Black Development

student-accounts

After the shootings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling many black folks decided they’d had enough. Overnight, black banks received a surge of new deposits. In a five day period in July, Citizen’s Trust Bank in Atlanta opened 8,000 new accounts! Industrial Bank in Washington opened over 1,500 new accounts with deposit balances of approximately $2.7 million in the last month, according to their Facebook page. So what now? Moving our money is necessary and a radical act of protest for sure but movements change the world, not momentary protests.

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Georgetown University is a microcosm of America: built on slavery, unwilling to repay that debt and still maintaining our admiration and support. Georgetown University has an endowment of $1.5 billion. In its early days the school relied on Jesuit slave plantations to finance its operations. In 1838, however, the school was close to financial ruin. Georgetown survived thanks to the

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  (FILE PHOTO) Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a fumble in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Smith and the Saints will take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 95653900 GTY ID: 94657

Will Smith was a freakishly fast athlete, but he couldn’t outrun New Orleans. The details of his murder are still hazy, but one thing is for sure: that city killed him. By all accounts, Smith was an upstanding family man who loved the city and contributed a great deal to it; but it wasn’t enough. At 6’3 and weighing 280, he still wasn’t large enough to rise above the realities of New Orleans and neither are we. Regardless of how personally responsible he or any of us are, we’re still vulnerable to the worst elements of our cities. Unless we commit ourselves not only to personal achievement but also participation in radical social transformation, we all remain at risk.

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This piece is explicitly for black America. We have remained on the bottom of just about every social indicator since we were brought to America, for many reasons. I’ve given up on America giving us our just due, but even so, we can solve many of the issues that ail us in the next thirty years. Seriously. With the emergence of “Black Lives Matter” many of us are becoming more conscious or ‘woke’ but just maybe we haven’t been fully informed on what it will take to eradicate black oppression or the level of sacrifice it will require. To be truly ‘woke’ requires more than tweeting.

UNITED STATES - October 5: The American flag flies at half staff in honor of the school shooting at Umpqua Community College last week in Roseburg, Ore., in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, on Monday, October 5, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The movie “Lean on Me” has a powerful, yet underrated scene in which Principal Joe Clark is reprimanded by his superior to which he responds, “We are being crucified by a process that is turning black into a permanent underclass!” That’s heavy stuff. Joe Clark’s sobering prediction is not well remembered in the film and not considered seriously enough, especially when we discuss political priorities. That’s precisely what I thought about when someone complained to me that President Obama hadn’t nominated a black person for the Supreme Court.

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Tamir Rice and LaQuan McDonald were both unarmed and killed by police. The top prosecutors in Cleveland and Chicago were both voted out of office, largely due to the way they handled those two cases. Many are calling this a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement but in reality, I’m not sure the movement can ultimately win. The system is just way too complicated, by design.

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley bows to applause after speaking during a memorial service at Morris Brown AME Church for the people killed Wednesday during a prayer meeting inside a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015. Police arrested 21-year-old suspect Dylann Storm Roof Thursday in Shelby, N.C. without resistance. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Paula White is a thin, white, barbie-like preacher who became popular by learning to preach like and appeal to black churchgoers. She’s been married three times (full disclosure: I’m divorced myself). She divorced her first husband soon after becoming a Christian. Along with her second husband, she started what grew to be a megachurch, largely attended by black folks. Paula’s lifestyle grew to include million dollar condos, private jets and so much swag that even Congress felt the need to investigate her. Paula now pastors another majority black megachurch and still makes her living from black dollars. She also became the latest high profile endorser of Donald Trump. So why are those negroes in her church still?

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Jay Z purchased Tidal early in 2015. Since that time, he’s worked tirelessly to promote the company. Jay Z has also gone out of his way to point out the backlash to black ownership he’s experienced in the process. At his 2015 B-Sides Concert, he went so far as to call out his competitors and the inherent white privilege they receive, in contrast to himself.

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Unless you live under a rock, you know that Tim Wolfe stepped down as President of Mizzou this week. You know the details, I’ll spare you. We’ve heard much about the lessons from Mizzou: the collective power of black athletes for social change, the value of solidarity among races within a struggle and so on. There are, however, a few lessons that we didn’t quite catch from this latest racial happening. Full disclosure: I’m saving the best for last.

black votes matter

The Democrats hosted their first candidate debate on October 13th and until today, I hadn’t watched it. Why? I sort of already knew the script. I could have told you that we’d hear about guns, commitment to LGBT rights, the middle class and perhaps “Black Lives” mixed in somewhere. That’s about what happened. The message I received was pretty straightforward: the only test acknowledged this cycle for securing black votes is the ability to recite a hashtag. After that, candidates need only return to the business of white affairs and they knew it.