This blog post is based on the following statement, “black and brown people can save America.” I know this sounds like a setup for some racial or social inequality deep-dive; but it absolutely is not. The ideas that drive this conversation are based on economics and innovation. However, you will disagree with my perspective if you don’t think there is inequality in black and brown communities; or that there is no such thing as systemic racism. I believe these thing are pretty universal truths in America today; but I know that not everyone thinks like me. That said, my perspective takes into account certain assumptions that I think the average person can agree with on some level.
Generally speaking, the United States is losing its lead and its footing regarding its placement on the world’s stage. This is a huge statement that has multiple layers and dimensions. I won’t be discussing all the complexities, the reasons, the causes and the liabilities because my thought process is much simpler. I believe the US has an under-utilized resource that can be an extremely valuable asset in US global competitiveness.
The US has a small population when compared to other world powers. The are also some countries that are rising to prominence when it comes to positioning in the worlds rankings. Population alone puts the US at risk of losing its dominance when compared to countries like China and India (who each have 4 times the amount of people). One of the key reasons that the US has stayed relevant is because of innovation. We have managed to outpace most of the world when it comes to innovation and business. 7 out of the top 10 companies in the world come from the US. We have a very strong footing when it comes to things like technology and data. The problem is that other countries are gaining ground, as they are investing heavily into the infrastructure that would facilitate innovation growth. Another problem, as mentioned, is that other countries have massive work forces to help them bridge that gap.
The major opportunity I see in the US is with initializing the black and brown people of this country. Because of systemic racism the infrastructure for innovation has never been established in minority communities. This means that a massive unused resource is laying dormant right within the borders of our country. This is huge when you think about the sheer number of people who can be aggregated and deployed towards the area of innovation, which is undoubtedly one of America's main strengths in the world. Things like education in the areas of entrepreneurship and finance, and access to capital are pivotal for building a successful business ecosystem. These elements have never widely available in black and brown communities. By intentionally infusing this type of business infrastructure into communities of color, the US will inevitably increase its capacity for innovation; which is currently our biggest competitive advantage.
Fractured race relations is costly and inefficient for a country like the US that is now struggling to keep its positioning in the world. There have been countless examples throughout our history that prove this point. Think back to President Abraham Lincoln looking to free the slaves in order to win the civil war. He realized that slaves could fight for this country. That decision instantly added millions of people with manpower and expertise to help secure the victory. Similarly, today the US finds itself losing its ability to keep pace with the growth of other nations. By empowering communities of color to innovate, the US would add millions of people with expertise and influence to help secure its future-place on the world’s stage through innovation.