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Nels Abbey
Ten things rendering Britain's black community weak

ALL ASIAN: an artist’s impression of the new all-Asian shopping mall set to open in east London

I READ in absolute awe that an all-Asian shopping mall was being constructed in Green Street, east London. This is an amazing achievement. Economically, politically and socially they have landed. I’m certain some of these people don’t like each other yet they have pulled together to do what they need to do for them and their children.

This achievement of the Asian community begs one question: what the hell happened to Britain’s black community?

Although things are improving in some areas (academically principally) for the most part, when compared to the Asian community we are for all intent and purposes very weak.

So what is causing this? Below are my observations:

Lack of businesses: We all know this to be evidently true. There are barely any nameable black British business establishments. And the few that do exist often relegate themselves as a result of being woefully poor. This renders any ability to practice group economics all but a virtual impossibility.

In light of the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri there is a call for a three day economic boycott from the 8th of September in which everyone is urged to only buy things from black businesses. I support this. However this must be borne in mind when boycotting: a boycott necessitates that you do nothing. Any drunken fool can boycott. In order to leverage our economic power we have to build quality and viable businesses. So from the 8th of September don’t just boycott: build.

Lack of leadership: In fact void of leadership. Britain’s black community is headless. There is no discernible intellectual, political and business leader or role model of note. Anyone who rises or has potential is immediately co-opted into the mainstream. Or they are destroyed.

Lack of recognised intellectual base and forum: Where are the great thinkers in the black community? The ideas people? Where are the great writers who identify bettering the black community as part of their remit? Where is the forum for these people to get together, plan and organise? Often, I find them very busy chasing their tails begging for legitimacy in the mainstream.

Overemphasis on religion: This is not an attack on faith. This is an attack on faith without action. The hands of God work with ours. Anecdotally, based on London alone, the black community opens up churches at multiple times the rate we do businesses. Just the other day I received a message multiple times to donate towards a £600,000 fund which a church in north London was trying to raise to mark their 10th anniversary. Might this be the black British equivalent of an initial public offering? I’m certain they’ll raise the £600k with ease. However, that youngster with a great idea looking to raise a fraction of that amount would no doubt struggle.

Over-reliance on mainstream black politicians: Whoever said numbers don’t lie has never met a good accountant. For some strange reason we tend to think more black bottoms on parliamentary seats equates to betterment for all of us. Absolute fallacy.

Black people don’t pick the people from our community who we wish to represent us. The big political parties (where we hold zero power) do that for us. Hence the black faces who break into mainstream politics know and remember who butters their bread. As a result of this they will feel a closer affinity to the party-line than the interests of the community they came from.

The Tory or Labour black MP will do enough to keep black folk onside (pictures with a rapper, oppose stop and search, complain about black actors going to the US, etc) but they will never go that extra mile for you. Don’t believe me? I dare you to go ask a black MP for his support for a proposal to build a black-owned, black-business only shopping mall in his area.

Over-reliance on mainly conservative mainstream media: LBC doesn’t have a single black presenter and they have multiple ‘suspect’ presenters when it comes to black issues. Yet, they have a massive black audience. Certain newspapers are demonstrably racist. Yet these very papers have massive black audiences.

The social-cache (and sports section) attached to where you attain your news and views has rendered black people in Britain to attain their information and have their views shaped essentially by people and organisations who are hostile towards them. And don’t employ them.

Lack of a well-funded black political lobby: How does the black community place their issues, concerns and ambitions on the agenda? The answer is: we don’t. Or we rely on white-led organisations to do it for us.

Popular culture: Black British concerns appear to be driven by what is happening in popular culture. There is greater concern about black actors leaving Britain for better opportunities in the United States than the fact that black youth unemployment in Britain stands at 50 per cent. Plus, Britain’s black community is the only community in which comedians, pop-techno rappers, foreign playwrights and white people (of any expertise and none) dominate their political commentariat in the place of black intellectuals.

Lack of self-belief: With the exception of music, black legitimacy - whether political, literary, business, etc - is still a commodity owned by white people and white organisations. We are often unable to see the value and attain enough confidence in each other (and our ideas) unless a white organisation has seen it and accredited it first.

For example, take a profound black voice or article on a black issue by black person and place it on a black medium and it will probably be ignored. Take that exact item and place it on a white medium and watch the accolades roll in.

Individualism: Rampant individualism leaves me questioning whether Britain’s black community is indeed a community. It doesn’t appear to act like one. And this, I guess, explains everything.

Twitter: @NelsAbbey

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