On Sunday, April 10th, 2011, MSNBC presented its second annual program highlighting the state of Black America, moderated by MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz and the Reverend Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network. The moderators were joined by a distinguished group of panelists including Professor Cornell West, Ben Jealous and Marc Morial, among others. As usual, these and other panelists did an outstanding job of defining the problems confronting the Black community and the major barriers to positive change.
I applaud MSNBC for continuing to spotlight the serious problems that not only confront Black America, but the rest of the nation as well. Still, after viewing this and previous telecasts, I am forced to ask the question: how can you have a two hour program on the state of Black America and not devote a major segment of the show to Black economic and business development? Blacks and other minorities have to play a more significant role in fostering the growth of the US Free Enterprise System. Government can be the catalyst for growth, but ultimately the private sector has to accelerate this agenda.
The sad truth is that most economic data reveals that the gap between Black and minority business growth and the larger community is actually growing wider (e.g. revenues generated, jobs created and size of businesses). Thus the dialogue should be on how we can reverse this trend. The key to this reversal is ensuring that strategic partnerships are created between those within the minority community and the larger business community, both domestically and internationally.
It is projected that by the year 2040 minorities will be the majority population in America. Thus our nation's leaders have to accept that minority business enterprise has to be a national priority. Minorities hire other minorities at a very high rate. As such, by producing more jobs in the minority community, we will be protecting the stability of Medicare and Social Security. This would be good not only for our nation and the free enterprise system, but also for the aging white population. Equally important, by supporting minority business enterprise, we help cultivate new leaders and role models for our youth, increasing the tax base and revitalizing under-developed communities.
We have to invest now. 2040 will soon be upon us and the stakes are too high. This is no longer a minority issue, but of national importance!