A friend of mine called me out today for not using my online presence — both social media and this blog — to share my views on the horrible tragedies that are taking place right now in the United States and the world. She is right. And it is certainly something that I have been thinking about. But as I mulled it over in my head, it just didn’t feel right to glibly share a few social media posts and consider my contributions complete. For almost 7 years, this blog has been my public voice and this blog is where I figured it should show up when I was ready.
My view is that there are really two tragedies taking place right now. The first started with the murder of George Floyd. It was truly awful, and it is symptomatic of some fundamental issues that remain in our society. I support the demonstrations that have ensued and I am pleased to see people and companies taking action. To give one example, Goldman Sachs today announced the creation of a $10 million fund for Racial Equity. If any of you know of any causes that should be supported or of any actions that you believe should be taken, I would encourage you to share them in the comment section below or to email them to me directly.
The second tragedy is the looting that has followed tragedy number one. Whoever is doing it, I think it is counterproductive and I think it serves to obscure the systemic problems that we know need to be addressed. I was reading through this Journal article today about the impact that looting is having on small black-owned businesses in Philadelphia — a city that is near and dear to me. It makes me both sad and frustrated that these businesses are scrambling to post up “Black Owned” signs in their windows in an effort to be spared from the chaos.
The article goes on to quantify the number of US small businesses in mostly black areas that have enough cash on hand to survive 14 days or more. Very few do. In fact, almost none of them do. The number for mostly black areas is only about 5.3%. This is compared to 70.4% for mostly white areas and 97.9% for mostly Asian areas. This is a scary statistic that only amplifies the severity of tragedy number two. This looting is delivering a second blow to small businesses that were already reeling on the ground from COVID-19.
Tragedy number one and the push for racial equity and positive change is the focus here.
Update: Minor edits were done to this post in an attempt to clarify its original intent.