Does Black Wealth Create Division Amongst Our Own?
By: Deveney Marshall
A few days ago I stumbled upon a twitter rant with a guy speaking about how black wealth can never be a real thing, I decided to read the entire thread before I jumped to any conclusions on what he was trying to say, but the more I read the more infuriated I became. His whole take was that most black people in this country financially struggle and that we have to “first stay afloat before we even think about wealth.” He even went on to discourage black people from even trying to obtain wealth and “to just worry about themselves and not the next generation.”
The thread left me very perplexed. It was clear this person had never looked at the world on a broader spectrum and only could see blackness and our finances from his viewpoint. I was even more confused by the amount of other black people that had replied agreeing with him, and the overwhelming amount of retweets and likes the thread had. Had it never occurred to him or these other black people that black wealth was attainable? And furthermore, that some black people had already attained it?
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Like with everything else in this life, wealth, is a subject matter that is incredibly nuanced. Everyone defines the word differently, and most often people believe it is only associated with specific ethnic backgrounds. Now I’m not naive, I will acknowledge that non-black people, specifically white people have the upper hand in attaining wealth due to white privilege and systematic oppression against minorities, however, I still believe it is very possible for us as well. Yes the odds are stacked against us more, and we will have more of a difficulty achieving affluence than our racial counterparts, it still can be attainable for us.
Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of black people view wealth as a bad thing that only creates division. While I will agree this is partially true based off of how this country handles financial power, I don't believe black wealth would have the same negative effects. Instead of using wealth to enslave others, we would use that financial power to liberate a large portion of our people. An abundance of black wealth would provide resources that cater to the empowerment of black people, and help improve our livelihoods, mental health, and institutions.
For instance, take Lebron James starting his public school, he is going to change the course of so many black kids lives by giving them the resources they need to succeed. This will go on to have a domino effect on other black youth, since most likely the students will become inspired to help others. If Lebron would have listened to the advice of that pessimistic tweeter and shied away from being a pro athlete, he would have never cared to invest his riches and create wealth. Furthermore, stopping the progression of so many black lives. Don’t be fooled by the media, angry tweeters, and statics that favor systematic oppression. There are so many black and wealthy individuals who are investing in our people and our advancement. We do not have to be like our racial counterparts, and use wealth to control.
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As black people, we have to stop placing limitations on ourselves. Financial freedom will never be easy for us, but that doesn't mean we should give into systematic inequality, and not even try. Black wealth would make a significant difference, and the people in power know this, which is why they attempt to keep it out of our reach.
We owe it to our ancestors to build impactful black communities. They did not fight, die, and lose their freedom for us to sit back and not take hold of our own narratives. We also owe it to the many generations that will come, to leave legacies that will give them a leg up in life. Having financial freedom does not mean they will become lazy or entitled, it will give them the opportunities to create the fruitful villages our ancestors dreamt about.
Black people please know you can obtain generational affluence and financial freedom. It is not out of your reach like they want you to believe. From this day forward, I want all of the black people reading this to make a vow to themselves that they will leave a financial legacy behind. I’m a firm believer that whatever you speak will come to pass. Understand that you do not work as hard as you do to just pay bills or “stay afloat.” Black people deserve to live a life filled with financial prosperity as well. So go out into the world and create the financially abundant life I know you can have. And if you find yourself questioning do you deserve this? Then obtain it for your people, your lineage, and most importantly your ancestors.
Deveney M. *Deveney Marshall is a New Orleans-based filmmaker, actress, and freelance writer. She runs the lifestyle & beauty website thedevandthecity.com. Follow her thoughts & life on twitter and IG: @devandthecity