Black Money Brasil: Historian Beaks Down Problem with Concept
Note from BW of Brazil: In a number of past articles, I have demonstrated my interest in exploring the concept of “black money” that a some Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurs have been promoting for a few years now. In theory and on paper, it’s a wonderful idea. Black Brazilians supporting buying black, supporting black business owners and circulating the “black real” (real being the Brazilian currency) within the community so that it remains in the community as often as currencies circulate in other, more prominent communities.
Fully acknowledging that success stories usually start off as nothing more than a dream, I commend anyone coming up with such an expansive goal. After all, you gotta start somewhere, right? But the problem with such an idea in a country like Brazil is that you must consider just how far behind the black community really is. As I’ve pointed out in so many other areas (CEOs, PhDs, judges, etc.), because Brazil’s black population lags so far behind the white population, any progress or talk of “the first black (fill in the blank)” is sometimes equated with somehow making it and now being on par with the dominant society.
Perhaps reminiscent of MLK’s famous “dream” of overcoming, the black Brazilian community has a long ways to go to get to that “promised land”. Consider one study that estimated that it would take about 72 years for black Brazilians to reach equality of salary with the white population. Not being pessimistic here, just stating the facts. I have already broken down why I believed that the concept of Black Money is nearly structurally impossible for Brazil’s black population, but in the piece below, historian Suzane Jardim breaks it down even further and from a different angle. Check it out.
“Black Money Brasil: Why don’t we do the same in Brazil?”: Impressions about the saddest text I’ve read in recent times – Historian breaks down problem with the concept
By Suzane Jardim
Some time ago, the Portal Geledés republished a text called “Precisamos falar sobre o ‘Black Money'” (We Need to Talk about “Black Money”). This one:
It was only today that this text came to my knowledge and, honestly, it was one of the most painful readings I have done recently.
You can read the text if you want because from now on it is to it that I will discuss.
Cornel West has a chapter in the 1994 book Questão de Raça (Question of Race), on the black leadership crisis.
He questions the reasons why even after all the fight for rights, all the denunciations, all the mobilization of the 60s and 70s etc., blacks continued to be killed, discriminated against and imprisoned, but now without mass leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, for example.
He points out several reasons for this, but they all revolve around a central argument: according to West, the mass leaders ended because there were no more leaders who could dialogue with the truly poorest and allow a union for the struggle. This is because, after civil rights, a black middle and upper class grew that cared a lot to occupy spaces, expand economic gains among theirs and have great black businessmen as representatives. This group ended up ignoring that the accumulation of capital in the system in which we live is only sustained by misery and exploitation and that it was the poorest blacks who remained in that place.
The child born in a poor black neighborhood only talked to this black middle class about wanting to get rich, but without having the systemic means to do so, he became another easy target for state violence.
The rise of this black middle class was taking place at the same time as the culture of gangsters grew and the increase in trafficking in the poorest areas: all these movements expanded and much during Reagan’s neo-liberalism, which favored the most precarious business community the social areas in an absurd way, for example.
Black banks got richer, the war on drugs became more rigid. Black celebrities sold a lot, but no more than the police killed.
This created a differentiation of classes and achievements.
There was, in theory, a means for everyone to be enterprising and to grow honestly within the system – such a meritocracy. The black man who was unable to ascend as such was certainly due to a lack of desire. Criminals therefore were by choice, etc.
It is the time that we see in the documentary The 13th Amendment being presented as the moment when the policies of mass incarceration were formed and citizens learned to be afraid of blacks – not only whites, but also blacks learned to fear other blacks because propaganda for this has always been efficient.
It’s this movie here, ask your brother for his Netflix password and try to watch it, please.
In short: a strong black mass leadership was made impossible because when a voice emerged among the poor, it didn’t dialogue with the interests, issues and objectives of the richest blacks and, when the voice appeared among the richest, it didn’t dialogue with the interests, issues and objectives of the poorest.
There is a story that circulates a lot about homeless people in the United States who are hunting rats in dumpsters for food. The country has never had so many rich people, a considerable number of whom are black, and the direct consequence of this is growing poverty. I’m not saying that the enrichment of blacks caused American social inequality – that would be an absurd statement. The culprits for the aggravation of this situation were the expansion of neo-liberalism, the end of social welfare initiatives and a policy that was valued by the business community, making the businessman richer while poverty increased without assistance. Black businessmen gained benefits from these policies (mind you, big fish businessmen, not the lady who sells food door to door to survive or the boy who sells a t-shirt that he paints himself at the city fair). Therefore, the relationship of the black middle and upper class becomes the relationship of any sector of the business community in the face of neo-liberal global policies: however good the intention is, the individual does not control the logic of the “market”, it’s the invisible hand, is it not?
Thanks to this economic logic, the country is today the most unequal in the world, considered to be developed. And I’m not the one saying that.
In 2010, the UN released a document with results of research and proposals for solutions to social inequality in urban space and the like. The document is already targeted and ideological because it analyzes only the “developing” countries, assuming that in the “developed” countries the analysis is unnecessary BUT EVEN SO….
Generally speaking, income inequalities in developed countries are low. However, they generally increased between the mid-1980s and 2005. (…) The most surprising variations between the national and city-specific coefficients of income or consumption disparities were found in the United States, where around 2005 the national coefficient was 0.38, but exceeded 0.5 in many large metropolitan areas, including Washington, DC; New York City; Miami and others. These values are comparable to the average city coefficients in selected countries in Latin America, where income inequality is especially great. –
– O Estado das Cidades do Mundo 2010/2011: Unindo o Urbano Dividido – Page 12
In other words, the United States is a country that is surprising due to its unequal conditions and the income gap between rich and poor. Ok, right?
