The Color of Money

I’ve said it several times before, and I’ll say it again, Alarmers: we are living in some interesting times. With an increasingly polarized America in the face of Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy, more publicized incidents of police brutality and the rise of Black Lives Matter, the world around us is causing me and mine to think, act and speak in very different ways than we were used to.

For example, some of my social media friends and I have recently joined a group on Facebook that advocates building up the black community’s economy, and shares investment tips, business advertisements, and news of people pulling their money out of mainstream financial institutions and placing them in black-owned and operated banks instead. I never knew there were as many as there are across the country. When I was in college, I only knew of one, Carver Federal, and I never thought to put my money there; not only was none of the three branches within a reasonable distance, I had very little money to speak of at the time. I still don’t, but at least now I keep some in a big bank so I can get my hands on pocket money if I need it.

I’m glad to see more and more of my brothers and sisters taking an interest in the financial welfare of their communities, not only placing their hard-earned money in institutions run by people who look like us, but actively seeking out and patronizing black proprietors and educating themselves about the stock market. Several Houston-based rappers even got in on it. That’s definitely something Amps and I want to get behind; we’ve already looked into local black-owned banks and hope to make some moves soon.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to impress upon Teresa was the need to at least be conscious of the world around her; that this world that she is a part of is within her power to help shape. To that end, I would like her to be educated about her financial power and how to combine it with those of the brothers and sisters in our community. Annually, what we spend is more than the gross domestic product of several countries – and I ain’t talkin’ just Third World, either. Why, then, are we in such a rush to patronize businesses and banks run by people who don’t look like us? We rush to buy “high-end” clothing and accessories when, for far less, we could be wearing much better-looking stuff by some very talented designers of color, simply because we’re slaves to name-brand. Internet banking is commonplace, many accounts don’t require minimum balances, and it’s nothing to have your paycheck deposited directly anymore, yet so many folks insist on taking themselves down to the check casher’s either because they don’t trust banks, or they don’t know any better. Getting smarter about money is just one of the ways in which we can build our communities and develop political clout. Don’t just buy black, bank black.

What do you think, Alarmers? Leave your comments below.

About Charlie Biggs

Charlie Biggs is the tall, dark, and devilishly handsome host, writer and co-producer of The Alarmed Show. A native of Brooklyn, NY, he enjoys music, movies, and books. Biggs lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.