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Give back to minorities and women

I am not just writing about history and facts, even though they are sorely needed in today’s America. We at needhelppayingbills and I am also trying to do other meaningful things to try to make a difference around combating systemic racism and sexism. And there are things you or anyone can do as well to support the black community, minorities, and women. There are steps you can take regardless of how much (or little) money you have, time, or other resources.

While putting up a sign, protesting or marching as part of the current anti-racism or sexism movements are better than doing nothing, try to do some something more meaningful that can have a direct economic impact. As spending and money makes a difference. Just look at Facebook…they tend to only address hate, racism, and conspiracy theories on their platform when advertisers cut back. This has been proven time and time again throughout history; the way to make a difference is make your “money talk”, and get others to do it with you as well as “aggregate” makes a difference.

Support women and minority owned businesses

Whether you agree or not, or whether right or wrong, in the US money/spending makes a difference. Arguably it is the only thing that makes a difference. Give more of your dollars and MAKE every effort possible to spend at black or minority or women owned businesses. Spend on companies that make a social difference. Shop more at businesses set up by minorities or women.

Even yesterday, July 8, 2020 was “Black Out Tuesday”, which is a new day that encourages people to only spend their money at a black owned business. Just like some people go out of their way to spend some more money at “mom and pop” small businesses, spend more of your discretionary income at minority, women owned, and black owned businesses.

Financial Literacy

I am a huge believer in financial literacy, and I think it can be a tool to help reduce systemic racism and sexism (not to mention poverty), especially when it comes to asset inequality and generational wealth as well as the the racial/gender wealth gaps. Generational wealth and assets are accumulated over decades, and the black community and others have had no opportunity to do this due due to past and current racism, segregation, discrimination in the workforce and other barriers.

First of all, for those readers that do not know it, Needhelppayingbills has launched financialliteracyhelp to give free financial literacy advice. We have a forum, tons of free information on investing, tips for using technology to save/invest, a blog, and more. There are financial literary tips for women, kids, teenagers, the black community, minorities, and other groups. And of course read the financial literacy blog and we have a forum on the site for questions as well. The financialliteracyhelp site is part of Needhelppayingbills, and there is a link in our footer to it. Read it. Learn about compound interest and the Rule of 72. Find apps to help you save and invest and so much more.

Speak up to sexist and racist people – stop being silent (like I was)

Speak up. This is the simplest thing to do. Speak. I will never sit there and have people say obnoxious/racist/sexist things in front of me and not speak up again. And will the concept and action of “speaking”, find a way to get over any fear or discomfort. You are not wrong for speaking…it is the racist/sexist people that are wrong. Remember this quote:  “Consider how straight-up insane it is for people to feel superior to fellow human beings they’ve never met — often without even realizing it. The foolishness of people insisting that so-called “inferior” people are dumber, meaner, lazier, less honest — less worthy — because of their skin color or gender, while failing to note the dumb, mean, lazy and dishonest people who look like them. Making assumptions about others based on their appearance clearly opposes Christ’s blanketing love — and yet many racists claim they’re Christian. Would the God in whose image in which we were created approve our judging others based on the skin that same deity wrapped them in?”

Speak up by voting. Vote a certain way. I have been trying to stay away from most politics (until recently), but as noted earlier, I will soon write a more political post about the two parties, in particular Republican. While I support views of both parties I strongly believe the Republican party has lost their way and I often get very confused (to say the least) with what many of the Republican views even are these days. I will have some objective data as well as subjective. Even looking at the news today, think about how hypocritical this latest Republican goal is.

Trump is pressuring governor to open schools.

So think about this. Republicans have in effect decided to not take a federal approach to fighting COVID and “washed their hands of it” and delegated almost everything to the states. Republicans at the national level don’t help (or give immaterial support) with testing, don’t help with PPE, don’t help with national mask policy, don’t set an example for the public to follow around safety, etc. This lack of federal response is fact/objective and not subjective. 

So the Republicans wanted no part of the “war on COVID”, but now the Republicans want to interfere with and require states to open their schools? This is hypocrisy by every objective measure. So it is “states Rights” when it comes to fighting COVID but states have no rights when it comes to opening their schools?

(Not this is not a comment as to whether I think school should or should not occur or how it should occur – it is just to point out one more objective point of the Republican party making no sense)

This is just an example of how the party has lost their way and their policies make no sense. But in the meantime, I never understood how any women or minority could vote Republican at the national level. ~95% of the party is white people. Only about ~10% of the party is women. On every objective measure it is unacceptable and a sad reflection of America. Even if you do not know anything about anything, just think of that….one of our political parties is 95% white and 10% women. Does that sound right to you?

