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Building a business, a better bet than reparations

By: J. Burner Crew - March 9th, 2021

Today we are beginning to hear the message of reparations from Democratic Party elected officials more than ever.  The term refers to a form of compensatory payment directly to descendants of slaves.  The concept speaks to a way of providing direct dollars to address the wealth gap that currently exists in America.  The Congressional voting math would obviously make it difficult, if not impossible, for a reparations bill to successfully navigate the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Yet Democrats control both bodies and Biden is our president, so if not now, when?  Vice President Harris is a supporter and has been vocal about the need to study the subject.

The conversation is appropriate but is there a better way to achieve economic equality when “White America” has such a commanding lead?  Yes!  Take a few moments to gather your thoughts.

I say “Yes!” because Black America needs to focus on the open door of capitalism and what it means to focus on ownership instead of income.  We have done so in our past with success: Rosewood, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street and Durham, North Carolina’s Black Wall Street.

We  have a higher probability of success in the ownership option than the reparation option.  It is clear that without understanding capitalism and the concept of ownership, money will be given, spent and gone without the recipient creating wealth that can be passed on to the next generation.

Ownership is a form of control that is learned through the process of making decisions that increase revenue or lead to failure.  The smart entrepreneur takes what he has learned from failure, adjusts and begins anew.  This is the value of capitalism to Black America: ownership allows the freedom of choice and the control of destiny.

The challenge of ownership is how to access the capital and/or resources to start the process.  Today in Cleveland we have options. the United Black Fund is looking to become a conduit for ownership, Village Capital will also listen and assist.  The tools are here but underutilized. 

The internet is a tool to garner information on the “how to” of forming a company.  YouTube has multiple options that provide the documents needed and the templates for creating a budget, making a business plan and learning how to access capital.  Speak with family members who may want to invest and/or participate. 

A mentor is an invaluable asset to include in your process as well, someone who is familiar with the line of work or willing to listen and provide guidance based on experience.  The United Black Fund has an interest in creating a Cleveland Black Wall Street so if there is a genuine interest calling their office may be a great way to start. 

Reparations is another form of government support. We need to look to ourselves and not the government to break the cycle of poverty.  Multiple well intended programs funded by the State and Federal government have met with mixed results.  With the dollars spent on the pandemic, an educated guess is that most social welfare programs will be cut to bring our national debt and deficit under control.

Politicians need to be transparent with the public and offer support directed at self-determination instead of the false hope of substantial payments coming to Black America.