A"This is a Black Stream of Thought"
Vol 2: March, 2022
Affirmation Atlanta's Black Community is Historic, Resilient, Resourceful
"The future is already here; it is just not evenly distributed."
In the words of Carter G Woodson, "In the schools of Business Administration, Negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics but have studied Negros take up this business and grow rich." What is Woodson saying? There is gold in the ghetto, and the experiences have created a unique Black market.
The current economic situation of the Black American community is in critical condition. Challenged by police brutality, poverty, financial instability, domestic terrorism, and systemic racism, the Black American society has been painted into an unextractable space allowing others to feed off the proposed despair and lack of resources.
Let us agree to this simple premise: Black American communities and businesses do not have the equal wealth and stability of their white counterparts!! Also, let us agree that regardless of our circumstances, (1) the Black community and its businesses continue to grow, seeping through the tiny holes of the opportunity given them. (2) Money is being made daily within and without the Black community. However, (3) the system devalues us, what we do, who we are to keep us at a 3/fifth level. Yet, (4) Black people have shown in the past and continue through today that they persevere and achieve even with their dire situations. All of this means that while the economic standings are not equal "they are what they are." We must begin here rather than lament the fact that white folk are doing much better! White folk always have a self-designed system to promote that fact. Nevertheless, (5) Given even minor support Black folk achieves and our businesses take advantage of any new doors opening, our communities are beginning to force new opportunities for their growth and survival.
"You have to cut the garment to fit the cloth."
In other words, We have VALUE because we have BLACK EXCELLENCE as exhibited by our talent, perseverance, creativity, and we are continually fresh. But suppose our Value is defined by those whose Value we seek to conform. In that case, we will never achieve equality because they will constantly redefine what equality should look and react like. We MUST begin to define our VALUE!
However, the Atlanta Black community has resources. It is recognized worldwide for its congregations of Black businesses, individuals, institutions, politicians, etc. All of these provide a base from which to build upon these assets rather than continue to cast a negative shadow over them. These critical assets can be called the Black Value System (BLKVALSYS). It is a set of standards that have not gotten lost through the evolution of America from slave times through today. These standards continue today as Black people, no matter their location in the US, have cultural similarities of standards even though they have never met nor talked to one another. These standards exhibit the common cultural traits often ostracized but not recognized. Attributes such as shared outlooks, modes of behavior and tradition, belief systems, world views, Values, Skills, preferences, styles of self-presentation, etiquette, linguistics, and many other patterns reflect our shared experiences and perspectives.
Given the rich Black history of Atlanta and the abilities of its Black residents and businesspeople to overcome, we have even greater opportunities today that we must take advantage of. If not, we will continue to give away our opportunities for true wealth by believing that what we have and do is of little Value until they need it. We must understand that our cultural frameworks for Value have not been shaped by race and poverty but, in turn, by our responses to poverty and what we have overcome.
For example, Atlanta has no peer when it comes to the largest consortium of Black colleges globally. A history of leading in the creation and development of minority business programs. The largest organization of Black state representatives in the US. A city where Black people lead and preside over local governments, major corporations, educational institutions, and major resource organizations. So,
"Now You can see what a Miracle looks like"!
We have shown and continue to show that we can win at any game and compete. We have had a Black Nobel Peace Prize Winner and 5 Black Presidential Medal recipients in Atlanta. We have had Black mayors who stood tall for Black communities and businesses. We have produced federal and local officeholders and experienced entrepreneurs now doing business worldwide, even a few millionaires, all within the confines of others standing on our necks. This evidences that Atlanta is a special place for Black folk and should be recognized as such. Do our communities still lack the resources to bring them the comfort and joy they wish? Yes. But we have the talent to begin to address concerns with directed support.
Now is the time to stake our claim and demonstrate a BLKVALSYS that helps us deliver in a fashion that benefits all. A Black Value System like those used by White businesses to frame other city areas. Further, the Atlanta Black community itself must make a statement of Value while recognizing the existence of problems and the presumed lack of resources. We can no longer permit the white community to determine our Value as appropriate or less than theirs. Consider the standard view of Black spending levels as an indicator of wealth, which is not valid. Spending Levels are simply a marketing tool of corporate America to indicate the dollar size of the Black market if we spent every cent we have on their products. That number does not mean revenue coming to the Black community but a Black community outgoing expense, representing revenue to the corporate community.
Additionally, in self-setting community Value, the community's material assets or resources controlled by community members should equal the benefits and privileges it can derive from those resources. Our Black communities must articulate their Black Value System and insist on its recognition. This Black Value System standard can become a marketing tool for the local and larger communities.
It should be further recognized that a community Valuation standard will permit the local community to benefit itself and the city. And it can be used to develop further a set of in-place standards for involvement by outside entities within specific communities. And can be used to prevent such actions as gentrification without local approvals. In my supposition, the Black Atlanta community should see itself as necessary to the entire city. The majority-white community should also see that the Black community is valuable. An example is that Black businesses in Atlanta employ an estimated 65,000 persons. The number may seem small, but they would be unemployed for many without the Black company!
With the recognition of a Black Value System, the city can take advantage of these additional non-recognized assets. In that case, its resources become more Valuable as they underpin what the city has to offer. We need to brag about what we have overcome, make our Black Value System a key ingredient in Atlanta's future, and begin to enjoy the fruits of that recognition fully.
However, in the future, since Business among Black folk tends to be individualistic, we need to set our own agenda "for the good of the order and not just for me" and define our own Value so that our importance to the city, state, and the world will even make Atlanta a better place for Black folk to live, work, and play.
"Difficulty is not an obstacle; it is merely an attribute."
Again, to quote Carter G. Woodson, "The Negro has been so busy doing what he is told to do that he has not stopped long enough to think about the meaning of these things. He has borrowed the ideas of his traducers instead of delving into things and working out some thought of his own." So, we will demonstrate economic power, community power, and business resources rooted within Black businesses as the economic engine to help revitalize our communities. We need to evaluate whether outside assistance benefits the community standards versus the outsiders' standards. An example is to provide the support that grows the average wage of Atlanta Black businesses within a targeted community. With these powers and assets, we can say to all who listen and observe that the Atlanta Black community is vital to the city's and state's future growth and success and must be included in any form of thinking that moves this city and state forward! And with these powers, we can begin to "Fund our Voice!." We can assure that those organizations and persons necessary to the growth and development of the Black community routinely receive funding from the Black sources they fight for!
The Black business community and the White business community, the city's Black entrepreneurs and investors must lead the economic recognition revival and affirm Atlanta's competitive advantage and Value! Community activists, social service providers, and government bureaucrats must support the effort!
This effort reminds us of the story of Nehemiah from the Bible, who felt the importance of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. This effort will show we can use the systems of the city---education, health care, transportation, housing, community development to restore and revitalize our communities and how we can use our resources—jobs, money, relationships, influence, and the resource efforts of the Black community to accomplish tangible benefits for our community and our city.
"The Atlanta Black Community is an Inexhaustible Engine"!
"Write the vision and make it plain so that ALL who read can run with it."
It's Gotta Change!