In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“An answer brings no illumination unless the question has matured to a point where it gives rise to this answer which thus becomes its fruit. Therefore learn how to put a question.” — African Proverb
As part of the What if Series, I explore the question
What if the Black dollar circulated near exclusively among Black people?
By Onitaset Kumat
Children love treats; lovers too. On a train, I sat across from a european jew whose child begged him for his favorite chocolate. Nearby, a young oriental girl sipped on a strange tea. Farther, a man with an accent from england ate chips. Despite my experience with chocolates, teas and chips, I could not recognize a single brand. Yet, when I saw a white-american child snacking in his corner, I noticed he ate the same as the Black couple on the opposite side of the train. All aboard the train observed the same unassailable fact. Whether treats for children or lovers, the Black man is the only nation which doesn’t provide for his own.
Malcolm X, in a speech entitled “Cooperative Economics” explained it precisely:
The reason that most black business fail, is because they are selling a product that they bought from white man. They themselves have gone to the white man, to purchase something to resale to you. Everything that’s in the Negro store is a resale, and he has to resale it at a price high enough to get his investment back. The black person that’s in business is acting as a salesman for the white wholesaler, and the white producer. The real owner of merchandise that the black business man is selling, is the white man. He robs you when he sells it to you, and you have to turn around and rob your people in order to get your money back, and then you wonder why they won’t come in your store. As black people we have to learn to produce something. We have to be producers as well as consumers, and then we can set the sale price at a low cost. If you produced the product that you sold, then you would be eliminating the middle man, and you could sell to your people at a low cost. Everything that leaves your pocket goes into the pocket of the white man. We are being robbed because we produce nothing of our own. Mr. Muhammad said that we must be producers as well as consumers. I don’t care if you have a million dollars business, if you are not producing anything, then you are just a rich slave. I don’t care how wealthy you are, if you are not producing you are just a slave for your master. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that it is better to be independent, than dependent.
To this day, you would be hard pressed to find a contrary business model in the Black community. I am the first man to point out a Black business to invest in; but I’m not foolish enough to think that merely supporting a Black business is exclusively supporting Black people. Not just yet. The Black dollar has a short lifetime, particularly because Black business acumen is want in the Black community.
Many of us have heard of the elusive Black dollar. We’ve read when an NAACP author explained the direness of our situation:
“Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours!!! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black owned businesses.“
But how many of us understand the full gamut of our foppery? BreakingBrown.com reports that while some will debate the reality of the Black dollar’s circulation; others are looking at white-Black wealth disparities and can say conclusively that Africans in america today have less comparative white-Black wealth than Africans in Azania (south Africa) during the height of apartheid! Meaning that we boast of 1.1 Trillion unorganized dollars which go right back into white hands, while white people boast of 16 Trillion organized dollars which have national and international consequences.
Should the Black man ever hope to raise his nation to the top, he must come to understand fundamental economic theories. Namely, he must understand that an economy has at least three aspects to it: production, distribution and consumption. One can go deep into the intricacies. But neither action without theory nor theory without action are reputable pasttimes for an intelligent people. Today, it is common for the Black man to produce nothing, distribute his enemy’s goods, and hope another Black man will consume the foreigner’s product at an exorbitant rate. It’s at best a temporary solution to a terrible predicament; but typically it’s plain stupidity and a horrendous recipe for failure. Instead, the Black man must commit himself to producing for himself, distributing for himself and consuming what he produced. Short of that basis, the Black man will lock his nation into squalor.
But we sometimes are too selfish to comprehend the sacrifices that will need to be made. Some Black men are hopeful for revolution. I as well. But Black people must come to understand that the revolution against our enemies can not precede the revolution we have among ourselves; particularly our ideas. We can not continue to think Black business is reselling the white man’s products. Go to china town if you dare, the chinese man sells “Made in china.” Go to the european jews if you dare, the european jew sells “Made in israel.” Go to the white-american man if you dare, the white man sells “Made in america.” But what does the Black man sell? “Made in Africa?” Only when he sells himself!
“Made in Africa” is not a thing among Black people; not even on our continent. “Made by Africans” is not a thing among Black people; not even on our continent! What pride can a child have when his Mother must go to a white man to give that child a treat? A child turns two and is told to clean himself with toilet paper a white man produced. Why and how could he look at his Father with confidence? Black man you must bring your Brothers to think more intelligently, or you will condemn yourselves in the eyes of your Sons.
When the Black man decides to be the Race’s producers, distributors and consumers, Black problems will be solved overnight. The Black man won’t need to beg his enemy for employment; he will be race-employed. He will be a productive man for his people, not for his enemy. And he can hire his sons to be race-employed, race-proud and race-disciplined. Today, the white man says, “Go hurt your people” and the Black man says “yes” because the Black man does not work for himself! But when the Black man works for himself, the white man can not tell him anything. When the Black man produces his own food, clothing, shelter and consciousness, he does not need to turn to the white man for anything. If the Black man wants something, he can turn to his Brother and get what he needs. But until then, the Black man is a glorified slave.
The white man can shoot a Black man, but the Black man will still swear that the white man is the greatest. The Black man says, “He feeds me.” And his son watches the Black man and says, “I do not want to be like you.” The Black woman watches the Black man and says, “You’re not much of a man.” The Black man’s daughter watches him and says, “My mother was a fool.” And you, Black man, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Another man feeds me so I shall not fight him.”
When you take control of your economy, you can challenge anyone. So Black man, make it your priority to take control of your economy. Put your thumb in the ground if you must eat. Put your foot on the peddle if you must deliver. Put your mind to work if you must build. But do not sit back and make the white man make a fool of you. You must recognize you are a man. Take lead! And know everyone is behind you. So come, gather your resources, gather your troops, and lead a revolution of the mind among our people. If we fall doing our masculine duties, our Sisters will come to our aid. But if you fail to even attempt your masculine duties, you will have failed your purpose for living! Get up. Rise up. And forever hold dear the immortal wisdom of our Marcus Garvey, “Up, up you mighty Race, you can accomplish what you will!”
Will to control your economy and ACCOMPLISH WHAT YOU WILL!