Last night’s Opening Reception, and subsequent dialogue on “The Aspirational Future of Black Men in America,” featuring Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Van Jones of CNN and Dream Corps, Ben Jealous of Kapor Capital and former CEO of the NAACP, underscored a future positive vision for our people.  If, when and where we actually ‘apply’ ourselves.  And so, while race and issues of racism are real, it could be argued that we are arguing at base about ‘the wrong color.’

I have often said, if you deal with class, you get race for free. 

Yes, racism is still and remains a very big issue in our wider community and world.  But the core issue in underserved and struggling communities  — is the lack of a good job.  Or as my friend Van Jones often says, “the best way to stop a bullet, is a job.”

In the 21st century, we are dealing squarely and firmly in an economic age.  With economic issues.  But are we prepared, is the question?  What is the ‘Business Plan’ for our lives, for the African-American and broader community?  These are the questions.  It is also instructive to remember that there are more poor white people in America, than poor anyone else.  That was true in Dr. King’s day, and it is true now.

And so, “whether you are black, white, red, brown or yellow — everyone wants to see some more green.  As in U.S.currency, I mean.”

When 70% of the U.S. Economy is driven by consumer spending (you and me), and 70% of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck, we are really ‘all in this mess together.’  

When 70% of everyone you know, has ‘too much month at the end of their money,’ we are all really in this mess together.

In underserved communities, you have unemployed black youth, coming face to face with under-employed and financially stressed out police officers.  That cannot be a good combination. But it is essentially, at bottom the same problem.  The problem at bottom, is green. We are all in this mess, together.

We will either rise together, or fall together.  It’s all in our hands.  The new color — is green.

John Hope Bryant

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