Today is the 43rd year after the assassination on Dr. Martin Luther King. I’ve written about it in previous years on two blogs of mine, but I’m kind of going a much different route this year, a bit more controversial and kind of a departure for me. But it seems some things have to be said, some truths confronted, and heck, I’m in the mood to do it.
I have been privy lately to reading a lot of, and participating in quite a few, conversations related to minorities online. The major question has been why there aren’t any minorities recognized as A-list bloggers or gurus online if you will. Of course, that kind of generalized statement always gets challenged by the same people who, when people ask why there aren’t more black millionaires, say “look at all the athletes and entertainers”; please! In reality, 43 years after Dr. King, in the realm of being known by a lot of people minorities in general haven’t broken through online. Many people can name one or two, and that always reminds me of “Hey, I have a black friend.” And trust me, I’m not being sensitive; it happens across the board, even in technology.
The overall reality is that one shouldn’t expect that things will be different online than they are in the real world. For instance, there are only 3 black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; at least in the past, as I haven’t seen the latest list yet. There aren’t any latinos or Asians at all as far as I can tell. Still, out of 500 there’s not even 10% minority representation; that’s a shame in this century.
Then again, it follows a pattern. The other day new unemployment stats came out saying unemployment went down to 8.8%; however, for black people it went up to 18%. For every other minority it also went up; what the heck is that all about? Well, I know, but I’m not saying right now.
Suffice it to say, there hasn’t been any “overcoming” so far. Yet, for all the laments on things that seem to be going against minorities, we don’t get a free pass on this. Bill Cosby was right; we’re doing a lot of this to ourselves overall. I’m not sure if you’ve heard that Latinos now number 50 million in the United States, which is pretty powerful. Yet, for all that power, they can’t get together to vote as a block and effect any change for their community. If they did, you wouldn’t have all this trash going on in Arizona. And if black people were acting right, you wouldn’t end up with incidences like this abhorrent mess in Cleveland, TX, where an 11 year old was raped and many of the people in town are blaming her; what the heck? And then it happened again in Riverside, CA.
Frankly, there’s a lot of blame to go around, and thus one can’t put all the weight on fixing any perceived or real issues on one group or another. However, I’m irked today, which is why I’m posting the video below, even though I’ve thought long and hard as to whether or not I should do it. In the end, I figure it had to be done, and it had to be said, and I’m just glad it’s not coming from my mouth. It’s from a Boondocks episode where Martin Luther King Jr actually came back to life and got a look at some of the “progress” his trials and tribulations had actually brought us to. I hope overall that this isn’t as good as it gets, but this little “speech” is as truthful as it gets… for now, as I acknowledge year #43:
By the time most of you read this, I should be on my way to New Jersey for almost a week of consulting for a hospital system in the area. This is a big deal to me because it means that the chains are finally off the wallets of some hospitals, now that the health care bill has been passed, and that most of them have some kind of idea of what their monetary situations are as it pertains to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
As I look at health care, it makes me wonder whether the economy is finally starting to turn around for the better, after about 2 years of horrible financial distress around the world. Actually, that’s not quite a true statement. I don’t wonder about it at all because I think I know the answer, and I’d like us to discuss it to see if I’m alone in this thought.
What I think the answer turns out to be is “no”. Here are some reasons why I say that.
1. Unemployment in the United States is around 9.7%. It’s remained there for the last two months, which means it hasn’t gotten any better, but it hasn’t gotten any worse. I’m not one who believes if you’re not falling further behind that you’re actually making progress.
2. Housing is still in the tank. Real estate people are saying that things are getting better because foreclosures are starting to diminish. I’m sorry, but if foreclosure rates were around 40% a month for awhile, and now they’re down to 22%, to me that doesn’t mean things are getting better, just that there are fewer properties for banks to foreclose upon. Home sales in general aren’t getting all that much better, home prices are still way down, and banks are trying to inflate the prices of some homes by withholding how many foreclosed properties they’re putting on the market.
3. Banks are closing at a higher rate than last year at the same time. There were around 140 banks that were closed last year by the Federal Reserve, the highest number since 1990. As I wrote on my finance blog last week, we were at 37 bank closures before Friday (that’s usually when you hear about more banks being closed), which was 16 ahead March 28th of last year. Also, all the large banks that had received bailout money from the government have paid it back, but more than half of those banks are recording losses ever since they left. That doesn’t bode well for anyone.
4. And that’s only in the United States. British banks are in trouble because the American banks are in trouble. Most of you heard about the problems in Abu Dhabi as they thought they’d be able to build forever without having any extra cash, investors, or clean water, let alone building everything on slave labor (no, they don’t like talking about it). Foreign investments are having problems as well, and let’s face it, the Chinese market is killing all of us because they just won’t open up; Chinese leaders, communism is dead and dying!
5. Credit. I’m talking about all of it, or the loss of it. Remember when you used to get 3 to 4 credit card offers a week? For about 8 or 9 months I stopped getting any, and now I’m getting one a week, for my business, and that’s it. Banks have learned the wrong lesson. They were giving a lot of credit to people who didn’t deserve to have it, or as much as they gave out, and they got burned. They got burned because they generated a lot of revenue that’s not real money, and when people were suddenly out of work and couldn’t pay, even collection efforts couldn’t save banks because all that money, which they turned around and invested, wasn’t real.
Now they’ve decided they’re not giving almost any money out, even to people with high credit scores, which I’ve already deemed are worthless. There are people with high credit scores being turned down for loans; that’s a shame. And let’s not even talk about how people are being cheated as it comes to their credit cards, even with the new legislation. Once again, this isn’t just in the United States.
