Meet Robert White III A.K.A. “BIG ROB”

Avatar Koindanomics Magazine | June 2, 2019 89 Views 0 Likes 5 On 1 Rating

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Robert “Big Rob” White III loves his community so much that he made a donation to educate our members through this publication.

Robert White III is an involved in the following organizations:

  • Koindanomics,
  • One Love Coop LLC,
  • Uplifiting Us Cooperative,
  • Universal Negro Improvement Association
    and the African Communities League

He is also a Block Developer Representative for Buy the Block, an organization that specializes in creating real estate investment opportunities in exploited and forgotten neighborhoods within the United States.

Takiyah:

Big Rob, tell me a little bit about yourself. Where were you born? What was your childhood like?  And please share any details that you feel are relevant to understanding you as the man you are today.

Big Rob:

I was born February 18, 1980, in St. Louis, Missouri. I spent 354 days on the Missouri side of the river in St. Louis, just nine days prior to my first birthday. My maternal grandmother passed away and she owned a house in Brooklyn, Illinois (Brooklyn, Illinois, is located two miles north of East St. Louis, Illinois and three miles northeast of downtown St. Louis, Missouri). It was paid off, but none of my mother’s siblings wanted the house. Since my parents were a young couple living in an apartment, my parents decided to move to the Illinois side of the river into the house.

I grew up in my grandmother’s house until the summer before my senior year in high school. My parents were looking to find a better place to live for six to seven years. They wanted to move into a house where there was a better school district, but it was a challenge due to limited resources and poor credit scores. Finally, the summer before my senior year, we moved back to the Missouri side of the river (St. Louis area) and they were able to get a house. I credit growing up in Brooklyn for instilling in me a strong propensity for overcoming adversity, a sense of community values, and a high regard for racial and cultural pride.

Takiyah:

Who were the most influential people in your life? How did they influence you?

Big Rob:

My working-class parents. They instilled the value of education in me at a young age. My father’s parents were sharecroppers from the Yazoo, Mississippi, area. My father and his siblings were the first generation to grow up and live in the “North” (St. Louis, Missouri). My mother’s parents owned a local popular confectionery in the Village of Brooklyn, Illinois. My parents told me that I essentially had three options after high school. I could go to work, go to the military, or go to college. College is the option they promoted the most.

My mother is a retired educator. She worked with preschoolers, so she was very influential in my committing my life to serving and working in education for the youth. My father was a factory worker. He worked for a company called Hussmann Refrigeration. They make the industrial size freezers that we see in supermarkets. My father was a factory worker for 40 years. He was a sheet-metal worker.

My father, as a factory worker, had to deal with some grueling work conditions. For example, if it was 90 degrees outside, he was working inside where it was 95 to 105 degrees because the machines were running, but there was no air conditioning in parts of the factory. He faced grueling, back-breaking labor and a lot of health issues as a result of the factory work. My father made it plain. “Go to college and get a job where they pay you to think because this manual labor isn’t worth it.”

In addition to my parents, there were so many people in my church and my community who were influential in my life. I can honestly say that I had a decent village and support system. People saw something in me, early on, and they constantly worked to affirm me. They constantly worked to create environments and circumstances that were nurturing to me.

I grew up in a small community of 1200 people. We didn’t have a public library. We didn’t have a community center. We only had 50 high school students and about 250 students total (K-12). We didn’t have a lot of social clubs. We didn’t have a yearbook. We didn’t have a lot of options to keep us out of trouble.

My family moved to St. Louis the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I went from a class of about 12 to 400+ students. It was a whole different ball game and world, and I had to adjust quickly. My transition into my senior year of high school was way more challenging than my freshman year of college.

I grew up in the ‘hood during the height of the crack epidemic , which was bad in the entire St. Louis metro area. It impacted me in a lot of ways. I had uncles, cousins, and others close to me addicted to the drug. It showed me what the hard reality of being a black person in America with a lack of opportunity and resources was like.

Because of that environment, my parents sheltered me a lot. My friends were exposed to sex, violence, and drug-dealing as early as 10 years old, and my peers would make fun of me because I wasn’t involved in street activities. I was a square, or a nerd, because I had a lot of people telling me that the street life wasn’t for me. I often joke and tell people that being a fat and shy nerd in the ‘hood wasn’t a good life. I was a “Blerd” even before there was a term to describe a part of my reality.

