Thursday, September 11, 2008

1st Official Reader's Money Quote-From Pioneer Valley Woman

First of all, let me express my deep and amazed gratitude to bloggers such as Rev. Lisa, Focused Purpose, Hagar's Daughter, Pioneer Valley Woman, and so many others. I'm so thankful for their inspiration, support, and the cyber-stream of readers that they've been sending my way.

Given that they have sent such an insightful audience my way, I knew that it wouldn't take long for one such reader to provide the First Official Reader's Money Quote. The Reader's Money Quote is a statement that is of such insight and importance that it merits frequent and loud repetition. This first Reader's Money Quote is from Pioneer Valley Woman, host of the blog Episcopalienne. Pioneer Valley Woman is a brilliant academic, as well as an Episcopalian "church lady." She said the following while commenting on "Charity Should Begin at Home, Part 1."

"This is a capitalist society and although certain institutions, like the government and education, in the past, could act as though they were above and beyond all that, those days are over. Everybody has to hustle. . ." (emphasis added)

Because we don't have businesses of our own, a disproportionate number of the Black middle and professional classes work in education and for the government in some capacity. In light of this fact, Pioneer Valley Woman's warning needs to be repeated to all who will listen. Some of our people are like the workers in the former Soviet Union: We're used to getting paid no matter how shabby our work product and work ethic is. We're also used to thinking that our "good government jobs" are secure. As Pioneer Valley Woman has noted, that's not true anymore.

Pioneer Valley Woman, thank you for your support; and thank you for providing the First Official Reader's Money Quote.


lormarie said...

More and more Im beginning to realize the importance of "hustling" so that I could have various streams of income. It is so expensive here in the northeast and I can only imagine things getting worse. Lately, I've been thinking about gardening so that I could grow food instead of depending on markets.

Also, I work in the education field and I realize I don't have too many skills outside of that. I'd better get moving.

Khadija said...


Welcome! It does my heart good to hear from those of us who are taking steps to secure our survival.

Let me mention one side hustle that is relatively economy-proof: bartending. No matter what happens, there will always be people somewhere ordering drinks. My friend's daughter is a teacher. She started bartending when she was still in college. She still does it from time to time during the summer vacation months.

Peace, blessings and solidarity. said...

Hey there Khadija! {waves}

Awwww {blush} thanks for the shout out!

I have met many black women who have told me that they chose a field that was never going to disappear. That's OK but that is not the same as choosing a fiend that is never going to disappear AND THAT will allow for long-term income growth. So many black people have chosen occupations in fields that do not offer much income growth, so they are able to make a solid living but ARE NOT able to engage in serious wealth-building.

My father ALWAYS told us that he invested 1/4 of his net income. It was a way of life for him at a young age. He always taught his children that "your money HAS TO work harder than you do."

You would not believe how many black people have I met whose parents handed them a stock certificate on their birthdays? I actually know black people in their 30s...and 40s...who have never EVEN SEEN a stock certificate!!

Don't faint on that one. But yesss.

I see too many sistas who are working for a check but who DO NOT have mechanisms established where their money is making money for them. Why? I think they were not taught that it should be a top priority.

My friend, Val, is a corporate exec and when she sold some stock, she didn't want to wind up in a higher tax bracket so she asked her company NOT TO give her a salary for a year and to hold it until the following year...they were FLOORED that a black woman was making the request...and FLOORED that her investments had been so saavy that she COULD request that her paycheck be held for a year.

I am going to add a section to my blog that will feature black women who are writing about investing. Thanks for inspiring me to get busy on that!

Congratulations on launching this wonderful blog!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Anonymous said...

So very true. I lost my teaching gig last year and have been freelancing ever since. Its not easy but I actually prefer it to the fake security of a job.

I also hope to see more of us (meaning Black folks) learning survival skills like gardening, etc. The way things are going, we are all going to need those skills, plus growing your food is healthier for you and cheaper.

In a strange way when you have a job, its false security as I learned because if its taken away from you, most of us have don't have adequate resources to survive long term as far as savings but that's a whole other story.

Khadija said...

Rev. Lisa!

{frenzied waving}

Thank you soooo much for your support. You've been an inspiration!

You've taken this to another level---you're talking about actually building wealth. Unfortunately, most of our people are not even positioned to survive, much less prosper.

The vast majority of us who have jobs are, at best, 1.5 paychecks away from disaster. Most of the people I see are living from paycheck to paycheck. As Black Girl in Maine has noted, most of us don't have any savings.

