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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

African-Americans Are in a Rut

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on December 13, 2023


An Editorial Opinion

 

There is a reason why African-Americans lag behind every ethnic group in the United States in the accumulation wealth.  We are the only ethnic group in the nation that does not engage in networking with each other.   


We mistakenly believe that wealth, power, and influence come from the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the size of our home, and who we party with. 

 

We strive for celebrity status and “vanity wealth,” rather than business ownership and corporate influence and power.  “Vanity wealth” is derived from items like: (a) designer shoes, purses, and clothes, (b) high-priced but mass-produced jewelry, (c) luxury cars, and (d) expensive homes.  While our display of vanity wealth may impress our friends, neighbors, and poorer blacks, it is meaningless to the financial institutions that power the world’s economic engines.

 

We have plenty of black celebrities and professional athletes who get mobbed by autograph seekers when they stroll through the mall.  However, these individuals have no power and influence with the leaders of the United States, Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, and a host of other influential countries that drive international commerce.


Our celebrities and professional athletes, who are great people and very accomplished in their craft, do not own or run any Fortune 500/New York Stock Exchange companies. They are not major defense or national security contractors.  They do not own Wall Street banks or accredited financial institutions. They do not own Silicon Valley-based international technology companies. They do not own international multimedia empires like Rupert Murdock, John Malone, the Newhouse family, or the Walt Disney companies.


They do not manufacture airplanes, trains, trucks, buses, cars, or yachts. They do not own or run any major international oil and gas companies.  They do not mine uranium, copper, lithium, diamonds, or gold.  They do not own or run global telecommunications companies.


They do not own major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, H&M, the Gap, and DSW.


They do not own Cisco, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal, Cash App, and other Internet-based infrastructure and social media companies.


They do not own or run any major airlines or space exploration companies. They do not own or run international solar, wind, and hydrogen powered clean energy companies.


They do not set monetary policies or the price of gold each day. They do not own skyscrapers in any of the world's major cities.  They do not serve on the board of directors for the SWIFT organization that oversees international transfers of money between banks.


They do not own major league football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby, NASCAR racing, or yachting teams. They do not own any venue where major professional sports are played.

 

The Failure of Blacks to Network With Each Other is More Fatal to Our Economic Progress as an Ethnic Group Than White Racism

 

For the most part, African-Americans do not buy goods and services from their reservior of highly-qualified and capable black vendors.  We do not bank with black-owned banks.  We do not use black doctors, lawyers., architects, engineers, investment advisors, real estate brokers, management consultants, or other black professionals, unless they are employed by white-owned firms.

 

As a people, we tend to beg for what we need and buy what we want


Today, we are an at-risk population because of our choices in lifestyle, our political impotency, and wholesale adoption of destructive cultural values.

 

Today, the real question is not what c;othes we wear, or what car we drive, or the size of our house.  Instead, global financiers want to know what businesses we own.  What annual revenues do these businesses generate?  Can these businesses be replicated around the world, and at what cost?

 

As a people, we rarely discuss economic empowerment, privately or publicly.  We tend to talk about VIP parties, the accumulation of material things, and gossip incessantly about the lives of other people. 

 

At this juncture, the failure of African-Americans to network with each other is more fatal to our progress as an ethnic group than white racism


What is worse, we have allowed ourselves to become a race of beggars and consumers


At one time, had a thriving "Black Wall" in the Greewood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now, we beg for jobs, contracts, access to VIP parties, and donations for churches, schools, and charities.  We are constantly on our knees begging everybody for something.


At the same time, we spend nearly every dollar we make enriching businesses and vendors from other ethnic groups in America that have zero interest in reinvesting in us or our communities

 

This is the biggest reason why African-Americans are falling further behind every ethnic group in America each year.


We do not help ourselves, via networking. We are always looking for a white "savior" to rescue us. That calvary ain't coming anymore!

 

Will this sad paradigm change?  Not in my lifetime.  We are in a rut and there is no dynamic leadership on the horizon in today's African-American community.

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