Thursday, July 08, 2021

Steven S. Rogers, preview of "A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community"

BLM Plaza in DC, 2020/6

Today, on a local DC show “What You Need to Know” on WJLA7 in Washington DC (ABC affiliate, owned by Sinclair, which is considered conservative although the station is rather liberal) a speaker briefly reviewed the book by Steven S. Rogers, “A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community”, from Wiley Press, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1119794776 (Amazon).

A site called Readmoreco gives the author an interview, here.

The Chicago Sun Times has a review by Mark Brown in which it enumerates the author’s suggestions. 

The suggestions are rather specific.  He wants white people to invest specific percentages of their income in black-owned banks (four of them are in Illinois, which is why Chicago papers happen to have the reviews), give a certain portion of their normal contributions to black owned colleges (which have a specific definition), and dedicate specified percentages of their household budget to supporting black owned businesses.

Personally, I don’t recognize “groups” (or intersections of groups) as targets for my own attention.  But the market brings about results that are probably largely better than these percentages.

For example, in 2017 I sold an inherited house and moved into a high-rise condo.  The occupancy (including owners) is probably more than 50% people of color and/or Muslim. The board is representative by race and gender, as a result of normal elections.  Since I naturally use nearby gas stations, convenience stores, food takeout, and the like, many of the businesses franchised but owned probably by minority members.  I use a UPS store which happens to belong to a man from China.  There is no particular intention behind this, that is just how it turns out with the market.  If I am on U Street in Washington DC, I sometimes eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl.  But there is no particular system that could show an specific amount going to black owned businesses.

As for charitable giving, several of the non-profits are large organizations whose assistance to persons probably goes to more than the desired 9% black, but the organizations themselves (some operate overseas) are not specifically about any one race.

He also wants every black American over 18 to receive a reparations check for $153000 to close the inherited wealth gap.  But how would you determine legally who was “black”?  What happens to the deficit and debt ceiling, etc.?

He (a former Harvard professor) admits he is race conscious, more or less following DiAngelo’s line of thinking.

It is true that federal law recognizes the concept of minority-owned businesses in some contexts.  I had a job interview in 1988 with Mitchell Systems, which said it was minority owned.  I think I would have gotten the offer, but I went with another company (which became interesting).  The concept did not interview with hiring white men.

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