Many discussions on race get derailed by people not understanding that their proposed solution only addresses one aspect of a problem. When talking about race most conservatives focus on I space solutions. When presidential candidate Marco Rubio responded to a question on systematic racism, he sais: “I do not think there is a political solution.” Rubio was speaking about the I space aspect of systematic racism. No law can outlaw a person judging someone for the color of their skin. Most liberals focus on IT space solutions. Good examples of IT space solutions are Affirmative Action and quotas. These programs require companies to hire a specific number of minorities or face government penalties. The black self-sufficiency movements dominate solutions in the WE space. Dr. Boyce Watkins talks about the importance of black-owned businesses. He details how only black-owned businesses can give black people a fair shake in a capitalist system. Black self-sufficiency is also a correct view, but a limited view.
I-Space solutions focus on self-improvement. Usually calling for a modification in one’s morality or education. One form of I Space solution that is very popular at the moment is “Law of Attraction.” LOA states that positive thinking will bring positive results. Another is Tai Lopez’s “67 Steps” personal development program. The program focuses on increasing knowledge by reading books by famous entrepreneurs. The central idea of both of these methods is if you improve your thinking everything else will fall into place.
WE-space solutions focus on how black people support each other. Dr. Boyce Watkins is a big supporter and thinker in We Space solutions. He is a huge proponent of black-owned businesses. His “Black Wealth Bootcamp” teaches black people how to become independently wealthy and build an economy inside of America. Nation of Islam (NOI) professes black people should separate from America and start a newly independent country with the NOI at the helm. The central idea of these methods is if black people support each other, then we can overcome racism or create a small insulated community that we can thrive inside.
IT-Space solutions focus on how the government can be utilized to change people’s actions. The most controversial versions of this, as stated earlier, was Affirmative Action and quotas. Other methods include adequately funding inner-city schools, starting job training programs, and laws that prevent discriminatory hiring practices. The primary focus of these solutions involves the modifying of behavior through government control or providing public resources to the black community.
If a proposed solution does not engage all three aspects of a problem, then it will not create long-lasting effects or work for more than a few people. For example, if a person is very moral and intelligent, but is not allowed to go to school, then their life will not improve. If a group of individuals are fiercely supportive of one another but are not on a path of personal development, then they will not know what to support. If the government funnels money to a person who does not have the moral conviction to ensure the money will be well invested, then no real change will take place. The above examples are so simplistic the reader does not need more detail. However, the rest of the article will show how solutions that cover two of the three aspects are not sufficient either.
Tulsa Black Wall St ( I and WE)
O. W. Gurley founded Tulsa’s Black Wall St. He was a black land developer from Arkansas and a former presidential appointee under Grover Cleveland. Gurley purchased 40 acres of land and only sold smaller lots to colored families. The railroad industry around Tulsa was booming at the time. Many blacks moved into the area from Greenwood, MS. In a few decades, those 40 acres were home to black grocery stores, banks, and law offices.
On Memorial Day in 1921, Sarah Page, a white woman, accused a black man Dick Rowland of assault. Rowland was apprehended by police later that day. A mob of angry white citizens attempted to lynch him and attacked the black families in the Tulsa area. Many of the black citizens of Tulsa were World War I veterans. The black citizens united in armed resistance. Unfortunately, the blacks were outnumbered and outgunned by the KKK. The white citizens also utilized a bi-plane to drop firebombs on the black businesses. White citizens destroyed the entire business district.
Tulsa is an example of I and WE-space solutions coming together without any IT-space government protections. The black citizens of Tulsa collectively developed in the I space to Orange level, strive drive, consciousness. They worked together to create an isolated enclave in which blacks can build businesses, WE space solution. However, with no government protection, they were always vulnerable to white people at red/blue consciousness. In one weekend, a white mob destroyed decades of hard work. Black Wall St was later rebuilt, but it never led to any systematic change in the nation. It was always a small enclave in Oklahoma.
The Grassroot Independent Voters of Illinois (WE and IT)
The Grassroot Independent Voter of Illinois (GIVI) was a Chicago job training organization started with a 1 million dollar US government grant. Jeff Fort and Eugene Hairston were members of a Chicago street gang and started the Grassroot Voter Organization under false pretenses. The government began a four-year investigation that led to the conviction of Fort and Hairston. Unfortunately, the funneling of one million dollars into the gang community of Chicago lead to the rise of one of the deadliest Chicago street gangs Black P. Stone Nation. At the end of the ordeal, the Black P. Stones were 50,000 members strong.
The Grassroots Voter organization is an example of WE and IT-space solutions without I-space personal development. The members and leaders of this organization were criminals. They collectively did not have the I-Space development to handle the government money properly. This misappropriation of state funds led to a sharp decline in grant money given to Chicago. The GIVI is cited by conservatives to this day as an example of why government programs do not work.
Larry Elder ( I and IT)
Larry Elder is a syndicated black conservative talk show host. Black people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps is the center of most of his philosophy. However, he has utilized quotas and Affirmative Action to get into Brown University and accept many jobs in radio and television. When asked how he can now be against Affirmative Action after utilizing it, Elders replies that he would not have gone to Brown University, but he would have gone to another less prestigious university.
Elder is an example of a person who was given government help (IT- Space) and was able to self-develop to an Orange level of consciousness (I-Space) but lost the WE-space connection to other black people. Larry Elder may not be acutely aware of how he could be using his influence to help other black people, but he should not be belittling programs he has used himself. That is not to say other aspects of his message are helpful to black and white people alike. Unfortunately, he loses credibility with his stance on Affirmative Action, thus keeping people from taking the rest of his message seriously.
Larry Elder is a good example of how detrimental the Orange meme can be to the overall struggle for racial empowerment. He needs to believe he pulled himself up by his bootstraps, and he also needs to be successful to feel good about himself. So Elder needs to accept the help from Affirmative Action and belittle its importance. If he had not gotten accepted to Brown, he would never have had the credentials to get a nationally syndicated talk show. If he had stayed to his principles and turned down the acceptance to Brown, he would also have to accept a less prestigious school and fewer job prospects.
It is also important to point out Larry Elder is a “go-to” conservative pundit on racial issues. Because there are very few black conservatives, he is called to explain the conservative perspective on many cable news shows. If race was not an issue in hiring you would see him comment on non-racial issues. Larry Elder was a supporter of the Iraq War. However, you never saw him on cable news defending it. When racial protest happened in Baltimore, he was on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC.
The point of the article was not to belittle a solution to racial inequality, and one should understand the limitations of each type of solution. Personal development ultimately prepares you to take advantage of government help. Community solidarity keeps successful people connected to the community to help the less fortunate not fall through the cracks. The solutions “inter-are” and people should keep that perspective.
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