Those are only a couple of reasons why I don’t believe the economy has turned around. I could go into a litany of things, but this should be enough to get a discussion going. Yes, some things are finally starting to turn around for me, but I never use myself as a gauge for how things are going for everyone else. What say you?
Earlier today, a friend of mine called (she doesn’t ever read this blog, so of course she’ll be checking on it pretty soon after this) because she just needed to vent; that’s one of her best phrases. She’s been having a tough go of it lately; actually, she’s been having a tough go of it since I’ve met her. The thing is, though I’ve never told her this directly (though I have said it), almost every single piece of it is her fault. I sympathize with her only because she’s my friend, and for no other reason.
During her rant, she said she’s done everything possible to get things to go in her favor over the years. She asks why good things don’t happen for good people, but they always seem to happen to bad people. She said she’s always trying to think of the positive side of things, but how hard it is because of all the bad stuff that’s gone on in her life. On and on and on it went. Today I was just listening, but I was chomping at the bit. I really wanted to say something, but there are those days when you don’t want to beat up on someone, even if the way I beat up on people is usually fairly kind. I will tell people the way it is, but I’m not brutal.
I’m going to tell a personal story here, if I may. Back in 1991, I lost a very good job. Years later I learned the truth about losing the job, and in reality it had nothing to do with me, but at the time it happens you start to lose a little bit of confidence in yourself. You battle and battle yourself, but sometimes it just doesn’t come through to you.
I was lucky. At the time, the economy was about as bad as it is now, and that means unemployment was extended from the norm of 26 weeks in New York state to an extra 28 weeks. I also sued my past employer, and based on the law they had to pay me during a portion of it. So I had money coming in, but it made it difficult to find work because at any time I had to be available to leave for court, and it would have been hard to get any new employer to go for something like that. I also had problems getting work because the job I’d lost was at a high level. Those employers that did contact me and interview me wouldn’t hire me because they didn’t think I’d stay at the jobs all that long; you know, that “over-qualified” thing.
I was out of work for almost 18 months. It wasn’t pretty, to be sure. What ended up happening is that the judge took the case and said he’d be making his decision. At that point, my past employer didn’t have to pay me anymore. Unemployment was over with also. I had no money coming in, and I was living alone. I had no prospects for real work, and I was depressed. I was in a bad way, and a bad spot. I was within 30 days of having to make a very critical decision; at age 34, it looked like I was going to have to totally swallow my pride, give up my apartment, and move to another city to live with my parents.
I decided that just wasn’t in the cards. I was going to get work, no matter what it was, and I was going to stay in my own apartment and work my way back out of my problems. The first thing I did was call some of my past contacts; I didn’t have many of them, but I hopped on the phone and called them all, saying I needed work. The second thing I did was go up to the closest gas station and apply to work there. My thinking was that if I could get at least a part time job I’d have a little bit of money coming in, and it would allow me to continue looking for other things, as I was putting in for second shift, and if I needed to work temporary jobs in the meantime during the day then I’d do that also. My main goal was to stay in my apartment; I figured food would come, and my utilities were already totally covered. And, if need be, I could walk to work, as it was just down the street.
I got the part time job within an hour of applying. Two hours later, I got called for a contract job in the city, full time, though no benefits. I didn’t care; it wasn’t great pay, but it was pay. And it was going to be enough to pay my bills, and if I budgeted well enough I’d at least be able to eat. Matter of fact, since I was working at the gas station, I got a discount on their hot foods, so eating wasn’t going to be a problem either.
Back then, I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about my problems, but I did have this resolve that said I would do whatever it took to be independent, and whatever it took to take care of myself. I have that same resolve today as a consultant, and it’s a good thing since I’ve yet to make it at a big time internet marketer. 🙂 It’s a tough road at times being independent, and yet I’ve shown every time that when the chips are down I’ll do whatever it takes to get some money coming in the door, and usually I’m lucky that it’s not chump change, as I like living fairly well.
Back to my friend. Her problem is that she spends all of her time saying what she “can’t” do and “doesn’t feel comfortable” doing, and that she’s “only qualified to do one thing”. She hasn’t hit that wall of clarity yet that says you do whatever you need to do to sustain yourself so you can hopefully one day get to do what you really want to do.
I believe in the laws of attraction, and in this case if you keep telling yourself you can’t do something, then that’s just what you won’t be able to do. If you spend your time thinking about getting back at someone you feel wronged you, then that’s all you’re going to think about and you won’t be able to progress. If all you can think about are bad decisions you made in your life, or why life keeps picking on you, or that you’re entitled to something else just because, well, whatever your reasoning is, then that’s where you’re always going to be stuck mentally, and if that’s the case then you might as well file for welfare and Medicaid now and just give up because you’re never going anywhere positive. I believe in the laws of attraction as they were discussed in the movie The Secret; what you concentrate on, positively or negatively, you will bring into your life.
My bet, in this day and age, is if my livelihood depended on it I’d probably have figured out the way of making lots of money on the internet. But I haven’t given up on this dream; lucky for me, I will always do whatever it takes to sustain myself and my family until something I really want takes off. Folks, it’s out there for all of us if we can only maintain the proper mindset. Think positively, and your actions will be positive, and eventually positive things will happen to you. Try to define your goals; check out this post, download the survey, and see where you stand as far as goals you want to achieve in life.
It’s not bad people that succeed; it’s driven people that succeed. Sometimes those driven people are jerks; deal with it. Be responsible for your own life; if you are, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.