The Tulsa massacre or the destruction of Black Wall Street, among other race riots, is what leads me to believe that the white majority does not want to see the success of “uppity” Black people growing in “their country”. It was the 35 city blocks that lay in ruin, the 300 or so people murdered because of white rage, and the audacity to omit the truth from the history books that did it for me. There will be further analysis into this conversation for another time but I want to focus on the fact that Black people have strived to make a way for themselves but we don’t have the complexion for protection. Currently, we have a president that wants to call for peace as the world watched the Derek Chauvin case with a queasy feeling and a dose of reality for Black skin. As Black people, we see trauma porn on social media and the opportunity for white people to profit from our pain, through likes, shares, and even a book deal! We are still organizing in the background to rise once again to bring our race to liberation as the lynchings happen around us, but does it truly mean anything when this country profits from our incarceration? Black people have settled for voting for Joe Biden in a conscious effort to rid Donald Trump from office but did the klan disappear? I think it’s time to discuss the promises Biden has made to the Black community and how a lot of us aren’t buying it.
At first glance, Joe Biden’s website that talks about his promises to Black America involve making the right to vote and the right to equal protection real but look at what’s happened so far. If following national news became your most time-consuming activity while self-quarantining, then surely you’ve heard about Brian Kemp enforcing voter suppression and legislation in other states targeting BLM protesters specifically. In Florida, Senate Bill 1096 is being pushed by Senator George Gainor and Rep. Jayer Williamson because it would protect drivers who run over protesters that are obstructing traffic. This bill is so blatant that it would essentially protect drivers from liability for injuries incurred and the death of a protester. In a previous blog post, I mentioned the arrest of Rep. Park Cannon on March 25, 2021, as Brian Kemp signed a voter suppression bill into law in Georgia. With the recent murder of Daunte Wright, the state of Minnesota is proposing a new bill that would target protesters and make them ineligible for rent assistance, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and student loans. Racism is a system that oppresses absolutely, and currently, we have a president who’s nonchalant about the real threat to the liberties of the Black community. Biden promised to launch a national police oversight commission at the end of April, but now, what America is witnessing is a president whose switching gears to addressing officers who use excessive force. Back in 2019, there was a significant debate that revealed so much about the America that we live in. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden had choice words to say to one another about race, segregation, and school busing. Harris was quick to say that Biden wasn’t racist despite having worked with two segregationist senators. What I saw was a man who tried to save face even though his track record in his complicity to systemic racism was brought to light. I’m also not a fan of Harris who had the perfect opportunity to say outright that he is racist especially with his speech from 1993 on the crime bill. Kamala Harris’ track record as a district attorney general was under scrutiny when the topic of criminal justice reform came up. These two are professional matches made in heaven for mass incarceration and the prison for-profit system. Democrats barely hold the majority in Congress, Republicans have made it clear they hold no interests in teamwork from the other side of the aisle, unless you include the bipartisanship of the anti-Asian hate bill. The Black community has been fighting for racial equity but we get breadcrumbs of results while other races get legislation passed to their benefit. The next section is going to be a comparison of the stony road traveled thus far and what that means for Black people today.
The mindset of “Rise & Grind” has led people to believe that tax dollars going to the hands of the Americans, is somehow a handout, while corporations who get tax breaks receive bailouts frequently. Capitalism is seen as the only American way, working two or three jobs is the norm, and homelessness is the outcome of laziness. When descendants of the enslaved talk reparations, the first thing that the white majority resorts to is gaslighting talking points like, Slavery was so long ago, You’re just asking for a handout, and my personal favorite, No one alive today was ever a slave! Generations of exploited labor have not completely stopped the Black community from progressing or participating in capitalism to build wealth. 2,000 Black-owned businesses existed in the United States in 1863, 10,000 businesses in 1883, but the growth rate declined between 1883 and 1903. Racial segregation is the reason for the abrupt decline after 1890, so adopting Booker T. Washington’s idea of racial upliftment was the foundation of the illusion of Black capitalism. Black people couldn’t build credit through white bankers, get coverage from white insurance companies, or buy homes through white real estate agencies hence; the Tuskegee economic theory. If you’ve paid attention to social media platforms lately, there’s a push for buying from Black-owned businesses and attempting to keep the Black dollar circulating in the Black community. Another promise of the Biden administration is to advance the economic mobility of the Black community and close the racial wealth gap, but the results are unknown at this time. The same administration that originally wanted to forgive $10,000 of student loan debt when the average amount of debt a college student can find themselves in is $30,000+. So far, Biden has signed an executive order to pause the student loan interest and payments until September. America’s Rescue Plan removes tax penalties if loans are forgiven which is effective until December 25, 2025. The President isn’t the only one who should be under scrutiny at this time because of a little thing called “separation of power”, the Department of Education has to make a response to the $50,000 student loan inquiry. However, the Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School does indicate a stride toward tuition-free community college and training programs for up to two years.
For my melanated kinfolk who have done their research into the history of Black excellence, they know that W.E.B Dubois considered himself a socialist but even he was swept into the flurry of optimism at the endeavor of Black businesses in 1912. When Brown and Stevens Bank of Philadelphia and Stanford Life Insurance located in Atlanta went bankrupt, Dubois urged the masses not to lose hope in Black economic growth, but then the Great Depression hit. It became clear to him that liberation from “profit over people” as the ideology of Black entrepreneurs is going to be as great a crusade in the future as emancipation from chattel slavery. Dubois behooved Black businesses to strive for economic improvement for all Black people, not just the “talented tenth” to hoard a gross amount of wealth. The stereotypes of the 90% still remain in the form of dog whistles from the white majority. The “model minority” myth and the edited Kerner Commission report still serve as “anti-Black rhetoric to continue Black exploitation. If recent events from the Chauvin trial, Daunte Wright’s murder, or the recent murder of Ma’khia Bryant has taught us anything it’s that we still live in a rigid caste system where cops are not public servants but an occupying force. As long as we live in a country where Black people are still subject to the school to prison pipeline system and incarceration is turning a profit, we as a whole, are not truly free no matter how many affluent African-Americans there are. Speaking of affluent African-Americans, let’s explore the Congressional Black Caucus and their complicity to the status quo so far. The Commander-In-Chief may be Joseph R. Biden for the next 4 years but who is supposed to be the true mouthpiece for the Black community? If you visit the Black caucus website then you’ll notice the current issues that they’re promoting solutions to. The one that catches my eye considering the current political climate is the Police Accountability Working Group. The important takeaway from this section of the website is the quote that says, Rebuilding Community Trust. What trust could reasonably be established in Black neighborhoods across the nation to account for the years of state-sanctioned lynching? My concern is the CBC being a performative group of thespians that only serve to satisfy the white palate of the majority to put up a front of racial equity. Truthfully I can’t trust a caucus that Kamala Harris is a part of considering her conviction history as a prosecutor so where do we go from here?
We are not free of exploitation as long as capitalism and prison for-profit systems are still in place. As much as I hate to say it, maybe Abraham Lincoln had a point in saying that Black people would never be accepted by the white majority after the civil war. The people that have truly advocated for the liberation of my race were “violent terrorists” in their time, and then made a footnote as heroes in today’s textbooks if ever they’re mentioned. Black representation is lukewarm at best, and if even just one member acts outside of white acceptability, they are automatically viewed as problematic to the American vision. Joe Biden is not an ally, no apology from him will convince me otherwise, and Kamala Harris is not my hero. Her racial identity has been weaponized to fit the narrative of an inclusive government system while upholding white supremacy. For Black people that hold a place of power, I question if they will do right by us or their own political career.
How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America Manning Marable 2015