21 Nov Consumerism
The early 20th century was a great time for blacks in Greenwood, OK. The oil boom brought tons of educated, wealthy blacks to the area and it became the Negro Wall Street for many prominent black businessmen.
Prior to its destruction, the predominantly black town was worth over 30 million dollars in today’s currency. Money circulated and stayed in the town because everything was black owned. From the airports to the movie theaters, Greenwood money only ever touched black hands.
In 1921, a devastating race riot resulted in the destruction of nearly 2000 homes and over millions of dollars worth of businesses were burned to the ground. From that day on, we were never able to return to that state again.
Because we don’t know how to utilize our spending power. Back in 2015, Nielsen conducted research and found that blacks had a buying power of over 1.4 trillion dollars. As we stated in our previous article, part of the money we earned went to hair and expendable materials such as shoes and clothes. Interestingly, none of the industries that we’ve invested our money in were industries that invested their money in the black community. One dollar circulates in the black community for only 6 hours, compared to 17 to 20 days for other ethnic communities.
We don’t own the businesses, we don’t invest in youth education for black children and when we prosper we rarely look back and invest in black enterprises.
Consumerism in our communities, has always been our distraction. It is our worship of materials that leads us into a regression of power. Status in the black community is represented by looking rich rather than being rich. Unfortunately, this idolization of consumption has not helped us, in fact it is increased the power of other communities while deterring the power of our own. All it does is hide your pain and expose you for not being aware of how this system really functions.
The capitalist society we live in, thrives from sucking our pockets bone dry by constantly advertising materials we don’t need so they can keep the money and hold the power.
In 1921, Black businessmen in Oklahoma were worth billions by today standards If we want to see that for ourselves, we must invest in our communities by spending in our own communities.
We also need to escape from excessive consumerism.
Last June, the rapper Killer Mike promoted the hashtag #bankblack. This hashtag endorsed black owned banks and in nearly 5 days, one million dollars were moved from commercial banks to some of the most prominent black banks throughout the country.
This movement can help us increase our economic power and move us forward toward an awesome economy for our present and future generations. We should take this one step further by building our businesses and only investing in our own industries. Buying clothes from black owned businesses, owning airports and theatres, possibly even creating black owned franchises that can push other blacks into entrepreneurship.
Ultimately, it is up to us to increase our economic power and we should use the Black Wall Street as example of how it should be done.
If you would like to learn a little bit about these barrier breakers, check out the documentary below. As you watch the documentary, focus on the first three minutes of the video which talks about