Soledad O’Brien’s latest CNN special report in her Black in America series is certainly her most practical yet in that it addresses the timely question of how to manage your money during these trying financial times. The show is apt to be of salient interest to African-American communities all across the country, given how they’re beset by skyrocketing rates of unemployment and home foreclosures.
At the center of this installment is Reverend Buster Soaries who sets the tone at the outset by making the incendiary comment that “Debt is a bigger problem than racism” for black folks today. The New Jersey-based minister is no stranger to controversy, having run interference for President Bush in the wake of the heavily-disputed 2000 Presidential Election by serving as the first Chairman of the Administration’s newly-established Election Assistance Commission.
Here, Reverend Soaries positions himself as a “revolutionary pastor” by finding scriptural passages to make an analogy between debt and slavery as he preaches in the pulpit at his church in New Jersey. Given how many ministers tend to worry more about Heaven than material concerns, it is rather refreshing to see a member of his profession offering answers aimed at to alleviating the pain his congregation is suffering in a Hell on Earth.
To break out of economic bondage, it is suggested that black folks need to free themselves from a “culture of debt” by transforming themselves from conspicuous consumers to sage investors. As far as the familiar mindset of relying just on faith in Jesus alone for financial salvation, it is duly noted that such “optimism needs to be rooted in reality.”
Soaries’ thesis is supported by Dr. Julianne Malveaux who states that “African-Americans have a spending problem.” Thought-provoking ideas from a Republican cleric as dedicated to leading his flock to the black as to the Promised Land.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 120 minutes
To see a trailer for Almighty Debt, visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/09/23/inam.trailer.almighty.debt.cnn