Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Troy

CNN Special Deals with Black America’s Money Woes

Recommended Posts

Almighty Debt

TV-Review by Kam Williams

Soledad O’Brien’s latest CNN special report in her Black in America series is certainly her most practical yet in that it addresses the timely question of how to manage your money during these trying financial times. The show is apt to be of salient interest to African-American communities all across the country, given how they’re beset by skyrocketing rates of unemployment and home foreclosures.

At the center of this installment is Reverend Buster Soaries who sets the tone at the outset by making the incendiary comment that “Debt is a bigger problem than racism” for black folks today. The New Jersey-based minister is no stranger to controversy, having run interference for President Bush in the wake of the heavily-disputed 2000 Presidential Election by serving as the first Chairman of the Administration’s newly-established Election Assistance Commission.

Here, Reverend Soaries positions himself as a “revolutionary pastor” by finding scriptural passages to make an analogy between debt and slavery as he preaches in the pulpit at his church in New Jersey. Given how many ministers tend to worry more about Heaven than material concerns, it is rather refreshing to see a member of his profession offering answers aimed at to alleviating the pain his congregation is suffering in a Hell on Earth.

To break out of economic bondage, it is suggested that black folks need to free themselves from a “culture of debt” by transforming themselves from conspicuous consumers to sage investors. As far as the familiar mindset of relying just on faith in Jesus alone for financial salvation, it is duly noted that such “optimism needs to be rooted in reality.”

Soaries’ thesis is supported by Dr. Julianne Malveaux who states that “African-Americans have a spending problem.” Thought-provoking ideas from a Republican cleric as dedicated to leading his flock to the black as to the Promised Land.

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 120 minutes

Studio: CNN

To see a trailer for Almighty Debt, visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/09/23/inam.trailer.almighty.debt.cnn

Or:

Almighty Debt premieres on CNN on Thursday, October 21st at 9 PM ET/PT

Additional Airings:

Friday, October 22, 2010

12:00am – 2:00am

3:00am – 5:00am

Saturday, October 23, 2010

8:00pm – 10:00pm

11:00pm – 1:00am

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2:00am – 4:00am

8:00pm – 10:00pm

11:00pm – 1:00am

Monday, October 25, 2010

2:00am – 3:00am

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if it ever occurred to the geniuses at CNN that Black debt is not a "bigger problem than racism" but a direct consequence of racism.

Why doesn't CNN focus on the underlying cause of this problem rather than focusing on a symptym. Actually I know why CNN is fundamentally racist themselves.

But I'll probably watch it and be sickened like I was by with the Black in America segments I watched.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite Kam's 4 star rating I did not think I would find very much appealing about CNN's latest special on "Black America".

I freely admit I went into the program not expecting very much and CNN delivered in spades (pardon the terrible pun).

Any viewer expecting to learn anything about debt: how and why people get into it, why they stay in debt or how one might get out of it would be sorely disappointed.

The program was really a very shallow and painfully drawn out expose of a married couple about to lose their home, a 58 year old guy unable to find employment and an impoverished teenager trying to get into and raise money for college.

The married couple apparently had not paid their mortgage in 26 months. The family was shown driving BMW SUV, the home was nicely furnished; everyone seemed to be well groomed with nice clothing – all the visual trappings of success. However no one asked the simple question – why did you not make a single mortgage payment for the last two years?! The husband sold cars and the wife sold real estate, but the economic downturn greatly reduced their incomes. However that does not explain why two healthy individuals did not try to find some other form of income. Or why the question was not even asked. It was not until the bank say they were going to sell the house at auction did the wife contemplate the prospect of finding a job.

The 58 year old was laid off after an apparent restructuring at the company he was employed with for the last 25 years. He said he’d filled out over 300 job applications and still was unable to find work. He was shown crying in his kitchen while praying about getting a job. He did a lot of praying. But it was also clear he was not going about his job search very well either. He failed to tell even the people closest to him that he was seeking employment. Finding a job is more about networking than filling out applications online. This brother was not challenged about his technique to find a job, his work experience or qualifications. Understanding these things would go a long way to understanding his predicament.

Finally there was a teenager trying to get into college. Much of this segment focused on the young man’s efforts participating in contest to win a $2,000 scholarship. It seemed to me with the hotel and transportation costs (who knows who paid for these expenses), even if the kid won first place the prize money would not cover their cost of participation. At any rate, the kid was rejected from the school he wanted to go to, but at the last minute his minister called the school and the school reversed their decision. So now the young man has taken on a $16,000 loan for his first year at a school that would be an academic challenge for him to complete his degree (based upon C grades and the initial rejection).

