OneUnited Bank Presents Plan To Create Economic Power In Black America

“Make Black History” Now Sends Economic Message to 30 Million Black Americans

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black owned bank in the country, presents Make Black History Now, a plan for 30 million Black Americans to use the internet to organize their $1.2 trillion in annual spending power to build wealth and protect the Black community. This year, OneUnited Bank encourages Black America to #MakeBlackHistory now instead of just celebrating Black history.

The #MakeBlackHistory Plan will create tens of thousands of new Black millionaires, hundreds of thousands of new Black businesses and over one million new jobs in the Black community. OneUnited President & COO, Teri Williams explains, “We are at a unique point in history when the internet allows us to organize our money at a scale and speed never seen before.” She continues, “Hands down, this is the best time to build generational, personal and community wealth by using technology and expanding financial literacy.”

The world is witnessing a global awakening as people “take a knee” to protest injustice. America’s Black community is re-focusing its attention on the “Black economic empowerment” messages espoused by historic Black leaders such as Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In 2018, OneUnited Bank encourages the Black community to invest in technology and provide financial literacy to children and adults alike in order to effectively re-channel its $1.2 trillion in annual spending back into the Black community – to #BankBlack and #BuyBlack – to create long-lasting change and make the dreams of civil rights leaders become reality.

Historically Black Colleges In Need of a Makeover?

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Like many parents around this time, I too have a 17 year-old son who is about to be heading off to college. Since he was in the 9th grade I have been asking him if he would like to attend an HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and University). His answer then, and still remains, “No.” When I ask why, he stated that he doesn’t believe an HBCU will give him a true picture of the real world. He went on to say that the majority of America is not black, and though he has interest in the black progression, he remains adamant that an HBCU won’t prepare him for what’s real out there.

I sat and thought about his comments for quite some time. He is a very intelligent young man with a lot of inherited radicalism in his blood. However, I always encourage my children to run towards their true mission with passion. I tell them that God sent each of us here with an individual purpose that may be totally antithesis to those of even their siblings. So I don’t push him where I “feel” he should go.

Instead, I internalize. I objectively look at his opinions and the facts. The facts are HBCUs have been around for over 100 years and were created to give disenfranchised blacks a place to obtain higher learning that would prepare them for the challenges the state of the country, then, (Jim Crow & Reconstruction) posed. It worked. HBCUs developed some of the most brilliant minds and pumped out some of the most courageous Black Americans and made progressive differences in the black community.

But what about now? Is that still happening? Have they lost their zeal by not following the “Who Moved My Cheese?” mantra? Today, how is a black HBCU graduate any different from a black non-HBCU graduate, mentally, strategically and methodically? What actions are expected to be taken that’s different? I am speculating because I don’t have all the facts. So I humbly ask someone to help me communicate this to my son. Here are some statistics that the United Negro College Fund produced:

·         Over half of all African American professionals are graduates of HBCUs.

·         Nine of the top ten colleges that graduate the most African Americans who go on to earn Ph.D.s are HBCU graduates.

·         More than 50% of the nation’s African American public school teachers and 70% of African American dentists earned degrees at HBCUs.

·         UNCF members Spelman College and Bennett College produce over half of the nation’s African American female doctorates in all science fields.

However, are these acceptable successes? Is working for government, corporations or becoming professionals who rarely work to elevate current disenfranchised blacks considered a success? 100 years ago, simply being anyone who served in these roles would’ve been seen as inspiration for blacks and acceptably a success. But in the  21st century, other cultures have adapted, the market has changed and our country has developed in ways that seem like night and day compared to the early 20th century so are the designs of our HBCUs serving today’s needs?

Does schools like Spelman College, who was founded by John Rockefeller and named after his wife Spelman have relevance to the Black community or are we being undermined? My son has an interest in becoming an enormously successful entrepreneur who has an impact on the world. Just the mere fact that HBCUs took so long to begin offering online courses made my son feel like these black schools are lagging behind the power curve; though he’s not trying to attend school online but he is just not trying to lag behind too.