To have active parents that deliberately sheltered me from that impacted my growth and development. It was good because I wasn’t exposed to a lot of things I shouldn’t have been, but it was bad because I was naive and lacked some common-sense street smarts that I needed while living in the ‘hood.

Another person who influenced me was a Title 1 reading teacher, elder, and educator, Miss Clotee Summers. She impacted my life in a way that she may or may not have realized. Although I didn’t need her services, I liked that she used to bring books into class that today’s generation would call “Black Excellence.”

She introduced us to books like Great Black Inventors, Great Black Politicians, Great Black Athletes, and Great Black Kings and Queens. These books allowed me to see myself outside of the context of slavery. They showed me that Blacks had a long, illustrious history that didn’t start with slavery.

Fourth grade was when I really became interested in developing a sense of Black pride. Those books heightened my interest in reading and my interest in my culture. So, Black pride was instilled in me from a young age.

Marcus Garvey is another influential person to me. I had to do a research paper on him in high school and I learned about his life. I fell in love with his life, his work, and I have been fascinated with it ever since. In fact, I joined the organization that he created called the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).

As you may or may not know, Brooklyn, Illinois, is America’s first incorporated town, thanks to “Mother” Priscilla Baltimore. Brooklyn, Illinois, wasn’t full-out afrocentric, but most of my teachers had gone to HBCUs. At this point in my life, I acknowledge “Mother” Priscilla Baltimore as a guiding force for my life work. Community oral tradition credits Priscilla Baltimore with leading eleven families, both free and enslaved, across the Mississippi River from Missouri (a slave state) to Illinois (a free state) to start a maroon community that would eventually be incorporated as Brooklyn, Illinois.

According to oral tradition, Baltimore and the eleven founding families were residing in Brooklyn as early as 1829, although historical documentation to validate this hasn’t yet been discovered. An interesting fact about Brooklyn is that Annie Malone, the “real” first Black millionaire and mentor/employer of Madame C.J. Walker [Curious Cleophus: (rumor has it that Walker would go on to steal Malone’s products and sell them as her own under a different product name)], developed some of her earliest products and brought her business to life while living in Brooklyn, Illinois. Seeking a new opportunity to grow provided by the 1904 World’s Fair, Malone moved to St. Louis and set up shop.

The unfortunate thing about growing up Brooklyn Proud was realizing that I’m from a place with so much history and a great early legacy is that many people have never heard about Brooklyn and know of its significance (both on a national and local level). Those who do know about Brooklyn tend to associate it only with the vice industry, crime, famously known strip clubs, and decline. I set out to change all of that.

Takiyah:

Robert, you know that I follow you on Facebook. I see that you are very vocal about capitalism NOT being a solution to solve the economic condition of Blacks in America. Why do you feel that Black capitalism is not the solution?

Big Rob:

If you look at the development of capitalism, you will see that it is tied very closely with colonialism. This is a blanket statement, but we come from a people who was invested in the well-being of the collective. They were vested in the building up of each other and humanity at large. They also understood that this earth is NOT OURS. It contradicted the western concepts of ownership, but through capitalism and colonialism, you get this sense of ownership.

Capitalism and colonialism breeds this sense of “I have the right to claim a stake into another culture, land, civilization, and even resources.” So, colonialism and capitalism, not using the two interchangeably, but recognizing there is a strong relationship between the two breeds a strong environment of independence rather than interdependence. It creates the environment for exploitation.

The exploitation manifests itself from everything to controlling the labor force and manipulating work conditions in favor of those in control of the workforce. It breeds an environment for more competition rather than collaboration. It breeds an environment of violence. There are so many other adverse factors and circumstances that don’t add value to people or humanity at large. Capitalism constantly serves as a parasite that sucks blood and energy out of people.

Think about the fact that we give the best eight hours of our day to someone else other than our family. We’re not using that eight hours to do something like work on our families or our spiritual development. Even if we don’t work eight hours, we’re EXPECTED to give those eight valuable hours to building up someone else’s dream in a structure that really doesn’t favor the working class.

