President Obama and Congress must address the economic genocide in black America before more innocent people lose their lives.
The great American hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us 50 years ago in one of his last speeches, "The Other America," there are two Americas. One has privilege, education, housing, jobs, access to capital, and economic inclusion. And the other America does not. These two separate Americas will not survive. We need one America -- one that includes housing, education, jobs, access to capital, and economic inclusion for every American. This will create a stronger America.
Unfortunately, the speech that Dr. King gave a little over 50 years ago sounds like he gave it yesterday. Every day we are seeing the ugly symptoms of two Americas. Whether it is Ferguson, Oakland, or Baltimore, the escalation continues.
I was very disappointed in President Obama when he called those young men in Baltimore "thugs" and "criminals." He is the President of the United States and he should be above name calling. But beyond the name calling, here's what I found really disappointing: this is not the hope and change I believe the majority of Americans financially supported and voted for. President Obama and others know that we have positioned the African-American community to fail - the statistical data proves it. This failure has now become the great American crisis.
These young men and others around the country that President Obama called "thugs" and "criminals" do not have access to a quality education. They do not have access to jobs. They do not have access to capital that is not predatory. What they do have plenty of access to are drugs, alcohol, guns, and gangs. This is Economic Genocide.
What America must remember is that we are approximately 327 million people out of 7 billion globally. For America to compete with our international neighbors, we need all American citizens to bring their best intellectual capital and be fully engaged -- today and in the future.
Unfortunately, under the Obama Administration the statistical data has gotten worse and not better. Under the Bush Administration, unemployment for African-Americans was 10 percent. Under President Obama it has increased to 14 percent.
Poverty for African-Americans under the Bush Administration was 25 percent. Under President Obama, it has grown to 27 percent. The median income for African-Americans under the Bush Administration was $38,409. Under the Obama Administration, the median income has dropped to $33,321.
For African-Americans, home ownership has also dropped to a 25-year low. The wealth gap between white America and black America under President Obama has grown by 30 percent. These numbers are completely unacceptable. Every day we turn on our televisions broadcasting more tension and I can't help but remember the words of music icon, Gil Scott-Heron: "The revolution will not be televised."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best: "This will do nothing but invite social disaster." As he warned us more than 50 years ago, these numbers prove that America is on the verge of social collapse.
Coretta Scott-King was a personal friend and she told me, as African-Americans we have faced four major challenges: 1. End slavery 2. End Jim Crow, 3. Achieve civil rights, and 4. Achieve economic inclusion. Without a quality education and economic inclusion, we are nothing more than modern-day slaves. Lets truly take off the chains.
President Obama, with very little time left within your administration, clearly we have a lot of work to do. So here is what we need to accomplish to make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream and all of our dreams a reality:
1. Education reform: With a 47 percent inner-city high school dropout rate (Baltimore alone is 59 percent), we need education reform. We must invest more capital and resources to educate our children so that they are prepared to achieve a college-level education.
a. Hire college students to tutor pre-K through 12. This will help provide much needed jobs and educate our children at the same time.
b. Issue American education bonds that pay a tax-free yield. The bonds will help educate our children and the tax-free yield will incentivize the $15 trillion in cash liquidity that Americans have to invest.
2. Ensure access to non-predatory home loans: U.S. taxpayers invested approximately $475 billion to bail out the banks and other large corporations. Audit the banks and mandate that they make home loans to all Americans - especially African-Americans, the furthest left behind - so that the African-American community can close the large home-ownership gap.
3. Audit the banks and mandate that they make business loans to African-American owned businesses: This is very important because 60 percent of the employment in America is provided by small businesses, and African-Americans are not able to employ people in our communities without the necessary capital.
4. Make the Internet free: At the very least, you must make the Internet free in areas that are poverty-stricken. Without the Internet and access to information, poverty-stricken households will never catch up to households above the poverty line - throwing the African-American community deeper into the stone ages. This is also in the best interest of homeland security. Every American should have access to real time information at affordable prices.
5. Equality in justice: Your former Attorney General Eric Holder told the world that with all things being equal, African-American males receive 20 percent longer sentences than white males committing the same crime. Please launch civil rights investigations to correct this and numerous other injustices.
6. Government economic inclusion: Make sure that 100 percent African-American owned media participates in your annual $2 billion advertising budget such as "Join the Army," "Join the Navy," "Join the Marines," et cetera. This ad support will provide much needed capital to create jobs and help to ensure that all of our voices are heard and widely distributed - which is the very definition of a true democracy.
7. Access to capital: President Obama, you control approximately $1 trillion in government worker pension fund money. None of that capital is managed by people in the African-American community or invested with entrepreneurs from the African-American community. This access to capital and investments will provide much needed jobs and opportunities in our communities.
8. Stand up to corporate institutionalized racism: A top AT&T executive was recently caught in the horrific act of sharing a meme that used the "N" word. A subsequent lawsuit revealed AT&T had been covering it up for close to two years, perpetuating institutionalized racism. The executive in question was a "key player" overseeing the merger of AT&T and DirectTV, TMZ reported. Do not let AT&T buy DirectTV for $67.5 billion and become the largest telecommunications and television company without launching a civil rights investigation and making sure AT&T settles the lawsuits against them for these heinous racist acts. If we don't send a message to corporate America that institutionalized racism is completely unacceptable, black America will never truly participate in the economic landscape.
President Obama, for most African-Americans, the American dream is a nightmare. This nightmare has become the great American crisis. Half the women in this country are living at, or below the poverty line. If our mothers fail, most likely so will our children.
President Obama, please remember we bought the hope and change you promised us. If we do not achieve economic inclusion, as laid out to us by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years ago, there will be no change and we will lose all hope.
Most of the solutions on this list you can achieve without the support of Congress.
President Obama, please stop the economic genocide.