In all the cases in the “Black Church” took credit for and was held up as a source of strength and support for each of these families in dire financial straits. The program showed a lot of praying and preaching but not many lessons on how we get in debt or how we can get out of it.

In some way the church was held up as an important Black institution but in more important way the church was shown as completely ineffective.

Michelle Singletary, one of the few who made a meaningful contribution on the subject, explained why it was a mistake for the teenager to take on so much debt to attend college. She also described some of his options. While his minster was shown to contradict himself by admitting that he pulled strings to get the kid into school, then saying that he told the kid to get a job – knowing full well that was not the point Michelle was making.

The 58 year old and his wife continued to contribute significant portions of their income to the Church each month through tithes. They mentioned that they were $2,000 short each month paying billed but still continued to pay the church – before anything else. The ultra rich minsters defended the practice, of course, by saying that you don’t bring yourself up by tearing down the church.

At the end of the day I’m not sure what CNN’s intent was with the program. What they did do however was illustrate anecdotally how ineffective the Black Church was, despite the financial support, in helping the three cases highlighted.

CNN also missed an opportunity to help explain Black wealth discrepancies when compared to white America. Folks complain that Black people need to get past the impact of slavery be response for our financial woes today. All Black people know that the legacy of slavery continued well after 1865. CNN did briefly touch on how the legacy of slavery and racism excluded Black from homeownership and how the greatly prevented out ability to catch up on the accumulation of wealth – despite some gain in wages.

Overall I’d give the program 1 star for the simple fact is they more than anything else help spark a conversation that might actually led to some positive actions. At least I hope so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite Kam's 4 star rating I did not think I would find very much appealing about CNN's latest special on "Black America"...Overall I’d give the program 1 star for the simple fact is they more than anything else help spark a conversation that might actually led to some positive actions. At least I hope so.

Troy, thank you for this thought-provoking review. I didn't bother watching the report although one of my Facebook friends posted it as must-see TV. Personally I learn more from the ruling class's entertainment on how to manage my money than I would from any CNN special report.

I have to disagree with about post-slavery economic woes for former slaves. You of all people know that investing and saving is not the way to financial security and solvency - entrepreneurial activities are and have always been the way to become rich. If you look at how many West African people were awarded patents for their inventions post-slavery, you like I, would probably wonder why we start believing in the current bill of goods about saving and home-ownership. After reading that both Mark Zuckerberg and his former Facebook president and Napster creator Sean Parker both rent their homes it got my 20-something year old daughter and me wondering why they rent? We did an exercise which gave an overview of our home-ownership expenses. We pay a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, electricity, gas, and water. Let's say we pay off the mortgage - what are we left with? We will still have to pay property taxes every year for as long as we "own" the property. Let say our property taxes go up to 15,000 before I am able to apply for homestead to freeze it. Now I pay $15,000 plus maintenance, heat, electricity, water and insurance which totals about $20,000+ per year. My cost to live in "my" home is now $20,000 +. How does this benefit me? Well some would say I've built up equity. If I sell my home for $450,000 I really wouldn't have come out ahead or broke even, have I?. Nope, because most likely I would have paid more in finance fees. I'm not surprise Zuckerberg and Parker didn't run to buy a home with their earnings. Their businesses were their equity and there are more loopholes to get around taxes than there is available to sustain property.

Troy, I can go on but black people are more slaves today than we were in 1864...at least then we wanted to be free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel all jokes aside you gave more information about home ownership than CNN managed to cobble together in 90 minutes.

Black folks ain't the only ones slaves. But how can anyone desire freedom, before they discover they are enslaved?

More commentary on about CNN's program on Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am ignorant and naive when it comes to high finance, but what you two have articulated here are things that had gradually started to occur to me, leading me to draw the conclusions that buying a home, is indeed, not all it's cracked up to be considering all of the taxes and ongoing maintenance expenses ownership entails. I really wonder why a single person would prefer purchasing a house over renting an apartment?

I also balk at the idea of playing the stock market, an investment pursuit that is a gamble, - a game, that you can just as easily lose as win at. People talk about making your money work for you but I wonder why just letting it draw interest in a savings account is such a bad idea. I've never heard of anybody losing a bundle by banking their money, but I hear all the time about people losing their savings through bad investments. I've also always heard that a person couldn't go wrong by putting their money in T-bonds. Sounds like good advice to me.

I was just reading the obit of Bob Guccione the founder of Penthouse Magazine, and apropo of what Mel said, it mentioned how he'd been one of the richest men in America when he was an entrepreneur but went broke once he branched out into business investments.

