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Angela Majette
by on December 31, 2019

Integration of the races and placating tactics like affirmative action, diversity & inclusion, and body cameras for police officers have led Black America to become complacent or turn a blind eye to the disparities that the civil rights movement vowed to eradicate.  

The racial wealth gap is persistently widening, police brutality and racial animus is on the rise, and schools are becoming increasingly segregated to the detriment of our Black students. These disparities in economics, education, and racial profiling are by design and threaten the life and liberties of all Black Americans.

What are we, Black people in America, going to do about it? Protests have morphed into sanctioned parades and boycotts and #BlackTwitter rants last only as long as it takes for a company to issue a hollow apology or pay a token Black spokesperson to quiet the masses.  Are we going to keep taking reactionary approaches that scream the definition of insanity?

A Disruptive Approach:  Group Economics

Dr. Claud Anderson recently appeared on a radio program and shared his wisdom on race and econmics in America - past and present.   Dr. Anderson’s conversation is a masterclass on Black economics and his advice and theories on improving the economic conditions of Black people in America are congruent with the mission and vision of Black Connect.

Watch the video.

Powernomics and Black Connect are both grounded in the practice of group economics to attack the root causes of racism and racial discrimination.

What is Black Connect?
Black Connect, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated solely to eliminating the racial wealth gap in America by building sustainable Black-owned businesses.  Economic independence for Black people and building self-sustaining Black communities across the United States is the vision of Black Connect.

What is Powernomics?
Powernomics was created by Dr. Claud Anderson and is described in his book PowerNomics®: The National Plan to Empower Black America. The highly acclaimed book teaches Blacks how to pool resources and aspects of power so that they can produce, distribute and consume in a way that creates goods and wealth.  Dr. Anderson is also president of The Harvest Institute, a nationally recognized think tank that does research, policy development, education and advocacy to increase the self-sufficiency of Black America.

Common Philosophies Shared By Black Connect and Powernomics

Black Connect and Powernomics are both built upon the belief that economic independence, based on racial solidarity, is the foundation of the struggle for civil rights and that without economic independence tied to the acquisition of political power, Black people in America will continue to be the subjects of the whims of other people.

The salient points addressed by Dr. Anderson can be summarized in 5 notable quotes.  Here are 5 quotes from Dr. Anderson’s conversation that also capture the core beliefs of Black Connect:

1.  “Race is a team sport.  You either play as a team or you lose by default.”

Solidarity and organization are the reasons Black Connect was founded as a membership-based organization and will begin launching chapters across the United States starting in 2020.  Having an organized presence within our communities is paramount to economic progress.  Other racial groups promote self-interest and wear their solidarity like a badge of honor. It is imperative that Black Americans also function and move as a team.  The current economic condition of Black Americans is the result of what happens we don’t.

2.  “Opportunities in America are defined by what you own and control.”

Black people do not control economic resources at the level we should.  Black people disproportionately depend on other races, primarily the European and Asian, for food, clothing, and shelter. Black families hold the "least wealth of the largest U.S. racial groups.  More often than not, the European and Asian worlds are the producers, processors, distributors, and wholesalers. Black people are the consumers.  It is important that Black people learn the importance of controlling resources and commit to a plan of action to increase our ownership of resources.

3.  “We don’t have any Black communities.  We have Black neighborhoods.”

Communities have an independent economic structure, a code of conduct, and elected officials who are members of the community and represent the interests of that community.  In Black neighborhoods, money is not circulated within the community.  The dollar leaves the Black community within a matter of hours. Often too, politicians and elected officials speak broadly about issues affecting “minorities” while avoiding the unique and specific needs of Black Americans.

4.  “Think of building Black communities like building a 5 story building.”

Dr. Anderson explains his roadmap to building self-sustaining Black communities.

1st Level - Practice Group Economics

Each community has to organize and develop a plan to own and control resources - businesses and land.  And communities have to communicate with each other to share information, strategize, and to lend support and resources. Impact is amplified when communication is unified.

2nd Level - Control Politicians

Elected officials cater to those whose purse strings help them get elected and re-elected. Once a community has gained economic control, it has the power and collective resources to put officials in place who will serve the interests of the community.

3rd Level - Control Judges & Police

Economic control has a trickle down effect.  When a community controls the economy, it also controls the politicians, police, prosecutors and judges.   We will see a decline in civil rights violations, police brutality, and unfair criminal sentences when we rid our communities of:
police who commit and cover up crimes and other misconduct;
prosecutors and judges who orchestrate unfair trials, refuse to prosecute police, and impose minimal sentences upon those convicted of civil rights violations; and
mayors and governors who stand in solidarity with violent and corrupt police departments

4th Level - Control the Media

The media plays a central role in influencing our opinions and shaping our perceptions about other groups. Lack of inclusion and distorted coverage of communities of color influence public policy.   Access to media provides business owners with exposure, which drives revenue.

But it’s more common for white, older, more-educated Americans to have spoken with local journalists; only 1% of newspapers in the United States are Black-owned;  TV newsroom staff who are African American was 12% in 2018; and the percentage of television news directors who are African American is smaller, at just 2% in 2018.

To help address the disparity in exposure to media, Black Connect, Inc. recently launched Sharing Our Stories (SOS), a media sourcing service that helps connect journalists with African-American sources to present different perspectives and accurately portray communities of color.

Social media is also important.  In social media, time is money.  In America, money is power.  African-American consumers represent the largest consumer group, and are also more likely to shop online and interact with brands on social media.  Businesses pay social media platforms to market their products and services to African-American consumers. The time African-Americans spend on white-owned social media platforms generates billions of dollars, economic power, and political influence for the owners of those platforms, their families, and their interests, but does little to nothing to build Black wealth and economic power.

Facebook Inc., which also owns Instagram, disclosed that it spent $4.8 million to influence U.S. lawmakers and regulators in the third quarter of 2019, lifting its year-to-date spending on Washington lobbying to $12.3 million — a level that already nearly matches 2018’s full-year total of $12.6 million. Facebook lobbied on a wide range of issues to protect its interests, none of which included issues crucial to the economic advancement of Black Americans or civil rights for Black Americans.

Facebook lobbied on blockchain policy, election integrity, data security, internet competition, high-tech worker visas, privacy legislation, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and bullying prevention.

5th Level - Education

After the community has gained control of its economy, lawmakers, justice system, and media, it can then control and restructure its education system to ensure:
that the school environment Is an extension of the community and instills a sense of pride and safety;
that the curriculum prepares students to succeed in college, trade school, entrepreneurship or the workforce, and
that all of these post-secondary options exist within the community.

5.    “It is an honor and privilege to be Black.”

YES.IT.IS.  The history and achievements, contributions, struggles and progress of African people in Africa and in America is unparalleled.  The contributions of African Americans, including entrepreneurs, educators, attorneys, architects, inventors, scientists, doctors, and others, are far reaching. We awaken every form of artistic expression with our injection of soul and flavor - music, food, dance, art, literature, fashion. You name it.  Black people either created it, dominated it, or remixed and mastered it.  

Final thoughts

Triumphing in the face of adversity is what Black people do and together we can create a Black economy that can sustain the race for generations to come.  Other races can live their entire lives without patronizing one Black-owned business in America. Shouldn’t Black Americans have the very same option with respect to non Black-owned businesses?  

We are ending this decade in the midst of a racial wealth gap. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new decade. Are we going to start playing as a team or continue to lose by default?

Join Black Connect and start a local chapter in your community.  Let’s start building teams across the country!