The structure puts us in a situation where we have health issues like my father. Capitalism impacts relationships and marriages. It creates situations where fathers can’t go to their daughters’ recitals or sons’ basketball games because they’re either working or they are too tired from working. It has many adverse consequences. We have to explore existing alternatives or create a new reality.

Takiyah:

If Black capitalism is not a viable solution to the oppressive conditions of Blacks in America, in your opinion, what is and why?

Robert:

Before I attempt to offer my humble opinion on this matter, I must first offer a few disclaimers.

  • The first disclaimer is that my understanding of historical patterns and practices followed by implications and political education and context is limited to an extent and still evolving. I don’t profess to be an expert and I am not beyond critique and challenge.
  • The second disclaimer is that I don’t often operate under the premise that there is “the answer.” It more so must come from a space that I may offer “an answer” among many answers. We deal with complex and multifaceted issues and it can be dangerous to get trapped into one way of doing, being, or thinking.
  • The third disclaimer is that although my aim is to be as disciplined, concise, and scientific in my critique of a position without attacking a person or people, I sometimes fall short of that bar. I get caught up in a display of unprincipled overly emotional rant due to my authentically Hue-Man nature and selfish tendencies.
  • The fourth and final disclaimer is that I take the approach of offering more suggestions than solutions. Many times we think that we’ve assessed a problem, but what we’re seeing is the manifested symptoms. There is an underlying foundation to those symptoms. We tend to look at things from a macro lens and miss what can be gained from the micro level. We may not arrive at the final solution in our time, but offering up many solutions will at least move us closer in my opinion.

POPS:
Hu (pronounced hue) is a spiritual term described to be the Sound of all sounds. It has been called the language of life and all of humanity. Many spiritual practitioners will sing “hu” as a way to deepen their spiritual connection to their Creator and as a way to practice self-healing from emotional ailments. Hu typically refers to awakening yourself spiritually to acknowledge, embrace, and respect individual energy, collective energy, and energetic forces nested within energy. Most practitioners of hu will write it as “hue” to make the reader aware the writer is placing special emphasis of the spiritual consciousness that exists within mankind, rather than mankind itself.

Now that I have made my disclaimers, I’ll attempt to offer several suggestions related to this specific question.

As I stated earlier, like many other societal issues this is layered and not always straightforward. What we do understand about capitalism is that it’s parasitic by nature, self-serving, very individualistic, not socially or economically responsible, exclusive, not equitable for all, and it produces the grounds for several other adverse circumstances and conditions. If you pay attention to world events, you can see that capitalism is at a place of crisis and weakening. It’s been stated over time that doing or engaging in something time after time and expecting different results is insanity. Is not upholding a system that powers those who oppress us insanity?

Historical patterns and practices over time has shown us that capitalism and colonialism gave birth to the conditions that lead to the murder, rape, enslavement, and exploitation of Afrikan and other darker hues of people around the world. The Black capitalists would prefer to take an approach of reform and uphold the existing system. Black capitalists better their stake in the existing system while the anti-capitalist would rather take on a revolutionary approach to upend its existence. Anti-capitalists devote their time, energy, Hue-Man power, and resources to create a new or better equitable system.

In terms of suggestions I offer the following: Study, Support and Sustain, and Start.

Study – In terms of studying I recommend that we revisit our collective and cultural history. We should study the history of other collectivist cultures to see how they operated economically in a pre-enslavement or pre-colonialism context. It’s important that we understand economic practices, systems, and structures that they had in place. We need to know the role economics played in their day-to-day lives.

What was the evolution of economics? How was economics used for political uses? What were the implications of their economic systems, structures, and practices?

The ancestors and those who have come before us have literally laid down the foundational work with a path and a blueprint for us to follow. It’s up to us to tap into that epigenetic encoding to gain access to all that has been embedded within us. This is just as much spiritual, mental, and emotional work as it is boots-to-the-ground work.

