MISSING IN ACTION: WHERE ARE AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE EBOLA FIGHT?
October 19, 2014
Jerome Almon[/caption] NOTHING. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates $50 million, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen $20 million, Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg $25 million, African American sports stars, celebrities, leaders- NOTHING. These are the amounts that have been donated to the Ebola fight by prominent Americans. This is sad but true, and an all too familiar refrain: White Americans such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt give more money to Black causes than Blacks. The Blacks that African Americans tend to follow are celebrity vultures, taking billions out of the community and putting nothing back into it. Harry Belafonte sparked a debate about people in position to effect change doing very little. In other words they are social and political Bernie Madoff’s that are running a cultural Ponzi scheme on African Americans. They are con-men of the highest order, and the worst part of it is although we as Blacks know this, we still patronize these musical charlatans at our own demise. Imagine what that $150 million in mostly Black dollars would have done for worthy African causes in the US and on the Continent…just imagine it. An examination of the richest African Americans reveals that the over whelming majority are in the sports and entertainment industries, where as the majority of African billionaires, American billionaires, and global billionaires are mostly involved in tech and base business fields However, I do not let the Black masses off the hook at all. As I frequently say about the Black American community, “Aint no victims here-just volunteers.” The entire Ebola epidemic could have been stopped by African Americans donating 1% of the $11 billion we donate to charity annually, and we could turn Africa into a gleaming, self-sufficient, economic juggernaut with the $1.1 trillion we spend annually on absolutely NOTHING. As several news outlets pointed out in recent articles an emergency center built by Bill Gates helped Nigeria to quickly suppress the Ebola outbreak in the country-limiting number of cases to less than 20. African Americans have the ability to finance such a center in every African country for less than what we spend every 2 days in America. So the trillion dollar question is why don’t we put that $1.1 trillion to maximum use for Africa and African Americans? The answer is quite simple-LEADERSHIP. African Americans are and have been betting on the wrong people with the wrong plans. What we are doing is the EXACT same thing that the people who put their money with Bernie Madoff instead of Warren Buffett did. We are the people that sank money into the Smith-Corona typewriter company up until 2005, instead of Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, and Google…yet in both cases we expect stock and a check from Warren Buffett and tech companies. I assure you this will not happen. Having self-appointed leaders screaming racism in the midst of the current Ebola epidemic, is like a firemen coming to your house when it is burning to the ground with your family in it-and does everything but put out the fire. Words will not put out a fire, fireman with a fire truck will. We need more fireman (doctors, engineers, scientist, business people, entrepreneurs) not more talk. We must permanently shed this mentality and the “leaders” that perpetuate it for their own gain. These jack leg preachers are the same people that run $50 million mega churches in the WORST ghettos in America surrounded by $2 prostitutes and drug addicts and dealers that you can imagine. And these exploitive pied pipers drive not Cadillacs, but $350,000 Bentley’s…all paid for by a flock who cannot even keep the water running. The same is true for some athletes who are billionaires because of the Black American masses, and yet have never supported any Black causes, or committed a dollar to the Ebola fight that is getting global attention now. We have had Athletes who are supported by the African community worldwide, and make $100 million, $200 million, $500 million in a short period of time, and end up bankrupt, having never donated any significant amount or any amount to improve the lives of the people that made them incredibly wealthy. Black Americans are an exact mirror of Black athletes when it comes to economics-we waste money on NOTHING and then complain about what we don’t have in the community. In other words, we buy what we want, and beg for what we need. You can go to the worst ghetto in America, and I guarantee you that you will find 10 to 20 pairs of $200-$300 Air Jordan’s in every Black kid’s room. And this visual, as simple as it is, illustrates the basic reason as to why African Americans live like the poorest of the poor although we are the richest of the rich . We have our priorities “back to front” as Australian reporter Paul Toohey wrote in an interview with me in Australia’s largest newspaper called “Motown’s Road To Ruin” . Toohey said what Bill Cosby said in his straight forward assessment of the state of Black America in his critique of our community and our priorities in a brilliant speech on blaming others for our REFUSAL to do the basics. We as African Americans expect, and in fact DEMAND that we get the same respect and results that