The healthcare industry in the US is a for profit enterprise. One pays more for a hospital bed than a room at a Las Vegas five star hotel. As a nation, Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other nation on the planet. The leading pharmaceutical companies record revenues in the billions (Pfizer 1st Qtr'04 - $12 Billion). The leading hospitals along with their partners in the insurance industry have driven the cost of healthcare into the stratosphere. They are one of the largest lobbying bodies in the Washington, DC. I ask you again: Did you read Moyers' keynote address?
Where is the African-American stake in all this? Sure there are a few in high positions but they have no control, no power. There are enough African-American doctors and pharmacists to staff more than one medical facility in the US. However, they need a vision and a will. Did you know that most pharmaceutical companies grew out of the independent medical research of few doctors? The largest and best healthcare facilities in the US rely on cheap labor from the students of the medical schools and universities to which they are affiliated. Many of these interns and residents are African-American.
New procedures and techniques are invented everyday by some of them. However, since they are in the web of the matrix, the benefits to them and their community are limited or non-existent. There is a lot of money in healthcare just ask Castro.
Municipal facilities traditionally service the poor. They are primarily funded by the States taxes, but they also rely on contributions from the wealthy. This may take the form of monetary donations or volunteer help. I did not suggest that the BE100 usurp the responsibility of the state. Nor did I suggest that they treat African-American patients exclusively. That would indeed be foolish.
Am I mistaken in believing that in T&T a primary education for those who don't succeed at the 11+ continues till the age of 16? Is that not enough time to figure out if one is dealing with an Albert Einstein or an Elijah McCoy?
There is still only one Imuhotep in the whole history of civilization. Is it not better to switch their focus early to a skill or trade? What folly it is to deny them the opportunity to make a contribution to society. One of the most prolific Black inventors, Granville T. Woods left school at the age of ten.
A sound primary or elementary education is enough for a kid to decide on his future. The problem with T&T is that the curriculum is stuck in a colonial paradigm. The colonizers were only interested in churning out automatons to staff their banks and uphold bureaucracy in their offices and government. Today, kids are still being groomed for a job and not a career.
As a descendent of cocoa farmers, I learned early to "give the soil something back." This was to ensure a better harvest the following season. All your institutes of higher learning are nothing without the foundation of a sound primary education.
I also did not suggest that One United Bank invest in education or healthcare. That opportunity should have already been explored by those institutes of higher learning that are Dr. Cosby's pet charities.
The vision I hope for with the creation of One United is ownership of our communities the land, the businesses and their infrastructure.
In Southern California, the Black neighborhoods are being decimated by gentrification. Recognizing its disadvantages and environmental impact, the EPA has instituted a ban on suburban sprawl and yuppies are now taking back the neighborhoods around the urban centers. When I lived on the East Coast, I saw the same thing happen to the neighborhoods in and around Manhattan, NYC. I remember the citizens of Harlem complaining vigorously to stop the influx of Yuppies to their neighborhood. In downtown, Brooklyn there was the same cry.
Here is a little reality for you. In the aftermath of white flight most urban communities in the US are now predominantly black or Hispanic, and in decay. The main street, consists of a few store fronts on the ground floors of dilapidated high rises. These buildings are usually owned by some absentee mostly Jewish landlord, who could care less about his tenants. He is probably claiming it as a loss on his income tax return. Relieving him of the burden of property taxes. The result is less money for schools, social services and the maintenance of the neighborhoods’ infrastructure. On the streets that branch off of this main street are houses some abandoned, but mostly they are owned by elderly retired African-Americans. They have raised children who with their newly acquired success have joined the migration to the suburbs. They rarely visit Mom and Pop because they do not feel safe in the hood. In fact they cannot understand why Mom and Pop wont move into that garage they have converted. Meanwhile, the square footage of Mom and Pop's home is about three times the size of the kids’ home, but is valued at a fraction of the price. The mortgage is already paid in full and it is located only a few minutes away from where the kids are employed.
Suddenly! Gentrification. The Bohemian or Gay neighborhood is just a few blocks away. This neighborhood is considered chic, however its desirability has created a shortage of available real estate. A white gay upwardly mobile couple buys one of the abandoned homes on Mom and Pop’s street. And as is their fashion they go all out to make their home the most beautiful on the block. They can afford to, they are not subject to the limits of a fixed social security income. They are soon followed by a few of their friends.
Slowly, the neighborhood begins to change. A developer decides that he wants a piece of the action. He buys the corner lot on main street and builds a strip/mini-mall anchored by a supermarket from a large supermarket chain. Nice place it includes a coffee shop with a newspaper kiosk, a hair grooming franchise, a pharmacy and other readily available necessities . The neighborhood residents begin to patronize the businesses in the mall. The dingy barber shop, the soul food restaurant and the rest of the main street businesses are running out of time. The mall is cleaner and the goods are fresher and initially cheaper.
Property values begin to rise and the owners of the dilapidated high rises are ready to collect from their cash cow. Suddenly, the health department is concerned about the welfare of the tenants and is demanding that the owners upgrade and clean up their properties. Whatever, decision the owner makes about his property it most surely will not be in the best interest of his tenants. Backed into a corner, eventually, these small minority businesses are forced to close up shop. Brand new high rises with fancy apartments and office spaces spring up to replace the row of dilapidated buildings on main street. Without any competition and with an expanding market that can now afford higher prices, the shops in the mall raise prices. Mom and Pop are now effectively priced out of their neighborhood.
Should they refinance their home for extra income or should they sell the home and move into their kids garage. Either way they are screwed. Primed for the repatriation of white suburbia being Black in the neighborhood has now become a liability. This scene is played out on a daily basis in minority communities under attack by urban gentrification.
Even without the intent of maintaining strong communities and with only a capitalist predatory instinct, one can see the advantage of purchasing low priced real estate in the inner city. The Koreans are doing it. However, unlike their ancestors African-Americans having been domesticated, and relieved of their pioneering, visionary capacity will always remain a mile behind the other ethnic groups in our society. They simply will not or cannot see the good in anything unless it is sanctioned by the white majority. Then they turn around and accuse poor black folks of waiting for handouts. The ones you defend are the ones asleep my friend.
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