For years I have sounded the alarm that an economic storm was coming. My Emmy nominated documentary “Freeway Crack in The System” exposed the incarceration driven band-aid we have put over the long standing issue of racial wealth inequality, by surveying how a generation of jobless blacks turned to drugs to survive, and our answer was incarceration.
We now stand at a place where we have more black men incarcerated than should be allowable. Considering they also descend from slavery should sound the alarms this is systemic, but has largely fallen on mute ears.
In the recent days we have seen these issues that seed from race spill onto to the court and the gridiron, with Colin Kaepernick leading a discussion about the consequence of race in America. When Kaepernick knelt during an NFL game, I knew his days were numbered. How can a league built on feel-good stories of overcoming the odds have a franchise quarterback pointing out the reality that hardly anyone overcomes the odds?
When Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He also was standing up to a system built on ignoring the reality of race in our great nation. A system built on chokeholds of the Eric Garners of the world, rough rides in the paddy wagon experienced by all the Freddie Grays, and the untold stories of the Walter Scotts shot in the back while only trying not to go back to prison. In addition, he set a fire under the Decadent Veil of black celebrity to be called to action in cases of civil justice, like those that came before them from Muhammad Ali to Harry Belafonte.
Now a new report shows that by 2053 the median black family will be worth zero. What does this mean for the prospects for the black family in the twenty first century? I have interviewed everyone from Thomas Shapiro, author of Black Wealth White Wealth, to Billionaire media mogul Byron Allen on the issue, and undoubtedly they all point to transformative politics, and accountability.
Our people need a set of political demands that moves forward on the last dream of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., true economic inclusion. This comes in the form of baby bonds such as those discussed by Professor Sandy Darity of Duke University. A push for college loan forgiveness for American descendants of slavery. Increased access to Small Business Administration loans, from the low blacks experienced under President Obama of 1.8% of the program. And a true demand for discussions around Reparations such as those proposed by Rep. Conyers in HR 40.
We are facing our moment of truth; the hope is we will be ready.
Antonio Moore graduated from UCLA, and Loyola Law School. He is now a practicing Los Angeles based attorney. In recent years he worked as a producer on the Emmy nominated documentary entitled Crack in the System presented by Al Jazeera. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel @ Tonetalks Download the Dash Radio App and catch his show on Dash Talk starting 10/6/2017