Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 01 June 2020
Today, CNBC ran a story citing BET Founder Robert Johnson calling for $14 trillion of reparations for slavery, as one of the ways to redress the racial divide in the United States.
America is currently under a cloud of racial turmoil following the killing of yet another Black male at the hands of Law Enforcement. George Floyd died during an arrest in Minneapolis, where he repeatedly stated he was having difficulty breathing as a White Police Officer’s knee was firmly planted on his neck for nearly nine minutes, pinning him to the ground
Many cities have taken on scenes of protests and outrage, to what many see as a deep disregard for Black lives by many of those in authority in the U.S.
BET Founder Johnson, in his CNBC appearance stated, “reparations would send the signal that white Americans acknowledge “damages that are owed” for the unequal playing field created by slavery and the decades since.”
MNI Media disagrees with Johnson to a degree, but nor entirely. His context in some ways makes sense in terms of the access issues he mentions, but this cash to whom exactly remains muddy by way of his explanation.
Does the cash go towards Universities for Black people? Healthcare providers for Black people? Business loans/grants for Black communities? Housing access programmes for our people?
Johnson said that he’s not advocating “more bureaucratic programs that don’t deliver and don’t perform.”
Ok, I agree with him on that but then he went on to say, “I’m talking about cash. We are a society based on wealth. That’s the foundation of capitalism.”
Yes true, but what does he suggest this trillion-dollar cash injection go towards?
Calling for reparations is one thing but the desire for it must be met with a plan of deeper empowerment of the Black Community beyond saying the Black Community deserves this cash for 200+ years of free Labour by our forefathers.
I am more inclined to Merck Chairman and CEO Ken Frazier's thinking in some regards where he said, “Leaders in the business community have to be a unifying force. They can be a source of opportunity. They can be a source of understanding.”
If we are calling for cash, then what will it be used for to build the Black Community?
A Wider Conversation Beyond Skin Colour
So many of us within the Black Community continue to allow ourselves to be played into this repeat game. Race again is the central theme with this new conflict in the United States. The Black Community won't win this obsessive skin colour conversation the way it is being fought.
All White people are not racists, but those with White Supremacist leanings surely are.
My wider view is that this fight goes beyond the Black/dark skin. It also goes beyond a cash hand back to Blacks for slavery. When this cash runs out, then what is left? Still the very same denial of the Black race as before?
This fight is more profound. The larger forces at play feeding the racism flame - is to keep the Black community from ever finding true social unity and economic empowerment, to know our true selves beyond the colour of our skin.
Beyond the Black Race, there are other ethnicities with their own internal conflicts, yet they seemingly still find a way to pull together and collectively make waves and create impact. They too face racism but look at how they advance in both a social and economic union. That is their POWER!
Whereas with us, the Black race, we have pockets of the example as cited prior, but we require more in a broader way.
The Black Community is fighting this external fight towards those who perceive themselves better than us because of skin colour and other social prejudices; seeking to keep our race subjugated. That is a fight that MUST be had for sure. But also, within our communities, we have got to further establish our own frontlines, to build out our *Communities of Prosperity**- both literally and figuratively - by working on us a people Building Our Own and Empowering our Own.
So how do we advance?
It's beyond your skin colour. There is a deeper meaning and purpose that we are being kept from realising, as our energies are blocked with a distraction and an obsession over skin colour. So, they give us labels that we accept - "coloured”….”exotic” …..”ethnic minority” …. …"mixed"......
On the record, I have repeatedly questioned why we accept these racially infused labels? Mentally and socially we should reject such labels. If we cannot be seen as a wholesome part of the human family, then clearly, we are not viewed as equals. That right there creates a platform for conflict to arise.
Let's raise the conversation beyond skin colour towards real actualisation and living our true power, but collectively so, via pushing more for access to the same opportunities afforded other ethnicities to thrive and grow.
Instead of cash reparations, put this financial strength into our schools; healthcare programmes; housing programmes beyond the “projects”; business and entrepreneurship schemes; Educational empowerment within our communities; media and communications enterprises that uplift us and not cast us as stereotypes. Plus, so much more.
The system is against us with their skin colour distraction. So now our Black billionaires and multi-millionaires - plus other social, political and community leaders have got to come to the table and put together a masterplan or how we as a people are going to empower our own communities. There must be Leadership on this.
For if the Black Community does not make this a matter of urgency, then we will be wasting time with decades more of fruitless chatter and pandering to more disrespectful engagement. We need to break away from that mode of disregard and disrespect.
Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Founder & Editorial Director at Marketing, News & Information Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
MNI Media; a two times New York, USA, Award Winning Media House.