America. America is a land of opportunity. The land of the courageous. Financial independence is a dream that people from all over the world strive for here. In the United States, can that happen? Yes. That being the case, why do so many black families struggle to break free of poverty?
Looking at blacks in the United States and their monetary resources reveals many complex dynamics. Here are a few examples:
1) The starting point for black families is a huge disadvantage. The majority of the time, they see their parents going through financial hardships as they grow up. For most families, it’s difficult to make ends meet, even with a mother and father living together in the same house because of low wages. The children who struggled to break the cycle grew up with a mindset of struggle that stayed with them into adulthood.
2) There was little focus on post-secondary education. It was the dream of many parents and families that their children would do better in school, go to college, and land a good job. Some of them, however, do not. It’s difficult to instil a love of learning in your children if your parents weren’t particularly bright in the classroom.
3) There is almost no discussion of money in the household. The importance of saving money, creating a budget, banking, lending and the value of owning a home were not taught to many black Americans until they were adults in the real world. Because of this, when they started working, their white counterparts began to use the same strategies that their parents had taught and shown them as children. For many black children, economic hardship was the only thing they saw in their lives.
There are many foreigners who come to the United States, and their success is often a family affair. In many cases, the entire family is involved in the business, including relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as cousins and siblings. They put in long hours at their jobs and make sure their children are well-educated. As a result, they are able to withstand the challenges that come with starting a business.
This sense of “we all work together to ensure the success of all of us” does not exist in black families. Slavery, which had its roots in separation to maintain control, has destroyed the black family that once strutted its stuff. There are very few black businesses where the entire family is actively involved in its success. Sometimes, a family tries to do it all. And it’s not always the goal to educate the children. The goal is to survive.
In order to lift the centuries-old stigma and curses that have been placed on African-Americans by an uncaring society, more than just speeches and promises will be required. Starting when black families realise the importance of uniting around a common goal and successful blacks giving back to other black families is a good place to start. If we want to see the black race achieve its full potential, we must put forth a concerted effort from everyone.