By Peter Bailey
I stopped fighting racism years ago.
The images of Ferguson, Mo. in flames, Michael Brown’s corpse stiff on the pavement and prophet-like pundits decrying this country’s failed war on race relations reminded me why.
I’d like to believe that many of you are tired of this all too-familiar script, which leads me to what addicts consider their moment of clarity freeing them from addiction.
Black people’s war is not against racism. It’s against economic disparity and this cancer, unlike racism, we have a remedy for: it’s unity.
Much like religion, racist thinking is rooted in an individual’s ideology and we all know what happens when trying to convert someone from their faith.
However, as a people, we have the choice to support black enterprise, which in turn fosters economic growth leading to power and ultimately, fair treatment by the powers that be.
I’ve never read of an upper middle class teen of any race brutally gunned down by police in the suburbs.
In America, no one values the poor and, unfortunately, the words black and poor have become synonymous.
Knowing the content for the poor runs so deep, Ferguson police launched a smear campaign of Brown robbing the convenience store or cigarrillos in an unrelated incident to apease the public’s sentiment justifying the murder.
Several years ago, after writing for some of the world’s most respected publications and publishing a New York Times-praised celebrity memoir, I set out like any over-achiever to start my own media franchise.
Naturally, I sought investment from the myriad of wealthy friends, mostly white, who had become fans of my work.
No one budged.
In fact, in one memorable three-hour sit-down, a tycoon told me:
“If the banks won’t give you any money why should I? Why don’t you just go back to work for one of those media outfits?”
He, who had inherited his father’s business, scoffed at my data showing the disparity in blacks applying for business loans.
I found myself navigating a world of shady suitors who included drug dealers, pimps and the mafia – low life vultures who wanted to sink their teeth into a credible journalist for a quick come up.
I’d be lying if I said the money wasn’t tempting.
The help that would make my NiteCap show what it is today ultimately came from family, close friends and my film crew, all of whom are black.
A recent report by the advocacy group Young Invincibles shows that white men without a degree have the same employment rate as black men with a degree.
My bet is that stat exists because it’s much easier to get a job from people that look, think and act like you.
So if black economic solidarity is the remedy to police brutality and all other ills plaguing black America why are the news media, pundits and civil rights leaders crusading against racism?
Black pain is big business for everyone else but us.
CNN’s special Black In America was one of its most watched programs. A rally affording the pundits airtime won’t exist if the suffering that racism caused ended.
Furthermore, a culture of black enterprise would create competition for the very outlets from which our pain is broadcast. We just might want to tell our stories on media outlets owned and operated by us.
The myth of economic individualism in America is one that’s been sold to black people at our expense.
Until blacks embrace the concept of collective wealth that’s been practiced by other groups, we’ll be scraping more Michael Browns and Trayvon Martins off the concrete.
I’ll make a fair assumption that cops patrolling predominately black affluent neighborhoods don’t antagonize their well-to-do constituents. In fact, they probably stop to make sure they’re safe and protected.