We all know that “banking while black” is a real issue.
What does this mean exactly? It’s basically the mistrust of the black community by banking industries. A black person can walk into a bank with a legitimate check for a high amount of money, ask the teller to cash said check, and be denied and investigated for fraud. Meanwhile, people in different demographics don’t get treated with the same amount of skepticism. Banking while black is a real issue and I would never do or say anything to discredit that. It’s imperative that we remain aware of these issues, but the real question is what exactly are we going to do to address and solve this issue?
The solutions we’ve been proposed haven’t solved the problem. One of the proposals I’ve come across is the black community banning together to start their own bank. “Let’s give the black community a pool of money and they can go off and create new banking institutions of their own where they aren’t discriminated against”. I’m all for blacks owning banks and increasing financial territory, but quite frankly, I don’t want just black banks. This sort of “solution” only adds to the problem at hand, and promotes segregation. It sets our community apart from everyone else and makes us the “others”. We don’t want to be the “others”. We want to be in the same pool as white people and everyone else. We want to be considered just as valuable, trustworthy and important in the banking world.
As history has shown us, separate but equal does not mean equal. Equal banking opportunities do not translate to separate banks for black people and venture capital firms establishing a separate fund for minority run startups. Black people are naive in thinking these sorts of institutions will actually help us in the long run. Sure, the system is broken, and when we aren’t being included in the conversations, we automatically want to create our own, but I personally believe that we should be inserting ourselves into the conversations that are already happening, whether people want us there or not.
An article in the National Review talked about how black people are demanding “black only dorms”. As a black man, I think this is the worst idea possible. It’s no shocker that white people and non-POC are running the game. They are the ones who control the conversations. Instead of segregating ourselves and further perpetuating the “other” narrative, we need to be included in the conversation.
For anyone reading this getting a little angry, here are some facts for you. Black and LatinX people make up only 32% of the US population, and yet, simultaneously make up 64% of households that do not have a bank account. This puts these communities at a major disadvantage for building wealth, credit scores, owning homes, and acquiring assets. People in these communities still rely on money orders and check cashing places to send and receive money. When they try to get loans, they’re paying higher than normal fees because they have no history to show financial stability. Again, this leads us right back to the distrust. It’s literally created. Denying that the cards are stacked against us would just be willful ignorance at this point, but there ARE solutions to these problems.
As mentioned above, we can’t segregate ourselves from the rest of the population. We don’t want to isolate ourselves. We know where the resources are, we simply need to have the same access to those resources as everyone else. Black people need to stop accepting “black only” solutions and start pushing for acceptance into what’s already been established. A big proportion of the underbanked blacks stems from not enough funds or wealth to maintain a bank account - products like Finotta’s that help the “average Joe” into financial freedom would be a huge win for the black community.
We don’t care about your demographics. We just want to see everyone win. Our vision and mission is to break the barriers of financial inequality and allow for an even playing field for everyone. Barriers such as the ones mentioned above are EXACTLY what we have been sent here to bust through.
This Juneteenth, when you’re thinking about the history of the black community and reflecting on everything that has happened, also consider the now and how we can still afford to make changes to better our community financially. We break those barriers and we can break all the others that are stacked up against us.