, superior beings that control their destinies. The BLM movement uses rude and crude tactics to establish its image and presence in a social structure that refuses to see it or its worth. The truth is BLM’s “in your face” tactics will do little to achieve equity for Blacks across America. Ultimately, African-Americans must create a combined character, which is based not on the acceptance of Whites, but on our own collective economic and political power.

BLM can’t do anything economically productive that Blacks can’t do ourselves collectively. The answer to Blacks’ economic woes is in our own hands and control. Before we expect social equity through BLM, we each need to account for our actions in American commerce. The simple capitalistic solution to Black Americans’ economics is to place our money and assets in banks owned by other Blacks. Third-generation Black banker B. Doyle Mitchell said, “If Blacks used their assets strategically, they’d be as rich as other groups in America.” BLM can undo wrongs and bring justice to the world but can’t overcome Blacks’ dysfunctional behaviors.

Structural racism is an array of historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal dynamics that routinely provide advantage to Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. The greatest challenge facing African-Americans is increasing wealth. To create affluence, Blacks must recycle their dollars by supporting Blacks’ banks and businesses and creating more. Blacks who have a checking or savings account should bust a move to transfer some or all of that money to a Black-owned bank.

When it comes to wealth building, Blacks do little on our own that shows Black lives matter to us. When it comes to increasing our economics, our status is a result of self-inflicted wounds illustrated by our mass failure to invest in ourselves. Too often Blacks attribute limited access to capital to racism. The real reason for Blacks’ limited access to capital is our tendency to spend our capital outside where we live as fast as we get it. African-Americans have $1.3 trillion in collective buying power, but little of that money stays in Black communities or is spent with Black-owned businesses. Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for 30 days, in Jewish communities 20 days and in White communities 17 days. A dollar circulates in the Black community just six hours.

Banks are communities’ most important institutions. They circulate money in the communities they serve, loaning money to people and businesses to help them expand and create jobs. Although 13 percent of the U.S. population is African-American, only 24 of U.S. banks are Black-owned. Asian-Americans, who made up just 5.1 percent of the total U.S. population, own 40 banks nationwide. Blacks have trillions of dollars in spending power; however, most Black banks struggle to get Blacks to make deposits there. Instead of trying to get Whites to pay attention to them, BLM activists need to start conversations about Black banks’ common cause with their communities.

It’s time to reverse economic trends in America, where Blacks have been perennial “victims,” likelier to lack jobs, be poor, get arrested and serve time in prison. It’s time Blacks realized that the solution for out plight in America will not come from Whites but from within. Wealth in America is accumulated through the practice of successful capitalism. The key for the mass of Blacks to become “successful capitalists” is embracing and employing a well-coordinated political, cultural and economic group pressure that encompasses wealth creation, financial literacy and community development.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and is 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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