Our studying shouldn’t be confined solely to the past. I think that it’s as equally important for us to explore what systems and structures are in play today. One example is the New Economy Coalition. It is an alternative economy, which proposes that the economic system, as we know it, needs a drastic overhaul. The New Economy Coalition emphasizes the well-being of people and responsible stewardship of the planet. This way of thinking rivals the thinking that profit should be placed above the planet and the people that inhabit it. Participating in the solidarity economy could prove to be fruitful for our community. The gains manifested from such participation may not always result in dollars and cents, but it promotes participation in fair trade and ethical purchasing, establishing cooperatives (especially worker cooperatives), and solidarity lending.

The New Economy Coalition held their third Common Bound gathering in St. Louis this past summer. I served as a host to a young Harvard student from Mexico who worked with youth in her native country. I also met some amazing people doing amazing work like forming housing cooperatives in the Bay area to counter gentrification. It also allowed me to further establish and solidify a rapport with Comrades from Cooperation Jackson that I had met previously during the groundbreaking events and work in Jackson, Mississippi.

Support and Sustain – I, for one, participate in the practice of timebanking. Timebanking is a system that uses time as currency rather than money. Timebanking affirms that we all have some skill, ability, knowledge, or resource that adds value to the collective good. Those skills add value to the well-being of our communities and Hue-Manity at large.

In this current system of capitalism, variables such where you are born, how you are born, and the circumstances of your birth largely impact your access to capital and other resources. If you think about it, time is an equalizer. What do I mean?

Despite one’s gender, political affiliation, size, ethnicity or race, religious beliefs, etc., we all have been equally distributed 24 hours per day. Timebanking takes the emphasis away from monetary exchanges. Instead, our time is the currency and can be used to access resources to meet our day-to-day needs and wants.

Using time as currency creates more economically equitable conditions for all. Timebanking allows people an opportunity to receive things or services that they may not have had the capital to afford. To gain a better understanding of the practice of timebanking and to learn more about the Cowry Collective Timebank, the one in which I participate here in St. Louis, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv3TD2WPwwY and https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/timebanking-offers-st-louisans-alternative-currency-platform-exchange-services#stream/0.

The emergence of Blockchain technology and alternative economies like Cryptocurrency present us new opportunities for collective advancement and innovation. The idea of currency that transcends nationality and the idea of being your own bank puts us in positions that we have been excluded from in the past. I appreciate innovators in the Crypto and Blockchain space like Sinclair Skinner of Bitmari who take a cultural approach to an economic crisis. Skinner promotes the use of cryptocurrency to move capital throughout the Afrikan diaspora while avoiding exploitive remittance fees and skimming off the top. Using cryptocurrency to move resources along within the diaspora also speeds up the process and eliminates the need for going through multiple channels and gatekeepers. This, in turn, makes the dissemination of resources to demographics where there’s great lack and disparities more efficient and effective.

Definition Dede Says:

Remittance Fees – transfer fees; the cost to send money to someone.

POPS:
Remittance Fees and exchange rate margins are ways that banks and other financial institutions nickel-and-dime wealth. Most money transfers happen when migrants send money to their friends and family in developing countries. Annually, nearly $320 billion in remittance fees is paid to banks and financial institutions.

  • Banks typically charge 13% of the total amount of money sent
  • Post offices typically charge between 9% of the total amount of money sent
  • Money transfer operators typically charge between 7% of the total amount of money sent

By lowering or eliminating remittance fees, more money can be sent to people all over the globe who need it the most.

An exchange rate margin
is another way that banks and other financial institutions nickel-and-dime wealth. Every country has its own currency. When you travel from one country to another country, you will often have to switch (exchange) the currency you use in your home country to the type of currency that is used in your destination country.

The exchange rate is how most people find out how much one currency is worth compared to another currency. For example, as of the time of this writing, the exchange rate for the dollar to the Swedish Krona is 1: 9.24. One United States Dollar is worth 9.24 Swedish Kronas.
Big banks and other large institutions create the Interbank Market and they define what the exchange rates are between currencies.

Big banks will give a quote of exchange rates to smaller banks and money-operators. That quote is called the Interbank Rate. This is the amount the larger banks are going to charge the smaller banks to switch the currency.

Once the smaller bank or money operator gets that number, they add an additional amount on top of that called the Margin Rate.

