Is Success Limited For Black People?


Is Success Limited for Black People? By Tanisha Billops

If you take a look at history, black people have been the disfranchised people. It started with slavery. Black people were taught by whites and other blacks that they were not good enough, savage, and meant to live a lesser existence than other races. There’s forgotten history. As a black woman from the United States my history goes back as far as 3-4 generations and after that who knows. Black people have taken on a lot of pain and negative emotions of others which in return broke the spirit of many generations. Black people continue to be plagued with economic disfranchisement, police brutality, and racism, just to name a few.

Recently, police brutality has been at the forefront of discussions. The Black Lives Matter Movement has spread throughout the world. There objective for the group, is to protest for freedom and justice for all black people. While this is a good objective to shoot for, we must get to the root of the problem in order to really change it.

While blacks have music/ entertainment, sports, and reality tv covered, the black community is failing behind in all others. If I were to give the black community a grade it would be a D- ( At first I was going to give an F, but I decided to give a little more for effort).

I would like to start off looking at some data about businesses. My position is simple, the role of business is to create wealth. The word “wealth” comes from two old English words – “weal” and “th” meaning “the condition of well being” or as Robert Kennedy put it “the things that make life worth living”. ManyI would argue that the role of business has always been the same, to build and maintain the condition of well being. It’s clear that over time society’s views and perceptions of business’s license to operate has changed but one thing has remained central, the drive for success and competitive advantage. We often talk about business as if it is a living entity in its own right, but business is a community of people, a cross-section of society, open to normal human frailties – largely motivated these days by greed and fear. So in this context, should we be surprised that the shorthand for well being has become profit, financial return and monetary reward?

There is a huge Systemic imbalance that most are aware of, but here are some stats to put what I’m talking about, in a more realistic perspective; As of 2012, black owned businesses in the United States increased 34.5% between 2007 and 2012 totaling 2.6 million Black firms. This fact is why, I bumped up the grade to a D- instead of an F. If you look more into the data, more than 95% of these businesses started by blacks are mostly sole proprietorship or partnerships which have no paid employees. About 4 in 10 black-owned businesses (1.1 Million) in 2012 operated in the health care, social assistance; and other services such as repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors. Black owned businesses mainly have no employees and produce service sector jobs.

Now lets take a look at white businesses. As of the 2012 dense data, White owned businesses create 55.9 Million jobs which is enough to employ 44% of the white working population while black owned businesses create 1 million jobs enough to employ 4% of the black working age population. If every black person pulled there money together rich and poor black would have 187.6 billion dollars; enough to give every black person $7k per year. If all the white people pulled all there money together they would have 12.9 trillion and enough to give each white person $102k per year. You tell me who is loosing the race? No pun intended.

According to the data, Blacks have have no money, power or leverage. Protesting gets the attention of others, but it’s not enough. On the other end of the spectrum, getting angry and taking vigilantly justice is counter productive.

One thing that black people are known for is having a lot of pride and self awareness. Although, The black community is very skeptical and has a lot of fear we have to push through fear and look at the good. Those who are not fearful need to lead the way, by getting involved in politics, starting a business, and buying real estate. Things cannot be equal until we help ourselves.

Until Black people provide THEIR communities with economic opportunity, helping blacks purchase real estate, build infrastructure and start black owned businesses (mainly; banks, grocery stores and restaurants) the whole community will continue to suffer.

Please comment below, I would like to hear some of your ideas…Do you think that people limit themselves or does society limit your accomplishments?

References:

The Role of Business in Society, Pwc.com, September 29, 2011

The African American Population Report, http://blackdemographics.com/economics/black-owned-businesses/2013

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