Blacks athletes dominate in the NFL and NBA, yet players like Reggie Bush and Dwyane Wade elected not to attend an HBCU. So are they also saying that their chances of success is reduced by attending these schools too? I can only assume that an HBCU should be the mental factory and athletic warehouse for these future professional athletes. Are we not doing a good enough job in our athletic programs, which, by the way, could generate hundreds of millions for athletic departments collectively, recruiting (or at least look appealing) to these students while they are in high school?

Are we too emotionally charged and attached to the schools so we justify the activities rather than demanding innovation? Is it just about job security and historical preservation or is it also about the future preservation of blacks? Are we too sensitive to even have a discussion over where we go wrong for everyone at-large? I root for HBCUs. I appreciate the rich history they provide and the overall progress they’ve made for black people over the past 100 years. But I also feel we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. I write heavily in my book “Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure” that we must be more substantive than we are symbolic. I know this op-ed may ruffle the feathers of some proud HBCU graduates. But at the end of the day, are we here to serve our emotions or serve our community? So help me. What words should I offer to him? Cause I know the longer we delay recognizing our problems, the longer we delay solving them.

Baby Boomers Have Failed Today’s Black Business Community

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Baby boomers, those born from 1946-1964, are the generation of yesterday that would have been the ushering the younger generation of today into the “next phase” of the black evolution. Some aspects of this revolution needed to be enhanced and changed, while other aspects of it needed to remain the same. One aspect that needed to remain unchanged is “Race Matters”.

Today we see a bunch of rhetoric that race no longer is an issue. It has become so much of a campaign that some of our baby boomers blew out the torch and packed it away in the backs of their closets. I heard an activist say once, “Black protestors stormed the building for equality and came out with job applications”. Lol. Quite funny, but heavily true. Once we got some economic benefits we forgot what we came here for. We started to think to ourselves, “Hmm, you mean I can have the money and not the headaches of competing in business?” That concept soon eroded our very way of life and the black middle class. We began to feel ownership was no longer important.

Desegregation led to groundbreaking advancements but also brought on issues that emerged unexpectedly. For example, interracial relationships bring mixed children, what those children identifies as and who they dominantly alignment themselves with is a self-choice. Mixed children are often at the toxic end of criticism, bullying or teasing. They are often in an uncomfortable place when they overhear or are in the middle of conversation on race. Mixed children are usually lovers of two races and are intimately involved with the cultures of two.Image result for black baby boomers

This created a “Race-Don’t-Matter” movement in America. However, even with understanding the position mixed race children are placed in, race still matters. It matters from President Barack Obama, all the way down to the unknown child waiting at the school’s bus stop.

Baby boomers let their guard down.

 

They let this movement and beliefs permeate through our society to the point where we felt it was “business as usual” for other races to setup their businesses in our communities and run our black establishments out of town. Some would say, well, it is a free and open market and they should be able to compete. Well, that’s what we are forced to say now.  But the generation before them was responsible for the Black Wall Street and the Harlem Boom, an era Madame St. Clair fought with the Italian mob to retain control of. As soon as we were able to integrate and vote, things began to deteriorate in our minds. In the 60’s – 80’s it shouldn’t have been accepted. Now we are forced to fight backwards. If we take a close look, our mass acceptance is as consumers, any other leveraging position becomes a challenge for us.

Here are some of our challenges:

We have the least skilled workforce. We have the highest economic crime rate. We have the highest poverty rate per capita. We have the highest illiteracy rate. We have one of the lowest black judge, police, mayor and prosecutor population.

According to “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” by Jane Hyun, the Asian-American community has the highest graduation rate at 91%.

The deck is stacked against us and it shouldn’t have come to this. We had communities where our younger audience made entrepreneurship and buying black a part of our culture. Now, we have made independent survival and job searches the new norm.

They are continuing to make us believe that race doesn’t matter. Then we here gunshots, another killed black boy at the hands of police.

Look, I am not even trying to pull the race card or make us racially divided. But I am hoping you review the facts. Look at the statistics. If race didn’t matter, we would all share the downsides in the statistics. In regards to the mixed race children, I know it is hard for you to view any of your non-black parents with a negative connotation. You may be justified. Afterall, they procreated with a black and can’t be bigoted. But just like my black brothers do have a series of issues that causes me (the individual) to be stereotyped, so does the white, Asian and Middle Eastern community have some evil and predatory approaches to how we will live. Most of those issues affect black people on every economic level.