The Interbank Rate + Margin Rate
is what the smaller bank or money operator quotes you as a service charge. So, not only will you pay the cost the larger bank charges the smaller bank, but you will pay the margin rate so the smaller bank or money-operator makes a profit for exchanging the currency.

For example:
If the Interbank Rate for converting Euros to British Pounds is 1.18 and the small bank or money operator charges you, 1.16 as an Exchange Rate, that means you paid 0.02 in the Margin Rate, also known as the Exchange Rate Margin.

Big Rob:

Many of our businesses and institutions far too often find themselves in a place where their existence is short-lived or stifled due to lack of support and resources. There are so many brilliant ideas in our community that can’t get off of the ground due to a lack of resources. This is where we, as everyday responsible consumers and community members, come into play.

It’s up to us to take a consistent, open, and honest look at our efforts to support our own. We must challenge ourselves to go above and beyond to patronize Black-Owned Businesses THAT HAVE A VESTED INTERESTED IN ADVANCING OUR COLLECTIVE PLIGHT. It’s my belief that supporting a Black-Owned Business that only looks to get rich off the community, come up financially individually, or lacks a desire to move us ahead collectively is not the type of business we need to support with our dollars. We don’t need more parasites in our community or culture that simply change the color and complexion.

If there aren’t many Black-Owned Businesses in your community that don’t have the desire to advance the collective, then look for platforms like www.webuyblack.com or the www.theblackmall.com to patronize. At the least, patronize the lady on your block selling plates out of her house. In this way you’re supporting your local economy and knowing exactly where your dollars are going. I’ve been seeing a meme floating around lately that states that Black-Owned Businesses don’t need more capital but instead need more support from us.

As we patronize our Black-Owned Businesses, we should also encourage and empower them to hire those within their own community. I’m not saying that this will necessarily be an easy task to accomplish, but it’s very necessary. Too many of us have to go to work daily on the proverbial professional plantation for people that don’t have our best interest at hand. How much more empowered would we be if we got ourselves, our family members, our friends, and neighbors off of that plantation and provided them with a decent living, fair working conditions, and an environment that promotes a sense of collective good, well-being, and fictive kinship? Support should be a two-way street.

Definition Dede Says:

Fictive Kinship – a term used by anthropologists and ethnographers to describe the connection people have to each other outside of blood and marriage. By contrast, true kinship, is a term used to describe the connection people have to each other through blood and marriage.

We vote daily by the use of our dollars. What do I mean? It’s my opinion that even more than participating in two-party politics and the electoral process, that the primary political participation involves our daily choices about money. Profit and power are the primary political engine of capitalism.

We either give a vote of approval or confidence to a business, their products or services, and practices by spending our money with them. By patronizing a business we willingly or unwillingly say that we support who they are, what they’re about, and how they do business. On the other hand, by not spending our money with them, we submit a vote of no confidence.

We as consumers have to vote with our dollars daily. Our refusal to spend our dollars send a message out that we don’t agree with:

  • the values or value or things offered,
  • their business practices,
  • their hiring practices, or
  • their social responsibility (or lack thereof) practices, etc.

Crowdinvesting is another recent option that makes practicing cooperative economics possible. Crowdinvesting provides everyday people like you and me, non-accredited investors, the chance to buy into startups and businesses on the ground floor. Depending on the platform used, one may be able to purchase equity into a company for under $100. This not only provides businesses and initiatives with capital to start up or expand a project but also gives the person making an investment some type of perk for taking the risk.

Definition Dede Says:

Non-Accredited Investor – a person who does not meet the net worth requirements of the Securities Exchange Commission Regulation D.

Equity – a person’s ownership in corporation; typically a publicly traded company. Equity is the difference between how much a company owns (assets) and how much a company owes (liabilities).

Assets – Liabilities = Equity

Securities – a negotiable, interchangeable financial instrument that has monetary value. If it is a stock, it represents ownership in a publicly-traded corporation. If it is a bond, it represents being a creditor to a governmental body. If it is an option, it represents the rights of ownership in a publicly-traded corporation.

POPS:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The agency is responsible for creating rules about investing, enforcing those rules, and regulating how stocks and options operate in the United States. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 created the Securities and Exchange Commission.

