by Perry Douglas
Wealth accumulation is a simple binary choice. If you want wealth, power, and political influence, then invest in businesses, more precisely today, invest in high octane technology geared businesses of the era.
Generate that wealth, share it and the opportunities it creates, with your own people, first! Then take that true wealth and buy into “The System,” control the politicians and the judges. This is how wealth and power flow organically. Clearly understand this and commit to it. If you don’t have the mental wear-it-all for it, then don’t enter the game, or just move aside. If we can play the game how it must be played, then we can start winning. Strategy is all-important. Whites won’t give us a single thing! We have to WIN! Only then, will they get their knees off of our necks! And only then, will we be able to finally breathe!
“World inequality today exists because during the 19th and 20th centuries some nations were able to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution and technologies and methods of organisation that it brought while others are unable to do so. Technological change is only one of the engines of prosperity, but it is perhaps the most critical one.” (Why Nations Fail, page 271) .
We understand of course that the slavery and the plantation economy created these massive structural inequalities over the centuries, and how the colonies were shut out of the Industrial Revolution too. Nevertheless, our past history does not dictate our history. Decisions matter, and we won’t be denied this revolution…the Digital Revolution, as the engine of our own future prosperity and power. We won’t let this opportunity to create our own ecosystems of exponential inter-generational wealth pass us by. Once again, Caribbean leaders especially, sit uniquely positioned within their own political institutions. Weaponise them, like your suppressors did, by injecting real resources to jumpstarting the transformative digital economy, to deliberately bend the arch of the great prosperity curve, towards righteousness. So, ‘let justice roll like a river and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
Lead by example
Any black individual in a position of leadership today should take heed of Black billionaire technology investor, Robert F Smith (RFS). Last year RFS, wiped out the entire debt load of the graduating class of a historically black university in the US, to the tune of over $40 million. This single act of generosity will remove the stress of repaying huge student loans, and possibly level the playing field for those young individuals, relatively. Allowing them to build a stride that would have otherwise been weighed down by the crippling burden of debt.
Contradictory to RFS, there is Canadian Black billionaire, who in 2003, gifted the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM,) a colonial-era symbol of white supremacy culture, $30 million. Therefore, you have 2 leaders of great wealth, one earned his fortune investing in technology, then spends it on black education and things like the National Museum of African American History. The other gives some of his fortune to an institution where the very ROM Act in the Ontario Legislature on 16 April 1912, is a reference to a symbol of the British white supremacy dominance, and empire. Actions do speak louder than words. Always!
Nevertheless, there are great strides taking place in thinking today, in the application of technology towards existing economic problems. New progressive Caribbean-centric thought leaders like Grenadian Development and Investment Specialist, Sandiford Edwards, who points out in a recent article, “In the context of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Caribbean countries, historically, the agriculture sector provided the single most important platform for employment, income generation and food security, and is presently still capable of driving poverty reduction especially in rural areas; through increased productivity, value addition and links to other sectors inclusive of tourism.”
Therefore, “In today’s world, cognisant of advancement in cultivation and harvesting technologies, processing innovations and the proliferation of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data and the consequent impact on the agriculture sector, it is prudent to recognise that a modern and more accurate definition of agriculture labour should include professional careers along the entire agri-food value chain, covering disciplines ranging from scientist, greenhouse growing specialist, agronomist, inter alia.”
The abolition of slavery in the United States and the move to Jim Crow laws were essentially a slick manoeuvre by whites to secure the transition of their intergenerational wealth, within the existing framework of the ongoing system. Instead of risking long-term instability that would threaten their plantation economy and wealth engine, the planter elite transitioned slavery and white dominance, through Jim Crow laws, after the Civil War. Technically different bit fundamentally the same. After the Civil War, the fact remained, that whites in the US south still owned all the land and dominated all of the economics. The planters might have lost the war, but they yielded nothing! Their wealth and power remained, fully and forcefully in tack! Similar to the US, Barbados’ plantation economy was also fundamentally the same…through the transition to colonialism. Hence, the move from slavery to colonialism in the Caribbean was simply another version of a systematic way for whites to transition their intergenerational wealth smoothly. In both situations, the terminology might have changed, but The Institutionalised White Supremacy System at its core, inherently remained the same.
