Skip to comments.The rush to close businesses amid coronavirus reeks of white privilege (two month old article almost sounds conservative)
Posted on 05/13/2020 9:49:44 PM PDT by DoodleBob
As I traversed downtown Philadelphia on Tuesday, I saw shuttered storefronts after Mayor Jim Kenney ordered nonessential businesses to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. I dont disagree with the mayors order, and I believe it was necessary. But I also believe that much of the government and media response to this virus has come from a place of white privilege.
In a city where 25% of the population lives in poverty and where black and brown people are overrepresented in that number every business owned by a person of color is essential. You dont need a haircut to live, but to the barber who feeds his family one trim at a time, that business is essential. You can survive without new sneakers, but to the single mother who is a salesperson at a sneaker store, each new pair of kicks is a bottle of milk for her baby. In short, every restaurant, every storefront, every underground example of entrepreneurship is essential to the economic well-being of Philadelphias black and brown neighborhoods.
If youve never truly been in a position of economic desperation, if youve never lived in a community where a dollar is hard to come by, if youve never obeyed a societal rulebook thats structured to put you at a disadvantage, its hard to understand how essential a legitimate business truly is.
Thats why even a well-meaning shutdown of businesses by a city government desperate to protect its people from a virus can lead to economic consequences for workers and small-business owners. The mayor understood that when he made the hard decision to shutter nonessential businesses, and he said as much when he announced the closures.
For small-business owners of color, however, a forced closure is especially painful because they start off at a deficit and face extra roadblocks at every turn.
Forbes reported in 2018 that minority-owned small businesses grew about 10 times faster than small businesses did overall, including white-owned ones, between 2007 and 2017. Sounds like success, right? Theres just one problem. Minority-owned firms still cant get the capital they need to compete on equal footing.
Minority-owned firms are much less likely to be approved for small business loans than white-owned firms, Forbes reported. And, even if they do get approved, minority-owned firms are more likely to receive lower amounts and higher interest rates.
Fact of the matter is, its hard out here for black businesses. While the city has advised workers affected by the closures to apply for unemployment benefits from the state, business owners will need real assistance as well. And they wont need it in several weeks. Theyll need it now.
Its hard to know that, though, if you are viewing the problem through the lens of white privilege.
This is not to say that the citys decision to close Philadelphias nonessential businesses is racist. It is simply to point out that those who dont belong to African American communities cant say whats essential to them. While white business owners and workers will also be hit by economic losses, our leaders acting like everyone can simply weather the storm and come out whole reflects the very white assumption of a safety net something black communities dont have.
But the city isnt the only entity guilty of crafting the coronavirus response from a position of privilege. My colleagues in the national media have also reported the story from an exceedingly white point of view.
Ive listened carefully to reports that have focused on those who are working from home to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus. But when talking heads proclaim that most of us are telecommuting in response to the virus, who do they mean by us?
I doubt that the low-wage workers who come from the North Philadelphia communities where I once lived are telecommuting. In fact, I know they arent because I see them in the streets, hurrying to catch buses or subway trains that take them to jobs that dont pay a living wage.
In all of this, however, there is a silver lining, or perhaps an ominous cloud, depending on ones point of view.
President Donald Trump, in the midst of an election year, is working on an idea floated by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney. The president wants the government to use taxpayer funds to send at least $1,000 to every American to help us weather the economic hardship connected to the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump manipulating taxpayer dollars for his own political benefit would be the ultimate exercise in white privilege. But in this crisis, it might also be necessary. When others ignore the economic and racial fallout of well-meaning decisions, it might be enough to put Trump back in office in November.
Possible Philly ping and PA ping.
Please ping me with articles of interest.
FReepmail me to be added to the list.
Take out the Philly reference (and the race-baiting) and that describes every community in the Commonwealth.
Of course we want all Americans back to work and all businesses to reopen, regardless of race. That said, people should be slamming Wolf and his "racist" shutdown policies. Make Alinsky work for us.
IOWs all jobs are essential. Very few people have jobs just for kicks and giggles.
Partisan Media Shills update.
Well, all those black and brown folks need to consider this when they pull the lever in Nov.
It’s the dems that are shutting them down and hurting them the most.