One of the laws that SEC enforces is called the Securities Exchange Act of 1933. This law requires that any company who wants to sell securities must register with Securities Exchange Commission; otherwise, they must meet certain qualifications to not have to register. The provision that explains these qualifications so they do not have to register is called Regulation D.

Regulation D defines that an accredited investor is an individual who has a net worth of $1 million and earns $200,000 per year or $300,000 per year with their spouse. Anyone who does not meet this criteria is considered a non-accredited investor.

Start – To the last point stated I want to emphasize the importance of starting new businesses. This, hopefully, will put us in a position to have something to not just benefit us in this moment but that we can also leave behind for upcoming generations. Our aims must be long-term in nature. The reality is that we may not see the progress that we think we should in this generation, but we still should put in the legwork necessary to impact future generations. We may be placed here to start what future generations may finish at a later time.

Takiyah:

How and why did you become a part of Koindanomics?

Big Rob:

I first became aware of Lamar Wilson from Dr. Boyce Watkins’ initial Digital Underground Weekend back in December 2017. I was still fairly new to the Crypto game and was always happy to find people that not only looked like me in the space, but those who also had a heart for the people. I was looking to find people who had a passion to educate and bring many of us along on the journey.

I would watch Lamar’s Facebook live broadcasts after that event and I eventually learned about the Black Coin Group. If I can be honest, the name alone attracted me to the group. The content and the people in it kept me hanging around. I think I joined that group in January 2018.

Since then, I’ve been around to witness the group undergo several name changes and exponentially grow in a relatively short amount of time. I was a part of an unofficial delegation of Koindians that traveled to Chicago for the first ever Wakandacon. I got to meet many of the lovely faces and personalities that I became acquainted with who were active in the online Facebook group.

It was legit like meeting family members for the first time. That weekend provided me with an opportunity to sit down, break bread, and chat with some beautiful melanated minds from around the country. I haven’t been as active on Discord as I should be, but I know that there’s always a spot there for me and an opportunity to reconnect and re-engage with the community at any moment.

Takiyah:

How and why did you become a part of One Love Coop and Uplifting Us Cooperative?

Big Rob:

That answer is fairly simple. It’s my humble belief that we can’t continue to talk about cooperative economics without building, maintaining, supporting, and growing co-ops that are exclusively or predominantly for us and by us. As a Garveyite, I tend to take a Race First and self-determination, self-reliance, and self-governing approach to institution and structure building. If self-preservation is the first law of nature and charity starts at home, then it only makes sense that we build and support our own structures such as co-ops.

It’s in the spirit of collaboration and sowing a seed of love into the culture that I’ve partnered with you on this initial issue of OUR publication. We have to put projects that are for us and by us at the forefront of our minds. It’s been said that how we spend our time and money is a reflection of what we value. Well damn it, I want to put my time and money where my mouth is. I want to do my part to show US that we’re valuable beyond measure!

Takiyah:

How and why did you become a part of Buy the Block?

Big Rob:

I want to say I initially heard about Buy the Block maybe over a year ago. The name alone spoke to strength, solidarity, and support. Over the past few months I’ve been seeing more social advertisement about the crowdinvesting platform. I viewed the platform and saw that there were several amazing offers on the site. I eventually connected with Sista Ena, a fellow Koindian, and made an investment in her Roots and Vines Cafe offering. I’ve actually grown to love and appreciate Sista Ena and have built a healthy relationship with her. I really dig Buy the Block’s head-on approach to countering gentrification. The platform empowers the community by literally introducing us to opportunities that we buy into and become stakeholders.

I recently got involved with Buy the Block in another way. I’m proud to say that I’m now a Developer Representative working closely with Buy the Block to promote the platform, drum up business, and do some of the initial early legwork to get campaigns live and launched on www.buytheblock.com. I became aware of the opportunity by following and interacting with Buy the Block and Buy Black Economics on Instagram.

