“Blacks across America are drowning in debt and, unless they start putting finances in better perspective, their future freedom is at stake. ” Rev. DeForest Soaries, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J.
A very wise mother used to have a saying: “It’s not the high cost of living that’s the problem, it’s the cost of high living” The answer is easy. Specifically regarding the cost of housing: Only about 60% of people should ever expect to own a house. The US tried to make home ownership for everyone with really cheap mortgages. You can see where that got everyone. The second point is the average house price is about $300,000, which means there are also a lot (probably about 50%) of houses below $300,000. So that means that only about 40% of the population should actually have a house that is at or on the high side of the mean. In most cases, that will not be the first time owners!
The problem is that the problem is not really race per se; it’s distribution of wealth. It just happens to be that some races are on average poorer than others. If all the poor black people became white tomorrow, they still have the same problems for the most part.
If you’re going to be considered living in poverty, the US is the place to be because you will qualify for every subsidy known to man. Health care, prescriptions, rental subsidies, child care assistance, transportation, cell phones (seniors, disabled), food cards, etc. A lot of times, those living in poverty have more disposable income than the middle class, who is paying for all of it.
CNN Special Focuses on Blacks’ Struggle With Debt by Dorothy Rowley
“Debt is slavery,” he said, adding that while racism often comes from the outside, “debt is something that people generally bring upon themselves.”
“People are driving luxury cars and don’t know the interest rate,” Soaries said. “This level of ignorance undermines a very significant part of our freedom.”
But according to a statement issued this weekend by Rozanne Andersen, executive director of the American Association of Credit and Collections, like debt, debt collection is color-blind.
“Tens of millions of hardworking Americans from all races and socio-economic backgrounds have been hard hit by the economic downturn and face the prospect of being contacted by a debt collector to resolved an outstanding obligation,” said Andersen.
Nevertheless, the online publication New America Media, collaborative entity of 2,000 ethnic news organizations (NAM), reported that Soaries, who cites Scripture throughout the documentary, admonishes his 7,000-member congregation to live within their means and to realize that pursuing lavish lifestyles means “living in financial bondage.”
NAM was one of two minority media outlets that participated in an advance screening and panel discussion of the documentary. The show was conducted in Washington, D.C., before a predominantly Black audience. The panel included O’Brien and dealt with how debt, foreclosure and joblessness are impacting the Black community.
O’Brien, who has narrated other documentaries that detail the struggle of Black America, said that in attempting to understand the community’s struggle with debt, insight from the Black church was required. She said Soaries was chosen for commentary because of his passionate feelings about debt.