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The Quasi-Colonization and Economic Exploitation of  Black Neighborhoods in the U.S.

The Quasi-Colonization and Economic Exploitation of Black Neighborhoods in the U.S.

In black neighborhoods, there has been a growing, but scarcely spoken about, phenomena regarding community economics: the quasi-colonization and economic exploitation of black communities by non-African-American racial and ethnic minorities.

It is no secret that black communities–for the most part–are and have been for a long time, economically starved. There are many social and political reasons for the socio-economic issues in the black community. On that topic alone, I could probably write several books in addition to the multitude that have already been put out on the subject. Therefore, I will primarily touch on the issues regarding the economic exploitation of black people in their own communities.

Having grown up in the inner-city myself, an area which was a primarily African-American–and poor–I never thought much about economics, much less community economics. Or in other words, I never paid much attention to the groups of people who controlled the neighborhood from a financial perspective.

The neighborhood I grew up in had Arab liquor stores, Korean beauty supply stores, Chaldean grocery stores and gas stations, and Vietnamese nail salons. Very few of the businesses were own by black people. How absurd is that! I mean there were black barbershops and soul food restaurants, but the businesses that made the most money were owned by people who did not look like me. Why is it that people from other races bypass their own communities to set up shop in the most economically deprived neighborhoods in their city? I would understand if these people had grown up in the black community, or at least lived in the area which they’ve decided to open a store. But no, these people intentionally choose to put deplorable establishments in our neighborhoods instead of their own, which makes the fact that they do so, reprehensible to say the least.

To make matters worse, not only do these mostly foreign-born entrepreneurs invest zero dollars back into the communities they profit so much from; they usually hire their family members (or at least people from the same cultural background), extract black dollars from our community and infuse them into their neighborhoods so that they can flourish financially, while ours, the very communities they “serve” suffer.

These types of business arrangements in black communities are exploitation at its finest, and if it isn’t, then why don’t they open these establishments in their own neighborhoods? To me, the answer to that question is twofold. On one end, they know that due to a legacy of oppression and economic castration, black communities don’t (for the most part) practice much ownership and entrepreneurship, which means that most won’t find it peculiar that the most lucrative businesses in their area are owned by people of different races who aren’t from the neighborhood, and in many cases, are not even from this country. Therefore, they won’t notice that they’re being taken advantage of by foreign capitalists. The other reason as to why they don’t open in their own communities is that they know that because of socioeconomic deprivation, the inner-city areas are impoverished and have few options to patronize at other stores. In other words, black people have no other choice but to be consumers at this point because there aren’t many people in a position to open black businesses and the black people who can open such an establishment seldom do.

Foreign businesspeople have essentially colonized our neighborhoods. However, they have not fully colonized our communities (hence the term quasi-colonization used in the title), as they only benefit from us financially and haven’t (yet) decided to occupy our land as residents. If we as a people don’t stand up for our communities and stop supporting those who seek to use us for financial gain–while providing us with nothing of substance to improve our community–we will perpetually be at the bottom in terms of economic prosperity for years to come.


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