Written by Teodrose Fikre
There are many issues that beset our people as a persistent lack of opportunity, systematic exclusion from enjoying the benefits of the broader American public and hopelessness is the normal for large swaths of the “African-American” community. No one can deny that institutional racism plays a large part in the overall condition of our people and to do so would be myopic thinking. However, there are many factors that contribute to our continued lag as a community as far too many are mired in poverty and insufficiency in ways that calls for a Marshal plan to lift our people from a state of cyclical hardship.
There are really two variables that contribute to our continued struggle as a people. The first one is evident and is one that everyone focuses on. Generational injustice and a legacy of systematic repression has kneecapped a large portion of our community into a state of recurrent penury and tribulation. To be born “black” in America for some is akin to being born into exigency. It is hard for a child to keep up in school and to earn an education when that child is raised in a household where poverty is normal and struggle is a fact of life. Add on top of this the fact that in too many corners being a certain hue precludes opportunities, there are plenty of external factors that contribute to the dire state of the “African-American” community.
However, we would be remiss if we did not address the internal factors that lead the prevalence of privation that afflicts way too many in our community. We as a people need to be more self-sufficient and start supporting our own businesses. Other communities thrive because they understand the imperative of reinvesting in their own people. This facet of investing our money and resources in our own communities and neighborhood is equal to external factors that cripple too many. The level of spending power in our community is truly astounding, we are one of the main drivers of consumerism which is why corporations spend billions targeting their ads and commercials at our community.
Imagine then if we kept the money in our own neighborhoods and supported entrepreneurs within our neighborhoods. The number one driver of endless societal ills like crime, drug use, and poverty can be attributed right back to economic inequality. As we strive to level the playing field, let us equally look within and start to do for ourselves apart from what others can do for us. True enough the squeaky hinge gets the oil, but how much longer much we squeak instead of just making our own oil and being financially viable as a community?
Over the coming weeks, I’m going to write about various factors that impact our communities such as “black on black” violence, the lack of our own history and dependency on others to tell our story (which is why I use quote marks on these labels by the way) and other factors that have a tremendous impact on the lives that we lead and the lives of our children. I will not do so from a political or partisan lens but through the lens of self-sufficiency and liberation from within instead of waiting for someone to do for us from without. Next week, I will focus on the “prison-industrial complex and how that industry has become the 21st century form of the slave triangle. I look forward to our conversations together and a mutual journey towards finding solutions as a community.
Founder at Ghion Journal
Teodrose Fikre is a published author and a prolific writer whose speech idea was incorporated into Barack Obama’s south Carolina victory speech in 2008. Once thoroughly entangled in politics and a partisan loyalist, a mugging by way of reality shed political blinders from Teodore’s eyes and led him on a journey to fight for universal justice.
Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Salassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The grand-son of Emperor Atse Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.
Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of “Serendipity’s Trace” and newly released “Soul to Soil”, two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.