One of the most reliable indicators that a person has not only studied, but also comprehended the multi-faceted and incredibly complex issues that have faced persons of African descent from the moment that they arrived in the Jamestown colony is the understanding that of all the solutions presented after that moment, collectivist economics and political solidarity provides the best opportunity for liberation. Honestly, there is little room to argue against the belief that the “Black Power” strategies mentioned above have historically provided the greatest opportunity for “the liberation and salvation of the black nation.”
Although difficult to admit, when one considers the politico-economic marginalization rooted throughout Black America, it is apparent that “Black Power” politico-economic constructs have failed miserably. Considering this harsh reality, we must diligently seek to answer the following query; “Why has Black Power failed to uplift the black community?”
In light of the certain tendency for our people to deliberately derail important matters such as this one with diversionary minutiae, I think that it would be wise to define Black Power. Once again, by providing this definition, I am only seeking to avoid this discussion being intentionally sidetracked by unnecessary haranguing regarding alternative definitions of “Black Power” for no logical reason. To prevent such ‘mental masturbation,’ I have decided on the definition of Black Power that Charles V. Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael’s used in their brilliant book, Black Power. According to this duo,
The concept of Black Power rests on a fundamental premise. Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this, we mean group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralistic society. Traditionally, each new ethnic group in this society has found the route to social and political viability through the organization of its own institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society . . . the American melting pot has not melted. Italians vote for Rubino over O’Brien; Irish for Murphy over Goldberg, etc.
When stripped to its essential parts, Hamilton and Carmichael’s construct amounts to a call for politico-economic collectivism. From their perspective, politico-economic collectivism has been the path that “each new ethnic group in this society has (traveled) to social and political viability through the organization of its institutions with which to represent its needs within the larger society.” Considering the relative simplicity of this route to liberation, one must ask, “Why has Black Power not worked for African-Americans?”
The answer to the above query is fairly straightforward, yet woefully troubling and disconcerting. The answer is that during the past 60 years, the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to make either collectivist economics or political solidarity a fixture in their lives.
Considering that most reasonable-minded individuals agree that political activism is essential to the uplift of the black community, it appears that such a perspective has failed to inspire African-Americans who make up 13% of the nation to participate in the electoral process at a rate that exceeds their proportion of the American populace. Black political participation occurs at a blasé rate until a figure such as Barack Hussein Obama appears.
As political participation lags behind, many African-Americans have foolishly convinced themselves that the key to “the liberation and salvation of the black nation” is the generation of financial might. Unfortunately for Black America, it appears that their political inefficiencies are only exceeded by their understanding of economic collectivism.
As mentioned in a recent post on this site, one does not need to look any further than the embarrassing manner in which African-Americans fail to circulate the dollar within their community to understand a primary pillar in their economic struggles. It appears that for all of their adoration of Malcolm X the vast majority of African-Americans have failed to heed one of his most basic admonishments regarding economic foolishness. Malcolm charged his people with the following admonishment, “You run down your community when you don’t circulate your dollar amongst your own.” Consider the following data regarding the circulation of dollars.
- It takes 6 hours for a dollar to exit the black community.
- It takes 17 days for a dollar to exit the white community.
- It takes 20 days for a dollar to exit the Jewish community.
- It takes 30 days for a dollar to exit the Asian community.
In light of such economic inefficiency, it is unsurprising to find that of the 1.1 Trillion dollars of annual spending power that passes through the African-American community, a number that means that on average every man, woman, and child within the African-American community has in excess of $26,200 at their disposal on a yearly basis, a paltry 2% of those dollars are spent with black-owned businesses. One can only wonder where does all of that money go? The answer to the above query is equally daunting and astonishing. Studies indicate that African-Americans spend a significant portion of their dollars in the following areas.
- Tobacco — $3.3 billion
- Whiskey, Wine, and Beer — $3 billion
- Non-alcoholic beverages — $2.8 billion
- Leisure time spending — $3.1 billion
- Toys, Games, and Pets — $3.5 billion
- Telephone services — $18.6 billion
- Random Gifts — $10 billion
There is little doubt that the political disengagement and economic foolishness listed above would banish any populace to socioeconomic marginality.
What makes Black America’s continuing politico-economic marginalization even more disconcerting is that it could have been eradicated if we only adhered to a few ground rules a litany of “race men” have provided. Considering that so many of our people have found comfort in the Church and guidance from scripture, I think it appropriate to relate that African-Americans have continually behaved as those described in Jeremiah 5:21, “Hear this now, O foolish people, Without understanding, Who have eyes and see not, And who have ears and hear not.”
One has to wonder when God will cease sending prophets to these woe-smitten people who have repeatedly proven that they have no desire to use either their eyes or ears to save their kind. It is too late in the game for our people to continue making the same politico-economic mistakes that they have always made. Unfortunately for our sake, it appears that they have yet to tire of banging their heads against an immovable wall.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017