Saturday, December 17, 2011
Plight of the Black Middle-Class - Reader Comments
Greetings Brother Ben:
I have marinated on your blog post “Plight of the Black Middle-Class” for a couple of weeks with the intent of posting a comment much sooner, however better late than never. At any rate, kudos to HGP for such a well written and timely article.
Your article touched on some of the major issues that have contributed to the demise of the Black Middle Class as it specifically relates to public sector employment.
How many times can we recall our parents saying to us “Son/Daughter just get a good government job and you’ll be set for life”. Well I got myself a good government job and found my set; Set with no raise in over five years and countless non-paid furlough days, all resulting in a $10,000 decrease in my net income over the past few years; ultimately being downsized from the government workforce, which lead me to the unemployment office. So now what Big Momma?
What our parents didn’t tell us was “Son/Daughter, Be sure not to put all of your eggs in one basket; Be sure that when you make it on your good government job you spend your money in your own community; Be sure you support the struggling Black owned convenience store on the corner; Be sure to develop an entrepreneurial spirit so that you can open up your own business one day and employ others from within your community just in case the good government jobs go away. What our parents didn’t say is that if you don’t stay and provide for the Black community, others will come in and take it over by offering what you should be providing such as Asian owned beauty supply shops that sell all black hair products; Asian owned soul food restaurants (how did they learn to cook soul food?); Asian/Arab owned convenience stores and gas stations).
In all fairness to our parents, who could have ever imagined that teachers, police officers, firefighters, postal workers and other similar careers would experience such a devastating loss of jobs and security. All of which have resulted in the staggering loss of our overall economic status as a Middle Class Community. We’ve lost our homes, automobiles, savings and retirement accounts along with other assets, but importantly, we seem to have lost our since of community that so existed prior to desegregation.
While I personally agree with both you and the Rev. Al Sharpton, our strategy cannot be one dimensional. It has to be multi-faceted from an organizational standpoint. You are absolutely correct, marching alone won’t resolve our crisis; however we need to continue marching for justice and equality just as we did during the Civil Rights Movement. So on that note, I favor organizing marches. However, in addition to marching, we must establish grass roots initiatives geared toward economic empowerment. I believe one reader stated that we should assemble/meet in our living rooms to discuss economic empowerment.
I am total agreement with this approach as well as the need to develop Black Owned Asset Holding Companies and any other common sense approaches that help to empower our community and secure our future.
With every day that passes and with each news report I hear that speaks to the rising number of people in need of government assistance (i.e. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Welfare, etc.), I am convinced now more than ever that our future and our children’s futures rests solely on our shoulders. It’s time we realize that no one is coming to the Black Community’s rescue. If we don’t save ourselves from poverty, no one else will.
Having said that, let’s continue the much needed dialogue on this issue, but let’s also take our community back so that we can provide employment to our own. Let’s establish a think tank and/or working group to develop some concrete strategies toward Black Economic Empowerment.
Continue the great work………
Gregory Allen, MBA, Owner/President
Xtreme Entertainment, Inc.