Monday, April 29, 2013, AM | Leave Comment
Here in America, a religious institution serves its flock not only in their spiritual well-being but lately have started to address their personal finances as well. Many of these institutions have job fairs, and seminars on credit counseling.
Churches and other such organizations have started to play a role in helping its congregation through tough economic times.
In the news, we hear a lot about families’ debt problems. It seems that African Americans families have disproportionate share of the problem. Some suggest that the debt pendulum has swung too much in their direction. Is there any truth to it? I don’t know.
If the surveys have been carried out unbiased and without any prejudices, then I would believe it.
The senior pastor noted…
DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J., declares in one of his sermons that debt is a bigger threat to blacks than racism.
While racism often comes from the outside, debt is something that people generally bring upon themselves. That makes it especially pernicious [exceedingly harmful]. He also cited a number of statistics about people who do not have bank accounts or use Pay day loans.
I think debt and financial insecurities are terrible not only to one group but all groups regardless of their color, creed, sex or anything else for that matter.
We all have needs and wishes. However, when our needs especially wishes get to be more than the resources available to us, then we step into debt shit. And the needs and wishes are not specific to any particular group, ethnic or otherwise.
Rev. Soaries at one point in the interview with CNN compared the blacks’ debt with the historical U.S. slavery. I think there is a difference between the statement “I am a slave of credit cards. Or I am a slave of my wishes” and the slavery (physical and mental) of the past.
Debt is color blind
We are all slaves of something. A white or Asian is as much a slave of credit cards – maybe more – as an African American.
We all must strive to have some control over debt especially bad debt. Past social and financial injustices that blacks faced at the hands of the government – in the South to be specific – and the white folks that were the masters, perhaps are part of the reason that blacks are more heavily in debt than other groups.
On the same token, Asians especially Chinese Americans took a huge part in building the railroads of the nation under very bad conditions.
They were not slaves per say but the conditions that they work under were way far from ideal. However, most of the Chinese Americans are doing better these days than even some of the whites.
People who have the self-inflicted debt problems do not have it because of their race or color of their skin. As long as you use credit wisely and not get heavily in debt, then debt is color-blind.
Let me say this much…
There’s no reason why less fortunate can’t have no-cost simple bank accounts so they don’t have to resort to payroll and other kinds of loan sharks.
Debt is an issue that should not be mixed up with racism. Talking about debt this way does nothing to solve it.
Community Reinvestment Act
In 1977, United States federal law known as “Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was implemented. The purpose was to encourage lending institutions to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
Congress passed the law to reduce discriminatory credit practices against low-income neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining.
Some say banks were afraid to be labeled biased and prejudiced if they did not extend credit to these neighborhoods. It’s quite a complex law that encompasses a variety of financial opportunities and mishaps.
Could the Act itself be one of the reasons for the debacle of millions of foreclosure and bankruptcies of the past years?
The law itself might have been devised with good intentions but the implementation was all messed up because of greed on the part of some institutions.
In a Nutshell
There are good and bad external forces and internal forces as well within ourselves. At the end of the day, we just have to reject the bad ones and accept the good ones. Sometimes unfortunately, it so happens that we accept the bad ones and reject the good ones.