By Greg Thrasher
Washington DC Bureau Chief
Voice of Detroit
September 7, 2012
According to the latest studies and mainstream media accounts which populate the chatter rooms and the evening news, the narrative is how broke and poor the Black community is after the financial meltdown of 2008.
In the recent Pew Study on this topic it was documented that white families on average have 27 times more wealth than the average Black family. This gap of course increased after the financial meltdown. The core reason for this wealth gap is the loss of home ownership that Black families have suffered from as a result of this economic turbulence.
Black income has never reached parity at any time in the history of our nation so this latest scorecard really reflects the economic disparity between the whites and Blacks in America.
One of the really ugly aspects of this loss of wealth in our community is the fact this plunge in assets and wealth has taken place under the tenure of the country’s first Black president. This stings on many levels and this very fact is often employed to fuel divisive attacks and indictment of our president by his critics and those who enjoy observing misery and difficulty in the Black community.
So into this landscape of economic duress and fragile financial status it is critical that we develop a collective posture and strategy to confront yet another obstacle and challenge in being Black in America. I opine and reason that instead of evaluating and viewing our worth and value based upon the metrics of money and status the Black community must now develop a new equation and template to measure and value our wealth. We must create a more pragmatic reference and base line to value and appraise our assets and wealth.
In other words we must conduct an inventory of our human and personal assets and insert these assets into the marketplace. We must increase our personal relationships with each other, we must volunteer, donate, share, contribute, loan, convey, transfer, and use are existing assets that we took for granted and give them new a new purpose and status.
When we create an exchange system based upon the utility of the items we bargain and negotiate such a system augments our collective and individual wealth.
We can create and develop a new currency based upon an exchange of our existing material assets and wealth and blend and merged these units of wealth into a community collective with a theme which is underwritten by sharing and relationships rather than profit and budgets based upon money and traditional wealth.
In truth we really have no choice. Our communities are broke and in fiscal disarray. Far too many Black families are on financial life support. Entire families are now being fed by non-profits and food programs and housed in shelters, facing foreclosures, holding part time jobs, and have exhausted 401(k) plans which have reached their limits. We are in a crisis but there is a way forward.
Today we can begin to ignore our pride and start contacting family and friends and create pools of shared assets and wealth, from car- pooling to offering up empty bedrooms for families living in shelters. We can share coupons, old furniture, clothes and household wares.
In reality we are a rich community full of assets and materials that we take for granted . In the new era of economics our community can become rich with the recognition of our present assets by taking an inventory of the material assets we all have in our homes and families that are under-utilized.
We have so much wealth in our communities that simply needs to be inventoried and then made operational. Instead of pawn shops and consignment shops run by major non -profits we can use these retail models as community base depots to feed our poor and hungry for free.
In this new era of currency the Black community will be quite wealthy. It is just a matter of how we want to count our new money and how then to spend it.