- Luncheon discussion strengthens local MMM leadership (FCN, 05-08-2006)
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Restaurateur and radio personality Bob Law, New York State Millions More Movement (MMM) chairman, in conjunction with Cleo Manago and The Black Men’s Xchange-New York (BMX-NY) asked a standing-room group of participants, “What becomes of a people who are race-neutral when everyone else bases their decisions on race? The answer, according to Mr. Law: “The people are in danger of becoming a permanent economic underclass.
Billed as the “Black Is Back Economic Forum, the Mar. 31 meeting was the first in a series mounted by local leaders of the MMM as part of a multi-pronged economic initiative to stabilize Black business in America.
The rationale behind “Black Is Back involves the necessity of affirming all things Black in an environment where constructs like ‘multi-culturalism’ and ‘diversity’ are marginalizing Blackness in all facets of society.
“Black people have become accustomed to seeking racial tolerance, as opposed to racial justice, Mr. Law urged the group, which included parents from continental Africa.
Citing theory and statistics compiled by author Joel Kotkin in the book “Tribes, the three critical characteristics ensuring economic stability in the new global economy are race, religion and identity.
“The way other groups spend money is determined by what happens to their money after they spend it. Other ethnic groups think of the group when shopping. Blacks think of ourselves as individuals, and look for the best price and convenience as the primary criteria for where we spend our money.
This mode of operation is what accounts for the fact that Blacks owned one percent of the wealth in America at the end of the Civil War, and while we spend an estimated $600 billion a year–equivalent to the ninth largest economy of any country in the world–Blacks still own one percent of the wealth in America in 2006.
“Black people are the only group who make excuses for why not to shop at [their own people’s] businesses. ‘They didn’t open on time,’ ‘I didn’t like his attitude’ and ‘They never get my order right,’ as if White businesses never make a mistake, Mr. Law argued. “If this were true, no businesses would have a return counter.
Urging participants to become more aggressively supportive of each other, he reminded that when one runs into inappropriate behavior in the marketplace, it is because the people conducting the business have been mis-educated, having come through an education system that doesn’t respect them and is designed to fail them.
Mr. Manago called to the group’s attention the fact that it is because Black people have been wounded around our Blackness that we tend to be impatient with and unsupportive of each other. “It is in dialogues like these that we must come together to acknowledge the wounds, he encouraged, “so that we can set about commencing the healing process.
In response to Mr. Law’s mention of the recent results of a MMM Black Shopping Survey, record company owner and BMX leader, Trudog asked the group, “Are there at least five Black-owned businesses that you patronize regularly? Someone asked me this question three years ago, he admitted, “and I was hard pressed to answer.
Mr. Law closed by saying, “I am confident that we will be successful in our economic empowerment, because African Americans are the richest, smartest and most resilient Africans on the planet.
(Upcoming initiatives of the MMM alliance include a “Black Is Back Recycle Black Dollars Shopping Tour, the first of which are scheduled as Mother’s Day shopping tours for Saturday, May 6 in Harlem and Brooklyn. For more information, call (212) 928-1957.)