The Politics of Money

Maceo Keeling - SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News
Maceo Keeling – SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News
By Maceo Keeling –

The political world landscape is always changing, but in many ways it remains the same.

In recent news the leaders of North and South Korea made pledges to work toward a common goal of denuclearizing their peninsula by the end of the year, formally ending the Korean War. This is a war that has divided them for almost seven decades. The narrative is, Koreans north and south are of the same blood and heritage.

Another parallel revelation I stumbled upon regarding the Asian culture is they recycle every dollar they spend in their own communities for approximately 26 days. In municipal communities such as Korea-town, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown, there has always been self-sustaining independent and economic growth. That’s the politics of their money!

In contrast, African Americans in the United States spend over $1.3 trillion a year. However, in black communities a dollar spent stays in our community for approximately six hours. In other words, when a black person earns a dollar it is typically not spent within their community, or with a black-owned business. That means that 99% of our 1.3-trillion-dollar buying power is spent outside our community; it can’t end up as wealth for you or your community, because you no longer have it!

So the question is: “When will we come together to affect economic change for ourselves and our community?”

Trickling down from generation to generation, black people seem to still embody this desire to compete and tear one another down. We can be so envious while secretly wishing failure on each other. No matter if it’s in the classroom, or in business, or even community groups, there seems to be hesitation among black people about supporting one another.

Given that we don’t support black-owned businesses as we should, it’s no wonder that there is so little economic progress among us. Worse, we demand accountability of black businesses in ways we don’t often ask of other merchants and professionals.

We say, for example: “Produce proof of your certifications. Where is your office? Are you bonded? Do you have insurance? Where did you get the money to do this? (Probably is drug-money!) Who does he think he is? The food wasn’t that good; I could’ve gotten better at home! That cost too much! She thinks she’s something!”

These are negative, berating comments we make to our own people. We have a black-owned radio station, and hear these comments: “Oh, it’s too small and it doesn’t reach a lot of people. It’s just local!” We have a black-owned newspaper, and we hear comments like, “Yeah, I tried advertising for a month and nothing happened.” In both cases we have the power of the media, and we should support them.

If I started an organic produce truck and drove through the black neighborhood (like back in the day) at regular intervals, would you buy produce from me? Or would I be met with comments like: “He doesn’t have a warehouse.” “He probably picked it off a tree in his backyard, so why should I pay for that?”

Do we unconsciously think that black is inferior? Do we have an unconscious bias against our own?

These are comments we never make to mainstream (white) business owners.

If you really are in support of black people, then why not do business with them? It begins with “us” first. It’s not just about the dollar: it’s supporting black nationalism, which is not a new concept. In fact, it is the most effective type of survival taken from our diaspora. We can do this—because we have done it before!

Instead of downgrading, let’s begin to uplift one another and make a difference.

Get Woke! Answer the call!


“You don’t have to be great! Be your best YOU! Answer the call!”


Dr. King had a dream, now we must have vision. The Conscious Call radio program airs every Monday at 11:30 a.m. on WRES-FM 100.7. In a collaboration with the radio program, the Urban News will help keep readers informed about events, programs, news, and the progress of The Conscious Call. For more information, contact the Conscious Call at (828) 989-6999 and visit

The opinions and statements made in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of The Urban News.

6:43am8:27pm EDT