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TEN TRENDS MOVING BLACK
Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are already going.
IN A CAPITALISTIC society, if you want to make a difference, you first need to make a profit. I believe that economic power through business ownership, workplace excellence, and wealth creation strategies is the next major movement in Black America.
For each one of us, wealth creation is now our foremost moral responsibility, because as the individual grows stronger, the community grows stronger; the stronger our community, the stronger the nation. I realize that one person alone cannot solve all of our economic ills, but if each of us succeeds personally, together I believe we can change society.
Where do "trends" come in?
A trend is a prevailing tendency moving society in a general direction. The economic trends I see evolving will lead to Blacks and whites building powerful new partnerships to win in culturally diverse workplaces and globally competitive marketplaces. Economic parity will improve race relations and create new jobs and wealth for African Americans because in the eyes of those who control America's wealth we will be seen as equals at the table of capitalism.
The matter of race and color has always been about conserving wealth and power. Today, with greater access to education, technology, and opportunity, we can finally address the only color that determines real power in America:green.
Over the past three years, in my quest to find out what people are doing to solve some of our most complex economic and social problems, I have traveled over a half million miles to over a hundred different cities. I have given more than five hundred speeches -- to audiences as small as twenty-five and as large as three thousand people, in churches, clubs, boardrooms, halls, and conference centers. Along the way I have met hundreds of business and community leaders from all walks of life.
From these experiences, as well as reading and studying the extensive works of today's top economic and social analysts, I have come to perceive what I consider to be the top ten trends moving Black Americans forward.
THE FIRST WAVE of Black empowerment in the nineteenth century was dedicated to obtaining our physical freedom. The second wave, in the mid-twentieth century, targeted civil and human rights and created affirmative action. Now the third wave is squarely focused on, freeing ourselves from economic enslavement and achieving economic power in the twenty-first century.
Educational opportunity, civil rights, and affirmative action have enabled many African Americans to become gainfully employed and to become business owners and key players in the national economy. Economic activism will be the new springboard for political power, job creation, and wealth accumulation. The elimination of personal debt and overuse of credit will also contribute to the creation of wealth in Black America. A new Black consciousness is being driven by economic literacy programs and multiple options.
Over a five-year period (1987-1992) Black business start-ups rose by 46 percent and job creation was at an all-time high. With a 1996 Black American economy of nearly $400 billion a year, our population growing at about 3 percent each year, and our income growing approximately 5.1 percent each year, within one more generation our economy will exceed $1.5 trillion, a financial force to reckon with.
In the interest of community development, church associations and coalitions are getting together to start more banks and member-owned credit unions. Several groups are setting up rotating credit associations, which allow participants to contribute to a single fund. When the fund reaches a preestablished goal, it is given in part to an individual contributor. Then the fund starts building up all over again. The same principle will be used to pool resources among member organizations, which would allow institutions to lend each other large sums of money.
Real estate acquisition is a crucial piece of the economic development puzzle, and one that has been extraordinarily difficult for Blacks to work out in the past. In the near future, more community-based home-purchasing programs will become available through nonprofit organizations and churches; these lenders will be more amenable to giving mortgages to those with inadequate credit or collateral. Cleveland, Oakland, Detroit, and other large urban centers already have "No Money Down" and "Low Down Payment" programs in place. And if you are willing to live in the inner city, you may be able to obtain a Mortgage and also money to rehabilitate the property. For those able to work as a group, the potential for real estate acquisitions will be magnified.
Small business start-ups will continue to multiply; the number of Black-owned businesses today stands at 620,165, representing a 46 percent increase from 1987 to 1992. The traditional mindset of "Get a good education and then get a good job" is shifting to "Get a good education and then create a good job" by starting your own business or being more entrepreneurial in the workplace. What is abundantly clear is that Black folks are focused on getting a larger share of the economic pie.
WE ARE BECOMING a nation of strong tribes in which each group looks to its own heart for validation and its own traditions and resources for upward mobility. Common ethnicity, language, culture, interests, and spiritual beliefs empower these groups. As they gain confidence and power, I believe they will reach out to other groups to network for economic development and creative problem-solving.
For many in an enlightened society this trend represents a throw-back to the basest kind of clannishness, usually identified with the excesses of Islamic fundamentalism, the present chaos within the former Soviet bloc, or the tribal strife in many African nations, such as Somalia and the Congo (formerly Zaire). Increased emphasis on religion and ethnic culture promotes the likelihood of humanity breaking itself into narrow, exclusive, and often hostile groups.
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|3||Key Building Blocks for Economic Success||38|
|4||Education and Training: Knowledge Is Power|
|Profile: Mary S. Martin||58|
|5||Finance and Banking: The Manifestation of Power|
|Profile : Cheryl D. Broussard||82|
|6||Small Businesses Lead to Big Businesses|
|Profile : Carole Gellineau||103|
|7||Technology: Cashing in on the Digital Revolution|
|Profile : E. David Ellington||129|
|8||Publish or Perish|
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|9||Rebuilding Our Neighborhoods|
|Profile : Leon Hogg||176|
|10||Let Us Entertain You|
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|11||Sports: Kicking Down the Remaining Doors|
|Profile : Wayne Embry||219|
|12||Health Care: Taking Care of Our Own|
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|13||Global Commerce: Seizing Opportunities in the New World Order|
|Profile : Eugene D. Jackson||261|