Even worse, I know several people who are using their credit cards for basic living expenses. All of this is utterly insane. The ultimate in madness are the Black attorneys I know who actually use payday loans to pay their bills. Only one of these individuals is on drugs. [Lord have mercy.]

You are also quite correct that working for money doesn't lead to real wealth. Even high-salary positions have structural earning limitations. For example, attorneys can charge for only so many billable hours per day. Doctors and dentists can only perform so many procedures per day. Trading your time for money creates income ceilings.

Most of us were never taught that passive income (when your money works for you; instead of you working for it) is the secret to wealth-building. The trick is to acquire the sort of assets that are making money for you while you are asleep at night, while you are on vacation, etc.

Peace and blessings,

Khadija said...

Black Girl in Maine,

Welcome! I praise God that you had the skills and savvy to make it. Most of us DO NOT have what it takes to make it after losing our jobs. Seriously. Most of us also lack the courage to freelance.

You are so right about the fake "security" of these jobs. I'm beginning to think that there's a psychological issue involved. I see so many Black folks who are DESPERATE to believe that they've "arrived" at a point where needing to hustle is beneath them.

So many of the conversations I have when I try to warn people have no connection to logic or reality. The attitude seems to be, "But I worked so hard to get away from scuffling. Them days are over!" So many cling to this attitude. Even while acknowledging the events that indicate hard times are on the way.

And if you've tried talking to folks about saving, you know what so many say: "I can't afford to save." I say: "You can't afford not to."

Peace and blessings,

Hagar's Daughter said...

This is such an important message. (The teacher, Prof PVW, taught such an important lesson.)

I know from experience of the psychological "torture" that comes with believing in the "security" of "job security." No such animal exists.

Rev. Lisa makes a valid point about learning how to invest our money. So many black folks want to wear the "look" of wealth, but refuse to sacrifice and to learn how to create wealth. So many of us have 0 or negative wealth. To combat this false image in the minds of my nieces and nephews, I started a portfolio for all of them. I can't invest a large sum of money (too many of them), I invest $25 a month in accounts that are geared for children and I'm the trustee of their accounts. Each month they receive a financial statement and investment advice, definition of investment terms, etc written in age appropriate language. I'm not embarassed to say that I've learned so much just by reading this "children's literature." I've purchased 1 share of stock in companies they recognize just so that they can become interested in watching their stock. I get such joy when I hear my nephew say that he owns the sneakers he is wearing - meaning he owns part of the company. This same nephew inquired about his portfolio (he used that term) during his evacuation during Katrina; he wanted to make sure his money was safe and wouldn't get lost in the storm - lol.

Not only is believing in job security and just earning a check stifling to income growth, but this belief is also stifling to our creativity. A lesson that I still continue to wrestle with.

Black Girl In Maine,
It really does take courage to freelance - may the force continue to be with you. Godspeed.

Peace to all.

Khadija said...

Hagar's Daughter,

{3 z-formation finger snaps as a salute}

Welcome! Yes, Pioneer Valley Woman told us right! And more of us need to heed her warning. ASAP.

Guurl, I'm sooo impressed with what you did regarding your nieces and nephews. You're the bomb! You've lifted their future quality of life just by hooking them up with this financial information and awareness.

{3 more finger snaps}

Your observation about Black folks wanting to "wear the 'look' of wealth" is what's underlying much of the financial madness I've seen. So many people absolutely refuse to live according to their means. At all. Ever. This phenomena also seems to have reached the point of being a mass mental health issue.

You also mentioned a subtle point that I hadn't thought of before: Not only is the illusion of job security stifling Black folks' income growth, but it's also stifling our creativity. I'm learning so much from you. Thank you.

Peace and blessings,

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Greetings, Khadija!

Sorry for the delay in responding in thanks for the shout out!

So glad to be part of your community and to contribute to our knowledge base!

I have been at an academic conference these past few days, and I'll blog about it soon...

More fantastic stuff for us to think of--colleagues who do research on the subprime mortgage crisis, etc.

Khadija said...

Pioneer Valley Woman,

Welcome! And thank YOU for providing the 1st official Reader's Money Quote. I look forward to hearing about the conference you attended.

You mentioned "my community"? Huh? What? It doesn't feel as grand as that. This blog-hosting gig feels very new and very strange to me right now. I'm truly grateful for the people who choose to bless me with their participation and insights. I hope for this to develop into an informal think tank of informed town criers.