They were doing much better under Trump just before the virus hit.
Without his saying it outright, I suspect the answer is: More taxpayer dollars earmarked along racial lines!
Not almost. It is conservative. The corruptocrats have done this time and again to minority ( mostly black) business owners through taxes and regulations. They destroy the building if a middle class and keep people under the govt thumb and dependent
This entire shut down is a joke. Trump had better get busy opening up everything or else there wont be anything left to build
Manipulating taxpayer dollars for his own political benefit?
That being said, it may be true that Black and Hispanic communities are affected more, but I’m not sure. Maybe because I’m white, but I do believe that there are just a few people, a few white people, who are also losing their businesses. I just hate how this country cannot stop dividing everything, every issue, into race.
Minority businesses will probably be hit harder than white-owned one, depending on where they are located. If they are concentrated in black neighborhoods, I doubt if the white guys are going down to the “hood” to do their shopping (I once did a lot of shopping at one small strip mall on the DC/MD border line and never had any problems with the black owners (Dollar Tree, 7-11, or the Chinese carry-out. All nice, hard working people. Illness has kept me from going out to work in that area).
In my current neighborhood in No. Virginia, we have businesses owned and run by all types of people - Black, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greeks, Italians, Irish, Jewish, Christian, Ethiopian, Moslems, Hispanics etc. My wife and I have been visiting all of them to offer some financial support re the coronavirus restrictions we have. All the story owners/managers I’ve met in the past few months have been very conscious of health issues re their employees and customers and the service has been excellent.
What the writer doesn’t remember or even know about, is that during the April 1968 black riots in DC and Baltimore, the older, established small businesses owned by white Jews (including Holocaust survivors), were literally wiped out in a few days. This included some on Corned Beef Row (Lombard Street) in Baltimore, H street area in DC, etc.
Many never reopened again or got government aid to do so. Most owners were too old to start over again and simply retired, thus depriving their customers of needed goods and services (many of these stores were located in what we used to call “the poorer neighbors”.
ALSO, and perhaps even more important in the long run, is the fact that when Jewish stores were looted and burned (and put out of business), most of the staff were put of out work too and they were either family or black workers.
When some businesses didn’t hire black men to work for them, many of our Jewish owned businesses did, including our family store (and one owned by a cousin). My grandfather hired a young black kid fresh out of high school about 1938, and with the exception of 4 years of serving in the Navy during WW2, Clarence was with us for 50 years until we closed the business.
He and his lovely wife came to my Bar Mitzvah, Wedding and my son’s Bris, among other family affairs. I’m so proud of my late grandfather and father for keeping Clarence as part of our business/family, along with Jerry (Italian), Tony (Polish), and Warren (Irish).
If black businesses crash now, blame it on the White, elite, Marxist/leftist/progressive/socialist clowns who run and ruin our major cities from Baltimore to Philly, a lot of New Jersey (Camden, Newark, etc), NYC, Chicago (parts of), Detroit, perhaps Milwaukee - a real mixed Marxist/Islamic/psychoward shithole, Seattle, LA, SF, and perhaps parts of Houston, Cleveland, etc.
Help should be given to all legitimate businesses regardless of the color of the skin of the owners. They are American citizens down on their luck due to the virus and incompetent politicians. They should be helped, NOT punished even more by their white/black plantation masters who have their tax-money in their back pockets.
The other thing with a seriously negative impact on the lower-income community, particularly The urban minority population, is the closing of the schools. Well off people or people working at home have the luxury of supervising their kids on-line lessons, taking the kids to the park (in most places) and generally making sure they keep moving ahead.
A lot of the low-wage people are, ironically, in essential jobs, so they have to go to work - while their kids have no place to go and certainly in most cases are not going to sit down and do their on-line lessons with no parents there to make them do it. And while public education in urban minority areas generally sucks, its at least something to do and some place to go, and some of the non-academic activities (sports, etc.) are probably crucial in giving these kids at least some focus on something other than getting into trouble. Closing the schools, bad as they are, is going to have a seriously negative impact on the lower income community in general.
This may get the award for greatest post ever. Thank you.
never had any problems with the black owners
Just out of curiosity, what kind of problems would you expect to have with the black owners?
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