In the 1992 Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s political advisor, James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy stupid.” Here we are twenty-one years and three Presidents later, and guess what? It’s still the economy, stupid.
Anyone who doesn’t believe it should look at the recent front pages of the daily newspapers. A look at the Los Angeles Times, Thursday October 24, 2013 issue, it starts with the Obama Healthcare program. After criticizing the rollout “glitches”, the paper goes on to write about how Dairy Farmers and ranchers in California’s Central Valley are renting their properties out for theme weddings. At $10,000 a wedding, I only wish I had a farm or ranch to rent out.
That story of family farms modifying the way they do business is followed by a story on “Sexism in the Silicon Valley,” which reminded me of a previous story of racism in the Silicon Valley. However, the Sexism article was about the few women who have made it to the top of the ladder in the world’s premier science experiment that paid off.
As a note, I read Black Enterprise, the Atlanta Tribune, the Tri-State Defender, Jet Magazine, Ebony, The Los Angeles Sentinel, and The Pasadena Journal, among other Black publications, in order to keep up with where we are in the economic picture of the world. I must ask, “What are you reading?”
The front page of the local section of the same paper tells that a Federal jury found Bank of America guilty of making bad loans which it then sold to government funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Corporations.
If some of you want to know where your mortgage money went, pick up the story in the Times and you will find out about a game that Countrywide called, The Hustle. The difference is that this time it was not a dance floor move. It was a pocketbook move that destroyed lives, family fortunes, and homes. It moved Black America from the middleclass back to the underprivileged class.
On the subject of the Black middleclass and Fannie Mae, remember the old folks telling us that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Black Americans were made the victims of another hustle in the 1600s. Can you say, “Slavery”?
We keep seeing it in the movies. Right now we see it in a series of movies, from “The Help” to “The Butler.” Those who want to see another version must go and see the historical movie, “Twelve Years a Slave.” These movies put life to the age old question of “How Did We Get Here”?
The movies that are less played include “The Man with the Hole in His Head”, “The Tuskegee Experiment”, “Sweet Daddy Grace”, “Father Divine” and the master of the hustle, Kingfish, from the “Amos ‘n Andy” show.
When local pioneers, like Ed Bryant, builds a Community Education Center, through his Pasadena Youth Christian Center, and ends up going to someone white, like Fuller Theological Center, we lose. The inspirational history is even lost. For example, is it true that a Black person originally owned the property that the Rose Bowl is built on? Versie Mae Richardson and other Blacks created a Community Cultural Center called Alkebulan. While we’re still holding on to this one, it certainly helps us find a source for our gifts after the founders have passed on.
African American families have given much to our communities with varying results. Bill Galloway gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pasadena Community College. Done! Vertus Hardiman left millions of dollars to his beloved Pasadena First A.M.E. Church to develop a perpetual trust to benefit the community. Not done! Others have given according to the word of God that says, to whom much is given, much is required. However, not all the recipients live up to their responsibility when they use it for private purposes.
These stories tell the world how we got over at the expense of our so-called Brothers and Sisters. One thing for sure, the theme is always the same: Money!
I ask two questions, “Where will it take us, and where will it leave us?”