The CNN program's claim that debt is more the downfall of black folks than racism certainly doesn't surprise me. Debt is the result of being materialistic and black folks excel at conspicuous consumerism.

Like all the other cultural constructs that have changed, the American dream needs a reality check. There should be just as much emphasis on "living within your means" as their is in "the pride of ownership". IMO.

Soledad O'Brian's whole dynamic seems to be that she's doing black folks a favor by acknowledging her negroid bloodlines, a gesture implicit with the idea that she inspires admiration because, based on appearance, she could deny being black. She is very detached in her role of investigative reporter and she brought no black empathy or authenticity to this guise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given how many ministers tend to worry more about Heaven than material concerns, it is rather refreshing to see a member of his profession offering answers aimed at to alleviating the pain his congregation is suffering in a Hell on Earth.

(You never heard of Reverend Ike?)

To break out of economic bondage, it is suggested that black folks need to free themselves from a “culture of debt” by transforming themselves from conspicuous consumers to sage investors. As far as the familiar mindset of relying just on faith in Jesus alone for financial salvation, it is duly noted that such “optimism needs to be rooted in reality.”

(That's right. Maybe you coons could load up on junk bonds and other toxic investments and let Wall Street steal all your money. You might as well wipe your butt with it as spend it where these sharks tell you.

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

America is populated by nothing but thieves and whores.

Have a nice day and drive safely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am ignorant and naive when it comes to high finance, but what you two have articulated here are things that had gradually started to occur to me, leading me to draw the conclusions that buying a home, is indeed, not all it's cracked up to be considering all of the taxes and ongoing maintenance expenses ownership entails. I really wonder why a single person would prefer purchasing a house over renting an apartment?

I also balk at the idea of playing the stock market, an investment pursuit that is a gamble, - a game, that you can just as easily lose as win at. People talk about making your money work for you but I wonder why just letting it draw interest in a savings account is such a bad idea. I've never heard of anybody losing a bundle by banking their money, but I hear all the time about people losing their savings through bad investments. I've also always heard that a person couldn't go wrong by putting their money in T-bonds. Sounds like good advice to me.

I was just reading the obit of Bob Guccione the founder of Penthouse Magazine, and apropo of what Mel said, it mentioned how he'd been one of the richest men in America when he was an entrepreneur but went broke once he branched out into business investments.

I am admittedly prejudiced when it comes to Islam so I exercised my right to hold erroneous opinions about this religion which, like many others, I find stifling, vindictive and corrupted.

(Oh, spare us your sanctimonious pontificating!

I'd say even more are led to downfall because they have NO MONEY AT ALL.

Like Reverend Ike, your pastor used to say

THE LACK OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

Contemplate all this on the Tree of Woe.

Get plenty of sleep. And eat all your vegetables. Especially the broccoli. I know you and President Bush hate it but it's good for you)

The CNN program's claim that debt is more the downfall of black folks than racism certainly doesn't surprise me. Debt is the result of being materialistic and black folks excel at conspicuous consumerism.

Like all the other cultural constructs that have changed, the American dream needs a reality check. There should be just as much emphasis on "living within your means" as their is in "the pride of ownership". IMO.

Soledad O'Brian's whole dynamic seems to be that she's doing black folks a favor by acknowledging her negroid bloodlines, a gesture implicit with the idea that she inspires admiration because, based on appearance, she could deny being black. She is very detached in her role of investigative reporter and she brought no black empathy or authenticity to this guise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just reading the obit of Bob Guccione the founder of Penthouse Magazine, and apropo of what Mel said, it mentioned how he'd been one of the richest men in America when he was an entrepreneur but went broke once he branched out into business investments.

Wow! It's amazing how a repetitive message (programming) can even override the sensibilities of someone who has actually seen how the game worked for him. I suspect true fiscal knowledge isn't complicated. The Ponzi scheme we are expected to participate in, is complicated. smh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this was the best Blk in America special, even though it revolved around that Republican minister from the Bush administration who helped whitewash the 2000 Presidential Election irregularities.

Now he says blacks' biggest problems are self-inflicted from poor money management, instead of racism, discrimination, poor schools and joblessness. Sounds close to typical consevative blaming the victim talking points.

After exchanging a couple of emails with Kam regarding his review he hipped me some information about our minister friend; briefly described in the quote above.

Again one of my biggest problems was that the minister actually did not help anyone. Indeed he probably hurt the young man in the long run.

The minister apparently has no problem elevating himself by taking money from people who can’t even meet their monthly bills. While CNN made this evident they couched it as "compassion" leading many viewers to believe that it was indeed that compassion he was providing – rather than snake oil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×