Economic Cooperation and Reparation

Maceo Z. Keeling, Business Strategist and CEO of Asheville Business Accelerator. Photo: Urban News
Maceo Z. Keeling, Business Strategist and CEO of Asheville Business Accelerator. Photo: Urban News
The Conscious Corner by Maceo Z. Keeling, Sr. –

In my previous article I shared some ideas about eradicating systemic racism. This article is about thinking differently and walking the talk we protest about.

I say: Put your money where your mouth is!

If we are truly interested in economic empowerment, we have to first become better stewards of what we have. A Black Enterprise magazine article (November 26, 2017) stated that 12–13 billion dollars is taken in from collection plates in Black churches every year in the form of tithes and offerings. Then on Monday morning, our African American churches deposit these funds into banks that do not lend to African Americans equitably, and do not make investment in Black business start-ups, and offer a disparaging and disproportionate number of high-interest mortgages to these same people from our churches.

This is one example where wealth is transferred out of the black community on a weekly basis. We are funding banks that have systemic and intrinsic racist policies and that have repeatedly been found to steal from it depositors in many ways.

So when we talk about economic empowerment, we need to insist that our churches use Black-owned banks. For example, One United is the largest Black-owned and -managed bank in America, under the ownership and leadership of Chairman & CEO Kevin Cohee and President & COO Teri Williams.

Permit me to break it down.

Can you imagine the impact of a 12–13 billion-dollar increase in deposits to bank with a predominantly African American board of directors and predominantly African American executive management team? The money you put into these banks, like any FDIC-insured bank, is insured up to $250,000 per account.

This is not a commercial for any particular bank, but for any Black-owned bank. I strongly encourage you to find one and become a depositor, and moreover, I ask that you insist that your churches use them!

What a difference that money would make to our communities!

What am I talking about? Put your money where your mouth is!

Black-owned banks are more likely to lend to Black people and Black-owned businesses, and are more likely to hire Black people at every level (from front-line tellers to CEOs), and to have offices in, and provide services to, Black communities! By circulating more dollars within the Black community and practicing collective economics we can build wealth.

According to a 2001-2013 FDIC Research Study, Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) are significantly more likely to lend in low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities and to minority borrowers than non-MDIs. According to the study, “African American MDIs appear to be particularly successful in their mission of serving African American borrowers.” The study shows that the share of home loans made to Black borrowers in 2011 was 67% for Black banks, compared to less than 1% for other lending institutions. All funds deposited in OneUnited Bank are used for loans.

This is just one step we can take on our own to empower ourselves, build family wealth, and strengthen our communities. Move your money to a Black bank!

We all can appreciate the efforts recently being initiated by our allies in this struggle. However, we all must acknowledge that this isn’t a “new” Black agenda. We are simply seeking to have our governments make good on an account that has come due.

Prior to the public execution of George Floyd, there was some doubt whether things like this actually occur. The fact that we are gaining traction now is not because our agenda has changed, but because the complexion of the movement has changed. Blacks have been met with stern resistance for 400 years.

Before we can move to an equity share of the country we helped to build, there must be reparation for the debt the nation owes. I am proud that our City of Asheville has taken this unprecedented and historic step towards a reparation initiative. History has taught us the consequences of resting when we win a small battle, but the fight must continue.

Answer the call!


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