Chicago doesn't have a crime problem -- it has a buying Black problem. Chicago is undoubtedly the greatest city in America (seriously, read why here) but we have our challenges. And unfortunately, they won't be solved by any politician or government official. As Michelle Alexander pointed out in her great book, The New Jim Crow, joblessness -- not race -- is the best corollary to violent crime. Today 47 percent of Black men between the ages of 20 and 24 are neither employed or in school and that is at the heart of the city's violent crime problem. It is a problem we can solve today, if we commit to buying Black in Chicago and beyond.
Seven people were found shot to death in a twelve hour period in Chicago two weeks ago. All of it took place in a four-block area of the South Shore neighborhood, just under twenty minutes from where I live on the South Side. The homicides took place in zip code where, according to data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS), over 95 percent of the 45,218 residents are Black. For 20-24 year olds, the unemployment rate is 31.7 percent. But it doesn't have to be that way. The 45,000 residents are clustered in 20,735 households, over 28 percent of which have incomes of at least $50,000. Those households alone -- with incomes of at least $50,000 -- represent a little less than $300 million in annual income. If just 10 percent of those dollars were targeted local and Black, roughly $30 million would be circulating in that zip code.
$30 million in a single zip code is significant. How many businesses could we build up in a zip code with $30 million each year? How many jobs could we create? These are questions that we need to wrestle with because whether you live in Chicago St. Louis, Baltimore or Detroit, the government is not coming to rescue us. Benevolent Whites with significant wealth are not going to make employing young Black people in the hood their life's work. We must step up to the challenge and doing so first requires that we stop looking at violence in Black communities as a crime problem but rather, as an issue of joblessness that we can solve through buying Black.
This isn't new in Chicago. During prohibition, White gangsters like Al Capone turned the city into a bloodbath as they participated in the illegal liquor trade. Those men and their descendants did not stop committing acts of violence because they were reformed in character. Rather, opportunities in legal professions lifted them off of the street corners. We have to do the same for our young men and this is the point WeBuyBlack.com is trying to hammer home. With each purchase, buying Black is not only a feel good activity but in fact, the best crime deterrent we know of. Buy Black and do so often.