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What Are We Doing?

As I was watching Game 2 of the Lakers vs. Heat, I read the word "Group Economics" on the back of Iggy's jersey and didn't understand what it meant, so of course I had to look it up.

It essentially means a group of people with a common economic interest working together to create a secure economy. For Black folks, it means we need to put our money together, invest in our own communities, and create sustainable businesses, which in turn, will build that generational wealth that so many of us talk about.

I’m sure everyone understands that money is power, and although Black folks are one of the poorest economic groups in this country, we love to spend that almighty dollar. Studies show that Black Americans spend upwards of $1.2 trillion annually on bullshit, which is why big brands market to us. These corporations have been studying our buying habits for years. They know we crave recognition, love to be admired, and are influenced by other people’s opinions. It’s the reason why so many of us, even while living paycheck-to-paycheck, are quick to buy the things we want, then go beg for the things we need. We’re out here living for the moment instead of planning for our future and before you say that ain’t true, answer these questions: How often is Amazon delivering to your doorstep? Who can’t wait to get that next stimulus check before the holidays or that tax refund to recoup what was spent during the holidays? Where are you planning to go once the shelter-in-place is lifted? I rest my case!

I read that Black consumers love to spend their money on beauty and grooming products and we account for almost 90% of the overall spending. We also like to spend our money at high-end department stores, so those Balenciagas - the ones that look like socks, STOP! The Black buying power is important to this economy and it continues to increase, but it’s crazy that the majority of our money is spent outside of the community. We are our best resources, yet reluctant to fund what is necessary for us to grow as a community.

You want generational wealth? Well it begins with assets, like owning a home or better yet land! A high-earning salary is not stability. Becoming an entrepreneur and truly understanding the meaning of financial literacy will provide independence and freedom. Economist Dr. Boyce Watkins said, “the ability to create your own institutions and own systems can protect you from being a tool in somebody else’s system.” This simply means that as long as we work for these white supremacist systems, they will always control us: how much we earn, when we work, where we work, what we will do for the company to ensure its success, etc. We need to support Black businesses that create jobs for us, but more importantly we need to work for ourselves and let go of the slave mentality that forces us to work harder for someone else’s dreams rather than our own.

Group economics is about overcoming the systemic oppression that has prevented us from being homeowners; from sending our children to better schools; and that makes us rely on government aid. It’s about supporting Black businesses and recycling our own monies to better our communities. Ultimately, it’s positioning ourselves to pass down wealth for generations to come.

Photo courtesy of USAToday

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