The call was put out for individuals to apply and I reached out as soon as I saw the post. One of the BTB collaborators, Lynn, led me through a short vetting process via direct message. I received the training and now here I am, ready to serve. What started out simply as a personal following of an Instagram profile led to building a professional working relationship with an entity that I know will make a positive impact in our community. The approach that Buy the Block takes and the use of crowdinvesting to practice cooperative economics to build up institutions within our community will have positive psychological impact on Afrikan people.

Takiyah:

In your opinion, what is the most important initiative our community needs to execute with a sense of urgency?

Big Rob:

I think that initiatives like this are important. Let’s be honest, everyone doesn’t have equitable access to the most basic of financial literacy. Exposure and education are two crucial elements for elevation. When you add the political education, historical context of finance, and analytical components to this type of financial education, you literally create an extremely valuable offering to the community.

We have to find a nice balance when we do something like this. We can’t assume that everyone has a working understanding of basic economic concepts, terminology, and even practices. If I can be completely honest, the topic of economics as a whole is still very much overwhelming and unfamiliar to me. In making sure that we’re not assuming that everyone is at the same starting point, we also want to avoid dumbing it down and stereotypically assume that people don’t want to be in the know or aren’t capable of being in the know.

As you and I both know, there are some that prey on and pimp the people’s lack of knowledge. I do believe that one should be fairly compensated for their skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience, but some folks are out here charging ridiculously high prices for courses that often uphold the exact suppressive system we need to upend. These “financial literacy experts” often end up preaching the sort of respectability politics that condemns the spending habits and behaviors of the oppressed instead of condemning the corrupt system and the conditions within the system that create oppression and disparities.

Although it is important that we get financial backers, it is equally important that we get supporters who may not be in a position to offer financial assistance to sustain initiatives like this. We have to find a way to get this info into the hands of the people who need it most for free or an inexpensive rate while creating a way to cover the costs that go into the production and mass distribution of info provided in a publication such as this. We also have to look at what the people value the most and find a way to introduce those elements into what they could all benefit from. This also means meeting the very real and tangible needs of the people in our community as a way to gain access to their mind, heart, and ears.

Takiyah:

Is there any last advice you would like to share with our community?

Indeed. Since I come from a communication studies background with an emphasis on public speaking emphasis, I tend to have an interest on words, meanings, and their impact. For example, if we explore the word community, we can break it down into “comm” and “unity.” Breaking the word down gives us a hint as to what we need to be an effective mass. A community is just a group of people that live amongst one another. A community is a common unit moving in the direction of unity.

This doesn’t mean that everyone will always agree or even like one another. What it does show us is that communities should be made up of compassion, communication, comprehension, and comradery. Unity should be gained through a sense of consensus. We must work even harder at becoming a strong, surviving, and thriving community. Hue-Man capital and capacity are two of the greatest currencies that exist beyond culture, class, time, etc. We are Earth’s greatest resource.

I would also encourage us to both individually and collectively study to show thyself approved, know thyself, and always gain to get an understanding. We are literally the original beings and blueprint for all Hue-Manity, civilization, culture, and even currency. As we reflect on the 400th year of return, the Sankofa spirit dwells deep within us and will take us back to a place that we once knew. It’s in that place that we’ll find our true selves, our true value and worth, and everything that we’ve been in search of. No amount of money can ever be enough to buy that! We much govern ourselves accordingly and understand where true value lies. Let me get off of my soapbox now 🙂

Takiyah:

What’s the best way to contact you to learn more about you and become a part of the solutions you mentioned in this interview?

Big Rob:

I’m very simple to get a hold of. Anyone interested in offering a word of critique, challenge, or even celebration can call or text me at 573-340-9877 or email me at rlwhite3@gmail.com. Let’s engage in some truthful, tactful, and diplomatic dialogue and discourse. I would love to chat more with individuals that simply want to know more about me, learn more about Buy the Block and get assistance in launching a crowdinvesting campaign, learn more about Koinda, One Love Co-Op, or the Us Lifting Us Co-op, or just shoot the breeze. I can also be found on Facebook under my real government name (Robert White III). Let’s connect and network!

Robert “Big Rob” White III’s Recommended

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Comments

This post currently has 2 responses.

  1. Scott

    June 7, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Much and many thanks to Big Rob and Takiyah for giving your time and effort in providing me/us with this very informative and transformative information.

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