Black unemployment rates are twice those of whites. We own less then three percent of the wealth, even though we are 13 percent of the population. Forty one percent of our households hold less than $1,000 in net worth. For every $100 whites possess, blacks have anywhere between $8 and $19. The median black family’s net worth is $8,300 compared with the median white family’s net worth of $56,000. (Stats come from Black Wealth/White Wealth by Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro.)
One might say that is to be expected because of oppression, and that blacks haven’t been born with silver spoons in their mouths. However, of all the millionaires in America, “[o]nly 19% receive any income or wealth of any kind from a trust fund or an estate”, and “[m]ore than half never received as much as $1 in inheritance,” according to The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. If we as a people want a piece of the pie, then it is our responsibility to work for it. “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (Proverbs 13:4)
Yes, we have been oppressed, but we can do much more to help ourselves. Why is it that 93% of our income is spent outside the community? “Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.” (Numbers 36:9) Money made within your community should be primarily spent for the benefit of the community. Lee Jenkins, author of Taking Care of Business said, “The Black dollar turns over less then once on an average before it leaves the Black community. Asians turn over their money nine times in their communities, and Whites turn their money over eight times before it leaves.” Keeping money in our circle means that the circle becomes stronger. However, too many African Americans see otherwise: “You just can’t work with Black people!” “Truth is, they are just too slow!”
You would think that a racist made these statements. However, these are statements we have all heard from other black people! Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Whenever Pharaoh wanted to keep the slaves in slavery, he kept them fighting amongst themselves.” There is power in the numbers of the institution, more so than in the individual.
Part 2: Taking Care of Business
Ryan Mack is the president of Optimum Capital Management LLC