I've learned from watching the examples of you and others that our voices really DO carry. Often, much further than I had realized. Given that most of our "brand name" leaders are incompetent, I now see how much all of our voices are needed.

I hope for this to become one of several places (in addition to your own) where we can gather information, compare notes, and think through some things together. Given the state of our current leadership, it's up to us.

Peace and blessings,

Sister Seeking said...

"Because we don't have businesses of our own, a disproportionate number of the Black middle and professional classes work in education and for the government in some capacity." Khadija

Salaam Alaikum/Peace & Blessings:

Couple things here:

1) We have allowed ourselves to become an ideological dumping ground to be freely paraded to the world--in particular we are constantly used by socialist groups who pimp, and abuse civil rights legislation. Because our family systems are in a complete state of anarchy and white men are tired of the "white mans" burden, socialists have destroyed the last bit of fatherhood left in our communities by duping us into accepting programs that replace the family.

2) I'm a pro-homeschooler becuase I believe children were created to be educated, and trained at home by the entire family and community. Its no coincidence that many Americans, go from the public school system ( the state) to a government job, especially black people. Public schools are not socializing or educating anyone they are training people to serve the state.

If we ever hope to reform our family systems which will lead to economic stability and maybe independence we must eliminate the public school systems


Khadija said...

Sister Seeking,

Wa Alaikum As Salaam! Ramadan Mubarak!

Yes, we have allowed ourselves to be a dumping ground for ALL SORTS of social engineering experiments. We pick up and run with whatever ideological, educational, religious, and cultural fads that others come up with.

Meanwhile, the upper percentile of the White population sticks with the tried and tested "classics" across the board. From traditional educational methods to traditional family structures.

The Donald Trumps, etc. are married to the women that have their children. They send their children to schools that teach the classics. In general, those people who have been successful FOR GENERATIONS stick to traditional lifestyles and methods.

In theory, I agree that more of us need to take control of our children's education. In theory, I agree that more of us need to homeschool. But let's be for real. How many Black folks do you really believe are going to put the time, energy, and downright hard work into doing a good job of educating their own children?

You will do it. But how many other Black parents are serious about doing it? I'm concerned that in many Black folks' hands, this practice would generally endanger the education and potentially the lives of Black children. Very, very few of us are truly willing to do this correctly. For a variety of reasons.

I have to salute the White, evangelical Christian homeschoolers. They are SERIOUS about homeschooling. They have done the serious groundwork in terms of researching curricula. They have done the work to create serious, supportive networks. They've done a lot of hard work to make this possible for their children.

Much of this is possible because these people are in stable marriages. Unlike the situtations that most Black children are raised within. Furthermore, these White husbands can afford (and are willing) to support their wives staying at home to homeschool their children.

How many Black parents are willing to sacrifice one parent's income so that parent can homeschool the children? This would mean living a more frugal lifestye. Collectively, we definitely don't want to do this. Many of us don't even want to live within our means.

I contrast the actions of the White, evangelical homeschoolers with the general lack of seriousness among many Black folks who only play at homeschooling.

First, there's the issue of curriculum. Are Black folks picking curricula that have been successfully tried and tested over time? Or are they falling for educational fads like "unschooling"?

Second, there's the issue of financial investment. Real materials cost real money. There's also the cost of having the chidren participate in outside events that are normally arranged by the schools (such as athletic meets, etc.).

Finally, it's been my impression that a not insignificant portion of the Black folks that call themselves homeschooling their children have some bad motives mixed into the decision. I believe that some of them are doing this to escape the outside scrutiny that comes with sending one's children to school. After all, teachers are mandated reporters regarding child abuse and neglect.

If I remember correctly, didn't the Black woman from the DC area that killed her 3 daughters and lived with their decomposing bodies for months claim to be homeschooling them? [Basically, to evade government scrutiny of how she was raising her girls.]

Frankly, I won't be surprised if a self-proclaimed Black homeschooling parent does something that causes the authorities all over the US to crack down on homeschooling.

Wa Salaam.

PioneerValleyWoman said...


Finally, it's been my impression that a not insignificant portion of the Black folks that call themselves homeschooling their children have some bad motives mixed into the decision.

My reply:

It is probably already happening, like you suggested.

I think I mentioned in one of my earlier replies, a young child whom I once knew as a 10 year old, as being homeschooled, but instead he spent all day with the television on.

