Why Is No One Talking About How Black-Owned Businesses Are Driving Detroit’s Comeback?

Capitalism and Entrepreneurship. Who hates those words and why?

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Opinion / Editorial

The Huffington Post published an article recently lamenting the fact that Black entrepreneurs and capitalists were being ignored and were not getting their due credit for Detroit’s economic resurgence. According to a report released in July by the Detroit Regional Chamber, “The Detroit region has roared back since 2009, leading our peers and outpacing the nation in so many key economic categories, from GDP to income and job growth.”

Undeniably, things are looking up for Motor City.  The report states that between 2009 and 2014, Detroit’s gross domestic product outpaced the national average by nearly 8 percent. Private sector job growth outpaced the national average by more than 4 percent since 2009. And, the region’s industrial vacancy rates declined by nearly 7 percent since 2010 and are now on par with the national average. Nearly 110 foreign-held companies announced investment of nearly $4 billion in Michigan facilities last year, creating nearly 15,000 jobs.

I believe there are two reasons no one is talking about this – particularly white Democrats and the mainstream media. One, the concepts of capitalism and entrepreneurship are alien to most liberals and they frankly despise them.

Two, capitalism and black entrepreneurship are the very LAST thing white Democrats and the mainstream media want to see or showcase. Black people being self-reliant and self-sufficient by owning successful businesses destroys their carefully crafted, victim narrative for Blacks that we need them as our protectors and saviors against evil and racist America. And sadly we have so called black leaders who denigrate the only true vehicle that will give black people, or any people for that matter, upward mobility and success.

The denigration of capitalism and entrepreneurship by so-called black leaders has its roots, according to the authors, in slavery:

“The story we tell about slavery is almost always regional, rather than national. We remember it as a cruel institution of the southern states that would later secede from the Union. Slavery, in this telling, appears limited in scope, an unfortunate detour on the nation’s march to modernity, and certainly not the engine of American economic prosperity. Yet to understand slavery’s centrality to the rise of American capitalism, just consider the history of an antebellum Alabama dry-goods outfit called Lehman Brothers or a Rhode Island textile manufacturer that would become the antecedent firm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.”

So let me get this straight. Because many companies profited from the institution of slavery, that somehow makes capitalism evil?  Wrong. There is a huge difference between profiting from an enterprise that is legal but obviously immoral and profiting from an enterprise that is both illegal and immoral. Are prescription drugs inherently bad because a drug dealer sells them illegally on the street? Capitalism is simply a marketplace where buyers and sellers come together to exchange goods and services for currency or barter. What those particular goods are has no impact on the morality of the mechanism used to facilitate that exchange as long as both parties leave that exchange satisfied.

The purveyors of this misguided belief that unprejudiced capitalism was the main impetus for slavery and America’s greatness fail to realize the very same system of capitalism helped end slavery when machines like the cotton gin were invented which made American slave labor inefficient and, ultimately, obsolete.  It’s also ironic that the “evil” system of capitalism afforded some slaves the opportunity to buy their own freedom and the freedom of their families. Of course no man nor woman should have to buy their freedom and my example is in no way offering support to the evil institution of slavery; that said, understand my point.

This hatred of capitalism and entrepreneurship continues today among so called Black “thought leaders.” It has now been transformed from a hatred of these institutions into a virtual self-shackling of our minds, talents and ambitions:

“The two devastating recessions of the last decade have had catastrophic effects on Black economic prospects. Yet, despite the monstrous setbacks of recent years and the general failure to bridge the racial wage and wealth gap over the last three decades, there still exists a strong current of Black political thought that insists African Americans can pull themselves and the rest of the race up by their financial bootstraps, through hard work and pooling of collective resources. Some of these arguments are unashamedly Black capitalist; others preach a brand of communal partnerships among Black entrepreneurs and consumers that attempts to make the entire Black community a kind of capitalist engine of self-help. What binds the variations on the “bootstrap” theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system. The belief is that Black “buying power” or race-based investment schemes will allow Black folks to rise from the bottom of the American economic barrel.”

Thank God there are still Blacks who believe we can pull ourselves up, and our race up, through hard work and the pooling of collective resources! “Unashamedly Black capitalist?” Wow! One is in serious need of a mental enema if they attempt to belittle the time honored (and I would argue Biblical) formula to success by pulling one up by their own bootstraps. Every successful immigrant group in this nation’s history have done just what this author criticizes. Why shouldn’t blacks, who are one of the earliest immigrants to this continent (albeit it was forced immigration), use the same method for upward mobility which countless generations of immigrants before us have used?





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