My head is reeling after finishing Our Black Year. I found myself profoundly moved by Maggie's struggles and sacrifices, but also profoundly irritated. Why was a socially conscious woman with a 6 figure income shopping at Wal-Mart? Why was she so judgmental towards lower income African Americans, and so quick to generalize about "other" ethnic groups?
I also pondered the underlying premise of the experiment. Which is better: patronizing black entrepreneurs who do not live in distressed black communities, or supporting non black owned companies based in the neighborhoods? Should the focus be on black ownership or black employment?
We'll sort through these and other thorny questions at our discussion next Tuesday December 17th at 7:00 pm. If you're interested, but haven't had a chance to read the book, no worries: check out The Empowerment Experiment website, for summaries, statistics, and some great video of Maggie Anderson and family explaining the project. And remember: Kwanzaa is coming soon! What a great time to consider the 4th principle, Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics.
And BTW...like AAL on Facebook! You'll find many ore tidbits about African American media, issues, and book selections, including Maggie Anderson's tips on Buying Black for the holidays.