I have heard through the grapevine that he is now 15, and has not been inside a school for two years. The perception is that the mother wanted him home to take care of the younger children.

Khadija said...

Pioneer Valley Woman,

Uh huh. What you're describing with the 15-year old boy (who hasn't been inside a school in 2 years) is a good example of what colored folks will ACTUALLY do with the notion of homeschooling.

Not what we say we're going to do; but what many of us will actually do. It's outrageous. Worst of all, the children are often worse off than if they had gone to a crappy public school. Hmmph.

Peace and blessings.

Chi-Chi said...

On the other hand I know some Black homeschooling families that are doing phenomenal jobs. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to use tried and "tested" curricula. Many homeschooling families don't want to do school at home but rather want to do revolutionary education where children are taught to think for themselves not in preconceived/contrived ways. Most White Evangelicals don't want their children in public schools so that they may teach them their own beliefs in a vacuum. It's just important to be honest with yourself about how capable you are educating your children on your own financially, emotionally and otherwise. It's important for Black homeschoolers also to have connections/organizations where they can support each other. I actually don't know many Black folks even willing to entertain the idea of homeschooling. It is a lot of work. Those I know who are doing it are doing it well.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Chi-Chi!

I'm happy to hear that you know some Black homeschooling families that are doing a great job. My concern is that, from what I'm hearing, these families are not at all representative of the bulk of such Black families.

In terms of the curricula, we'll just have to "agree to disagree." I feel that Black children's education is too important for experiments. Whites can often afford to run "revolutionary" experiments with their children's education. We can't.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Chi-Chi said...

Greetings Again Khadija,

You know, (and not to be argumentative in the least) it doesn't even have to be a brand new or experimental curriculum. You can be a classical homeschooler (following a set curriculum) but add aspects to it that would be missing but that would enhance the education of a child of color such as African and African-American history, World history, and religious/philosophical studies. So your curriculum wouldn't be verbatim the curriculum you've bought or are following. It would be more multi-faceted and diverse. I don't believe in Afro-centric education. I know that unschooling would never be something I'd be into. I fully believe that there absolutely needs to be discipline associated with learning. A set schedule with set goals that we steadily work to achieve so that we may demonstrate a body of work. Many people have issues with the "restrictiveness" of homeschool laws in my home state. I don't see the problem. Accountability, in my mind, is never a bad thing. When I speak of "revolutionary" education, I'm not really talking in terms of an experimental curriculum (because I agree, we can't afford to take that risk) but just in terms of education that doesn't produce robots but thinking, reasoning, critical adults (I don't necessarily think the curricula followed by many Evangelicals is that). I don't think I learned these skills until I was already in college and I had to actively seek out ways to learn them. I still feel at a disadvantage sometimes when I read so many intelligent and well-thought out articles and posts even her in the blogosphere. And I was a student who excelled academically. So I will be following a set (purchased) curriculum and hope to add on to it/modify it in a way that benefits the specific learning styles of my children and also in a way that I hope provides what public schools and most private schools cannot provide young men of color.


Khadija said...

Hello there, Chi-Chi,

I LIKE it when people disagree with me. Like I say in the "Leave your comment" box above, this is about fostering a courteous, reasoned exchange of ideas. Please don't think that I will take it as being "argumentative" if you expound upon your position.

I like reasoned disagreement because it helps me refine my own thoughts/positions about various issues. Another benefit of a full discussion is that it helps refine the various thoughts of silent audience members. The only point where I take exception is when an interaction becomes corrosive.

Now that you've spoken some more about the topic, I see that we have many points of agreement. For example, I also feel that it's important to add the elements that are usually missing from Black children's education such as African/African-American history, etc.

My whole "gripe" boils down to the following notion that most Blacks have bought into: The idea that education is supposed to be entertaining for children. That's nice when it's possible, but it's not required. And while we've been chasing fads that cater to the notion of entertainment as opposed to scholarship, our children are falling further & further behind.

As far as I'm concerned, there is NO learniing without mental discipline. There is ALWAYS an amount of rote memorization involved in mastering the basics of anything. Rote memorization is inherently dull & definitely not entertaining.

The "fun" doesn't come until AFTER a student has mastered the basics. For example, you can't read for pleasure if you haven't already memorized the alphabet.

I hope you'll come back and tell us about your homeschooling experiences once you get underway with it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.