If that is not unacceptable enough for you, now think about this. Since 90% of the party is white (and almost all white men), these white men put together policies that impact women, minorities, etc. It is unacceptable that white men decide on what is best for females or minorities. Look at the crowd in a Republican rally or their soon to be convention….it is all white people…strangest thing as it is not at all reflective of the US. Then again, if you are racist, sexist, bigoted, then you probably like that white and maleness in the republican party. Anyway, educate yourself and speak your mind by voting.

Read, educate yourself and LISTEN to others

Note this is only effective if you are open minded and also first learn (and practice) how to actively listen. As very few Americans know how to listen – they like to talk, and talk about themselves, express their own one sided often ignorant positions on social media, etc. Very few people are self-reflective or try to grow. As if you can’t be open to questioning yourself, listening, learning about and fighting unconscious bias, then you have no hope…sorry.

I have always felt people need to educate themselves. Break the cycle of ignorance. While as I said I know racist and sexist people (some that are maybe that way due to malice and some that are just ignorant), the fact is that neither is acceptable. Ignorance can’t be an excuse for being racist/sexist

In either case, educate yourself. History has a beauty/simplicity to it in the fact it is fact based. Math and stats have a beauty as well as simplicity to them as numbers do not lie. As you can’t argue to the stats that show discrimination of women and minorities, both in the past and currently. Read, educate yourself, but YOU NEED TO BE OPEN MINDED AND QUESTION YOURSELF AND BIASES (whether conscious bias or not).

Claim you don’t have time or are too busy? Yeah right…Americans spend on average 1.5 to 3 hours per day on social media (which BTW is full of propaganda and conspiracy theories as social networks tend to show the most contentious info as it leads to engagement for the social network, thus more money for those companies). Americans spend 4-6 hours per day watching TV, Youtube, Netflix, videos, etc.

I love the people that say they have no time for anything but then tell me “I just waited in line at Starbucks for 30 minutes for a coffee and do that daily”. Or I just binged 6 episodes of a show. I am convinced that almost everyone has time….it just matters how they decide to spend their time. Life is made up of choices. Educate yourself instead of wasting time.

Stop teaching kids hate, discrimination and sexism. While I am not a parent, kids almost always learn racism and sexism from their parents. Stop teaching it to kids. If your kid wants to read a book on a black persons life or a book about women, let them. In fact, encourage it or even better make them read some!

If they want to wear a pink shirt, who cares. Encourage kids to make friends of diverse backgrounds, teach them history, teach them that discrimination and sexism still exists today and that as little as 55 years ago black people could not even associate with whites in many aspects of life due to segregation. And that racism/white supremacy from 55 years ago did not go away at the flip of a switch – rather it just want under the surface of many white people. Teach kids that it is healthy for a man to cry, get rid of male ego, males can have interests other than sports and cars, it is OK for males to be sensitive, etc.

Volunteer or donate

Give back your time. About 3 years ago I started volunteering as a mentor to help businesses that are located in minority and inner city areas. I also volunteer as a mentor to help businesses in Charleston and Asheville. I support either existing businesses or entrepreneurs, and the majority of those businesses I assist are women or minority run or start ups. I am using my skills to give back using my time. There are countless ways to volunteer your time as well in a meaningful way that can help give the disadvantaged a “hand up” and not a “hand out”.

Donate. Over the last few years I have been loaning money to small businesses to help them grow, and most of the businesses I loaned money to were women owned. Over the last few months I have also been loaning money to black or other minority owned businesses. The loans are either interest free or have very, very low interest rates. I use a third party lender to screen applicants for credit worthiness.

I worked very hard (7 days a week probably average 70 hours week for 6+ years), took extreme investing risk, made sacrifices, and was lucky as well. Now while of course not everyone is as fortunate/blessed enough to be in place to make financial donations, if you have any ability to do this, money makes a difference in this world. Even a few bucks to a charity for school supplies for disadvantaged students,donate gently used work items, job programs, or anything can help. Or a few dollars to help non-profits that teach girls how to code or any worthwhile endeavor that means something to you and that also help minorities or women.

Those are a few idea and things I do. What are you doing? Or other thoughts on this topic?

joncmac

Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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