BUT THERE WE RETURN TO THAT TEXT AT THE BEGINNING.
Here is an excerpt:
“According to a survey carried out by Sebrae, based on data from the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad), blacks correspond to the majority of the country’s entrepreneurs. I confess that I never saw all this beauty in this data and when I detailed the research, the disappointment was even greater. Yes, we are the majority among entrepreneurs in Brazil and yet our income corresponds to half of the white entrepreneur. Unfortunately, blacks undertake in less profitable sectors and often without planning, they are the famous “entrepreneurs by necessity”. (…) Gradually these numbers tend to improve, considering that many young black people see entrepreneurship as a tool for social change and are following this path with more technical preparation.
I understand that the post-slavery process in the United States was totally different from ours, but a question doesn’t go out of my head: Why do we not yet have a “black bank” here in Brazil? African-Americans have several options for banks founded and chaired by black entrepreneurs. OneUnited Bank is the largest of them, it was created exactly with the intention of measuring the purchasing power of the African-American population and channeling it to generate jobs, build businesses and increase wealth.
Even with all possible questions, there they use economic power as a protest tool. Recently, after the constant deaths of young black Americans, a movement called BankBlackChallange was created. The action aims to generate economic migration, that is, blacks moved their investments from “white banks” to “black banks”.
This movement included as adherents famous blacks, such as the singers Usher, Killer Mike, Solange Knowles. Another example was the increase in the sale of T-shirts by player Colin Kaepernick in NFL stores. The athlete became known worldwide after he refused to stand up to sing the American national anthem in protest of oppression of blacks. And I always ask myself, why don’t we do the same here where we are the numerical majority of the population?”
First, we have to think about what the author defines as entrepreneurship and how he interprets PNDA data after all.
Tiago Augusto is a research and mapping agent at IBGE and about this, he tells us:
As far as “black entrepreneurs” are concerned, there is a very strong one: there are entrepreneurs with employees and those who work for themselves.(Black Money Brasil: Historian Beaks Down Problem with Concept)
Those of their own account, range from the aunt who sells Natura, to the guy who sells candy at the traffic light/train/bus, going through a multitude of low-profit occupations, which normally has the function of complementing the family’s income, helping a spouse, children or parents. These “self-employed entrepreneurs” far outnumber employers within “black entrepreneurship”. And the author makes an ugly mistake by not revealing this.
Even understanding that the immense majority of the black population lives in an entrepreneurial way out of necessity, desperation, and not finding other means to support themselves in the face of the lack of jobs and opportunities, the author SWEARS that the numbers tend to improve and already makes that leap suggesting that we move from the phase of Brazilian Black Money to mirror ourselves after the American experience until finally we can also use “economic power as a tool of protest” (????????)
Anyway, let’s go to the examples:
I am amazed to realize that there are people who have fallen for the tale of the bank that exists to generate wealth among the population.
I can’t even comment on that.
In the face of the death of several young black Americans, a bank creates a movement for blacks to migrate their fortunes and savings to black banks as a form of protest …………………. like……….
On the OneUnitedBank website: There was a community awakening after recent tragic events… Perfect time for you to revolt and open an account with us. We promise that we will make several good stops with this, but the most important: we will increase the power of the black dollar ”- it’s not what is written, but the message is kind of there.
There is no black bank in Brazil because the Brazilian black population is mostly poor. You wouldn’t see black Brazilians migrating their fortunes to a black bank, so there is no interest – or do you really think that black American banks exist for the poor to be able to open a salary account? OneUnitedBank itself went through bankruptcy processes after its creation (in 1968) and was only able to finally rebuild and stabilize itself after turning to great fortunes and not only to the community itself …
- A professional football player protests against the death of young blacks refusing to sing the country’s anthem and the black population reacts by buying several shirts from him on the National Football League website …………… like ………………. really?
A $124 protest that can be paid in installments on a credit card. Do you think that’s expensive? Rest assured that the website has promotional options for only 59 dollars and 99 cents.
If there is one thing that black Brazilians should never want, it is to see the country equal to the United States: the largest prison population in the world (with an absurd majority of blacks in a region where they are only 15% of the general population); stark social inequality, where 46.7 million Americans (one in seven) live in poverty, including 20% of children; with absurd numbers of blacks murdered by the police and of poor people living in extreme misery. It’s like I always say: where there is a lot of wealth you can be sure that it will be easy to find the extreme misery on the side.
For me with the black people of the US in a situation like this, we should only use the region as a parameter for what NOT to do or want
BUT, back to the text:
for me, it is obvious the political emptying and the hermetic methods that in no way influence the lives of those who are dying. What dialogue is there between those protesting the death of black men buying an official football shirt and the family of the black man who was killed after stealing in order to buy the same shirt?
And they still ask why we don’t do the same here…
To do the same here would be to want a more American Brazil where some blacks protest by migrating their bank fortunes while other blacks kill rats in order to feed themselves.
“Ah, Suzane doesn’t want to see black people making money, envious and…”
Er… Before you finish the sentence:
No, the problem is not and will never be that of the black having money, to undertake or to get rich. May you have it, I hope to have it one day too, why not? Seria muito show. The problem is to place having money and the market as solutions to structural racism, as ends to be reached to exhaust the problems of a population that is still one of the most affected by the economic logic in which we are forced to live.
I sincerely think that the idea that if everyone does their part we can all strengthen ourselves economically and, armed with the value that today is only given to the rich, reduce racism until its end.
But unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account the world where we really live and ends up promoting only extensions of different colors with the same logic of death and exploitation.