Monday, January 23, 2017

Chidike Okeem — Capitalism, White Supremacy, and Black Entrepreneurship

Despite capitalism’s many blemishes and imperfections, it is the only system of economic development that has the proven power to lift people out of poverty. Given the state of the American economy and the fact that African Americans are consistently on the lower end of the socioeconomic totem pole, it is imperative that black people embrace capitalism and skillfully utilize the power of entrepreneurship.

Capitalism is unwisely pilloried and attacked because it was used in the service of white supremacy. In American history, not only was black slave labor stolen, but black slaves were also sold and bought as commodities. However, it is logically sloppy to think that capitalism is inherently evil and possesses zero benefits just because it can be thwarted and used as an artifice of evil and oppression. Christianity, too, was thwarted and used as a tool of mass control and oppression. To argue that Christianity has done no good for the world just because evil manipulators misused it for their invidious goals would be absurd.

It is important to note that capitalism and white supremacy are not conjoined twins. Capitalism and white supremacy are not a package deal. One does not have to endorse white supremacy just because one endorses a proven economic system of development and growth. The most serious of black thinkers understand the importance of entrepreneurship and capitalism. However, black radicals irresponsibly conflate capitalism and white supremacy because they are more interested in fomenting victimhood than ending economic malaise.

In his indispensable 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro, Dr. Carter G. Woodson eloquently pointed out the absurdity of black people rejecting markets.

To say that the Negro cannot develop sufficiently in the business world to measure arms with present-day capitalists is to deny actual facts, refute history, and discredit the Negro as a capable competitor in the economic battle field of life. … Properly awakened, the Negro can do the so-called impossible in the business world and thus help to govern rather than merely be governed.