the Chinese, Indians, Europeans, White Americans, and Canadians get although we behave exactly OPPOSITE as these groups do economically. All communities reflect their leadership, and unfortunately Black Americans reflect those self-appointed leaders that are really out to take advantage of an economically uneducated populace for their own petty gain. We should heed the words of educator Geoffrey Canada and put our money where it does us the most good and review the prophetic book by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Where Do We Go from Here: Community or Chaos.” We have to go by the actions of those seeking to lead us, not by their words or we will continue to end up with NOTHING. We need to take a look back at our engagement with Africa. It has to go beyond social issues, it has to go beyond church related networks. African Americans need to do a little more to elevate their level of engagement with the continent. For these we may borrow a leaf from the way the Latino community engages with Latin America, Chinese Americans with China, Indian Americans and India, and White Americans and Europe. And talking about relations, we as African Americans should not be delusional that engaging with Africa is about giving to them. No, times have changed, it is about partnership, and there are economic opportunities in the continent as well that could be of great interest to African American Entrepreneurs. By working in partnership with Africa, we will also be helping ourselves considering that we live in a global world and it is no longer a case of their world vs. our world. What happens in one part of the world has I must address the organizations and groups that have equally done NOTHING to aid in the Ebola fight. At the top of my list is the National Medical Association (NMA), which is a Black organization for medical doctors in America. Although they have been notified of the efforts to get African Americans on board to help end the Ebola crisis, they have not said one word, and have done NOTHING to help. This is insulting coming from Black medical professionals. I proposed to that the organization both join the fight, and address the proposal of my organization that $1 billion of the $11 billion African Americans donate to charity go to full scholarship and student loan debt relief for those in the medical, engineering, and hard sciences fields. What did I hear NOTHING. If this was proposed in the White American, Chinese, Indian-any other community, EVERYTHING would have stopped to address the opportunity and gain this massive amount of revenue. At the end of the day this is the difference between African Americans and all other members of the African diaspora and all other ethnic groups-when it comes to money and economics Blacks in America are completely illogical. For too many of us economics is like the cross to Dracula. We think that successful communities are successful due to some great advantage over Blacks, when the truth is other ethnic groups understand as a basic fact that EVERYTHING cost money-education, infrastructure, political campaigns, good city services, EVERYTHING…we do not accept this basic fact and it is killing us-LITERALLY. This is the simple reason we end up with NOTHING more times than not, we refuse to accept this reality that any 12 year old anywhere else in the world does accept. In closing, I would like to get back to the Ebola crisis. African Americans need to know that the people suffering and dying in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are African Americans. Sierra Leone and Liberia are populated by Black Americans that returned to the country in the 1700’s and 1800’s respectively. One of the most promising vaccines against Ebola was developed by researchers from Iowa State University which is where Black America’s most famous scientist George Washington Carver graduated-his work having brought great amounts of revenue to the university and America as a whole. John Garang, African leader who led the liberation campaign that created Africa’s latest nation South Sudan, attended the same Iowa State University (South Sudan was one of the first nations to have an Ebola outbreak in 1976). So at the end of the day, it is African Americans, dying of Ebola as much as it is Liberians, Sierra Leoneans, and Guineans PERIOD. We have every incentive and duty to aid as much as possible, but also for self-survival. Certain diseases tend to be affect certain ethnic groups more than others due to evolution in a particular environment. Meaning, there are diseases that Europeans, Chinese, etc. more than they do other groups. In this case Ebola is a tropical virus that history has shown us tends to affect African American more than they do other Americans. We warned of this looming disaster in 2013, and had we been listened to, there would be no Ebola epidemic in West Africa or America -Ebola infected nurse Amber Vinson is African American. So we can save our people and ourselves or we can do wait on others to do it for us, and we will end up with not even our lives, we will end up with NOTHING. The expectation should not be for everyone to what Bill Gates and Mak Zuckerberg have done,as African Americans, we just cannot remain silent and indifferent . *Jerome Almon is a Detroit Based Businessman. Visit The power of one trillion for more information ]]>
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