Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 and Beyond (The need for common currency)

On the eve of a new year, it is a good time to assess, wish and recommend. This site must take advantage of the season to express some of our hopes and dreams for the future of our race and by extension our country.

Our focus in this post on a "common currency" reflects a dream that black Americans will come to recognize and pursue a basic set of values and principles that we can collectively rally around.

This site continues to believe that knowledge (education) is the secret weapon for the uplifting of not only our race but also our country. Education is the vehicle that will allow the participants in this great democracy to reach their full potential.

Education( not just a diploma or degree, but achieving academic excellence) is the means for taking advantage of the opportunities offered by our nation. Blacks must move to a mental model of personal responsibility and self-improvement if we are to break free of poverty, disease and down right misery.

Recent polling by the Pew Research Center seems to point to a fracture within the black race. For example, 37 percent of blacks feel we can no longer be viewed as one race because of a continuing class divide. Think about that!

Henry Louis Gates in a recent article said "Why can't black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality, birth within marriage, parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework? Imagine Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson distributing free copies of Virginia Hamilton's collection of folktales The People Could Fly or Dr. Seuss, and demanding that black parents sign pledges to read to their children."

We must also begin to focus on economics in terms of net worth vs. income. Gates sites work by economist Edward Wolff that is truly astonishing. According to Wolff, in 2004, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households was $11,800 as compared with a figure of $118,300 for non-Hispanic white households.

It is fairly common knowledge that in America the bulk of our net worth is locked in home equity. Notwithstanding the recent crisis in sub prime lending, blacks must understand the importance of property ownership ( buy a house and not a car) and take care to maintain the property once you own it.

Americans fund a significant portion of their "privilege and advantage" from wealth or otherwise net-worth and not income. Blacks must identify asset classes that help build net-worth (stocks, bonds, 401k's, Ira's, rental property, and savings accounts) and move to acquire and build these types of assets. Good credit, in my view, is also something that should be viewed by blacks as a valuable asset class.

With these thoughts, I bid you and yours a happy New Year! As always, we invite your views on any topic or position raised on this site.

No comments:

Visitors to the Site