In both transitions — to Jim Crow and colonialism, there was no investment in technology and innovation, that would’ve increased productivity that provided trade skills and potential income of the black populations there. Whites continued to use free slave labour instead. Therefore, the lack of technological investment into those economies also kept the plantation societies backward, which further ensured that there would be no opportunity for blacks to acquire the necessary skills, enabling them to compete with whites. Therefore, the conscious and purposeful disinvestment in technology and innovation was an effective way to continue to subjugate black people in a low skilled agricultural plantation economy.
To recap, through a set of precocious and skillful moves, the invisible hand of white supremacy was able to transition itself/institutions and regimes through the centuries, to conveniently appear differently, as a mechanism to successfully transition their wealth. In short, “The System” for “The Blacks” has been nothing more than an imperialistic white supremacy driven LIE! Simply used to dominate over the centuries, so Europe could continue to extract and export raw resources for commercialisation — for the sole economic purpose of looking after their own wealth creation.
Unfortunately, white supremacy has been able to achieve its mandate very well, to the point where, “pretty much everything blacks have come to understand about the human experience was taught to us from a white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal frame of thinking” (Delenciaga). Therefore, as we live through the Black Lives Matter protests for genuine institutional systematic change, remember “The Blacks” in southern England in the 18th and 19th centuries. And the history of European and American civilisation too. ‘The Protest’ has always been fundamental to change. However, we must also be cognitive of playing the long game, for inclusion into the system, not by asking our oppressors to let us in, but by kicking down the damn door, intelligently! We must use our own calculative and strategic thinking towards our own “Black Privilege” agenda. However, we will not be exclusionary nor distracted by becoming vindictive to others, in any way. Such negative energy will only set us back. We have withstood over 400 years of torment, yet we remain compassionate, graceful, dignified, and resilient. Filled with love in our hearts, focused wholeheartedly on the deliverance of prosperity in the pursuit of happiness, for our black people.
We must uneducate ourselves to the white supremacy playbook in order not to be hoodwinked into not recognising the various white supremacy methods, and traps. We must be wise to their double-standard playbook too, which continuously move the goalposts, so we can never score. Enough is enough! And in the words of the late great Black psychiatrist, Frantz Fanon: “We revolt because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.” Frantz Fanon, (20 July 1925 – 6 December 1961).
Barbados has been cited throughout this piece because of my experience and the views of many others and supported by scientific data. Barbados provides an honest and illustrative example of a present society still being subconsciously complicit with the plantation legacy under white supremacy culture. However, in the prophetic words of Bob Marley, Barbados too is capable of: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!”
At this moment in history, it is time to execute the “Black Privilege” playbook. Capture the moment! Black people don’t live in fear, overcome the cultural imperialism that has been supplanted in our subconsciousness. The more radical your thinking becomes, the more you fully enter into the realm of reality, the reality of your own existence. So, by knowing the truth, you can better fight the lies! You can better transform it. Put differently, you must first fully understand the game, in order to stand a chance at winning, otherwise you’re destined to lose. Such a mindset shift removes the fear of seeing the world unveiled, for what it truly is. Privilege is a wonderful thing, as long as you are the one enjoying it. But privilege will never be given, it must be manufactured, taken. Push with a long-term strategy in mind, through your own institutions, which is the clear path for Barbados, and the rest of the Caribbean nations.
A Technology Minded Renaissance Revolution is required, now! One which includes first upgrading the software within our own minds. Push oneself out of this long slumber of complicity. Awaken to a higher state of consciousness and honesty about the intelligent path of our future world. Ask the hard, but honest questions, get into the fight. Resist the lure of the emotional and the good feelings of seeking instant gratification; think fast and slow. Learn from history and do what actually has been proven to work before. Drive an ambitious technology-focused wealth creation strategy. “The Blacks” of yesteryear had similar challenges to overcome, as the “The Blacks” of the present now do too. Regardless, the struggle for equality and prosperity and the naturally occurring ambitions of man, which rest in dignity and pride, cannot be held back anymore. Whether in Europe, America, Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, or wherever else anti-black racism, injustice, economic prosperity exclusion resides, “The Blacks” will prevail.