The world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren is competitive in ways not seen before. President Barack Obama reiterated the national effort to ease the path to citizenship for “the best and the brightest” from around the world. And with the globalization of information transfer, they don’t even have to come stateside to compete for jobs that used to be here. New York is becoming a city of front-end companies, with the office “back end” being handled out of India and on server farms around the world.
For those who do come, they become the local competition in New York. And it isn’t only “the best and the brightest” we are in competition with, it is also the “highly motivated” from impoverished and war-torn countries who have the determination and work ethic to achieve and who also enjoy the cultural cohesiveness and mutual support from having a native language.
African-American communities are magnets for these newcomers. These folks are able to profit from both the result of centuries of intergenerational trauma from the terrorism of enslavement, as well as the ongoing economic disenfranchisement of African-Americans. A quick example is banking. Whereas banks in the U.S. need laws to compel them to service the Black community, the New York State Banking Department says there are 84 foreign branches of banks in New York servicing some part of their national and expatriates’ interests. And the Flushing location of the Chinese United Commercial Bank suggests that the clientele are not just corporate titans, but also small business owners looking for someone who speaks their language and through whom they can send and receive dollars back home.
The Hasidic community has just opened a large and festive ice cream store on Bedford Avenue between Willoughby and Myrtle. One morning there were Hasidic-owned school buses of Hasidic school children lined up outside to tour the facility. They sell Klein’s ice cream, dairy and nondairy, with whatever toppings you’d like. Walk into a corner store in their community to pick up a breath mint and they sell you a Glick’s. This is how you fight unemployment, crime and despair. This is how you build a strong community and a strong people.
Walk down any street in Fort Greene or Bedford-Stuyvesant and you know that the generalized dread you’ve been feeling in your bones is real and African-Americans had better work on plans of action to reverse the ongoing dissolution or we’ll be on the same track as the indigenous people, but we won’t have the benefit of any casinos or treaties. And instead of reservations, we’ll have public housing that is vertically-patrolled and horizontally-ringed by police towers and cars with flashing lights.
Shouldn’t something be done about the rats? They’ve really gotten out of hand. Every night we see them, and it doesn’t matter which route we take. There are rats everywhere. This cannot be a good thing. We have tourists to consider and it’s embarrassing to have them think this is how we live in New York. We just hope the problem is cleaned up before we are called to show the world how well New Yorkers handle the threat of bubonic plague.