Insight News

Feb 08th

Banks should invest in the same community that supports them

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Banks should invest in the same community that supports them

Would it simply be better to stop making deposits in these banks until they start investing in the local Black business community?
. . . And they're off! I'm yelling "Go Baby Go! Go Baby Go!"

Ahh . . . I guess he didn't hear me, because regardless of all my motivational efforts, my horse came in dead last! Oh well, after all that cheering, it's time for a snack. I tell my buddy I'm going to get a beer and brat, and I'll be right back.

Follow me here: I'm at the concession stand, I place my order, "Hey, I'll have a beer and brat," not paying a great deal of attention to the attendant.
He replies, "Sorry, I can only serve you the brat -- you can get your beer from over there."

"Humph," I say, as I take real look at the attendant this time. I notice this pimply-faced white kid behind the counter. "Why is that?" I asked.

He responded, "I can't serve beer, I'm not old enough"
Then I looked over at the entire concession staff; they're all kids -- young white kids. There were six to eight of them.

Now this has my attention. I get inquisitive. The nameless white kid tells me he is fourteen years old. He asks me if I know the bartender upstairs, further stating that she's his mom. She got him the job; you know; "a hook-up."

"Oh?" I say while I am glancing around at the other stands. It seems to be a "white Thang."

Let's analyze a few key words before proceeding. Integration: Adding people of color into an organization. Diversity: More than just white people at any particular setting. Institutional Racism: Approved denial of access based on color. Slavery: Denial of wealth by having people work for free.

By hiring a person of color, you deny a white person that same opportunity. I'll rephrase that; someone white will have to not be hired, in order for a person of color to be hired.

Whoa, now I can imagine the shock on your faces and the anger in some of your thoughts as I express my candid assessment of what integration, institutional racism, slavery and diversity actually comes down to. Someone white has to be excluded for someone of color to make a living!

Sure, there are laws that have been put in place outlawing racism. But what do you do? Call the racism police? "Hello, 911 -- please send the racism police to the concession stand at the horse track and to the local networking hot spot for Friday happy hour gatherings, because there are no Black employees there."

The creation and support of Black-owned and operated establishments have the greatest potential to do what white-owned establishments will not do in most cases, which is to hire Black kids.

When a white person gets the notion that they want to be a business owner, they are prepared. But for them, that preparation started long before they conceived of their business concept. The opportunity was there for them before birth. Place obviously matters.

I was reviewing a map of the Harrison Neighborhood from 1935 drawn by the City of Minneapolis. On the map it labels the neighborhood as "Negro Slums." I was like, "What the . . . ? You're kidding me."

The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 sought to develop opportunities for people of color seeking to borrow money from banks. This is important, because banks systematically enforce their organized racism. Banks have denied both potential and existing Black business owners the necessary loans to start businesses or expand current operations. Let's examine this correlation closer.

Every week our community is encouraged to save a percentage of our income in their local bank. The local bank, a state and federally regulated institution, then loans this money to prospective businesses based on credit worthiness. The bank has an obligation to protect your deposit by following good ban

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