Week 15: Black Economics

Jacob Lawrence (1917 – 2000) “The Carpenters” 1946

First, a few housekeeping details:

  • ASSIGNMENTS UPDATE: I’ve dropped the 2nd written assignment. Instead, the points for that will go to the 1st assignment or final exam: whichever one is your highest grade
  • Remember that this class doesn’t use Blackboard. Check the course website every week for updates and detailed reading instructions which will appear on this page
  • Weekly discussion post update: Remember to keep up with your comments/replies! It’s okay to comment on both this and last week’s post with different comments

Quick highlights from Week 14 (5/5)’s class:

  • Class cancelled

For Wednesday 5/12, (Week 15), read all of chapter 8 (Black Economics) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies. Same assignment as last week.

  • Begin reviewing for final exam

What to read for:


RESPOND to one idea in the textbook chapter and DISCUSS it with classmates and myself with the comment board at the bottom of this post

ATTEND the weekly Zoom session @ 6 PM EST on Wednesday May 12

General reading strategies:

  • Underline/highlight key points in the text
  • Use the reading questions at the back of chapters to focus you: read those first
  • Try to understand the definitions of the key concepts listed at the back of the chapter
  • Make a note to ask the instructor to clarify anything you don’t understand
  • Note key issues, approaches, and dilemmas/challenges Dr. Karenga outlines

Discussion questions

  • See chapter/essay highlights above

Additional Resources:

What’s Next?

Online final exam: see below

Final Exam Info:

  • The final exam will be posted on the website and the format will be a single essay question. You’ll have a choice of topics.
  • You can complete and return it anytime between Sunday May 16 and Tuesday May 18
  • Submission will be via a Dropbox upload link, like we’ve used for papers all semester
  • Topics will be limited to what we’ve covered in chapters 6, 7, 8, and 10

Read my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF), which will help you begin to prepare for our final (and hopefully others as well). It summarizes much of what is usually in my prep sessions.

Remember the materials to help you review on this website:

  • Scroll through the weekly posts for a quick overview of the entire semester’s work (and reading questions)
  • My own Lecture Notes

Comments on posts:

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post for the “Leave a Comment” button below. Here’s how it works: you can use this to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates
  • The comments section closes 14 days after a post goes live

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either the reading or my lecture using some of the questions raised or conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. You can also ask a question–for me or others–but that doesn’t count toward your comment and reply needed for the grade. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have two weeks to write those two comments for credit.


One thought on “Week 15: Black Economics

  1. From Chapter 8, William Wilson’s viewpoint on race and class are that they are “the bases of black exploitation and oppression” (Karenga 343). From his The Declining Significance of Race (1978) he also argues that class divisions amongst blacks “impede an overall solution to the problem of Black economic development”. He seeks to shine light on lopsided class development/divisions between blacks and that class, now more so than race, are key factors affecting life chances and institutional access.

    As a result of this shift from race issues being the outright issue to issues based on societal position, Wilson contends that this has created a black working class that is becoming increasingly insensitive to the needs of the lower class.

    There are many arguments against Wilson’s viewpoints such as that there are not as many blacks in these higher-tier positions, racial differences in pay, blacks aren’t in leadership positions, are continuously discriminated against, etc. These arguments try to downplay Wilson’s viewpoint that race is no longer an issue. In my viewpoint, these counter-arguments are not trying to disprove that class is not an issue. Moreover, it seems to me as if these counter-arguments try to highlight how issues evolve and that even seemingly new issues have roots still tied to race and racist policies/viewpoints.

    Despite Wilson having some more controversial opinions, his thoughts are based on real issues. Perhaps he just understates some too much or overstates some too much. Which one it is depends on the situation and topic.

    More recently (around 2010) Wilson brought up structural/institutional racisms as obstacles in the way of attaining more racial equality. One such example of his of why or how structural racisms impact blacks is that poor attitudes/outlooks on important structures in society (such as jobs) creates a negative relationship between these institutions of power and those who are trying to succeed within.

    He believes legislation is necessary to confront structural and cultural forces that create/promote/reinforce/defend racial inequalities head on.

    This is from the section about Race and Equality from pages 342-345. I tried my best to make sense of it, but if any of it is wrong or you have a different viewpoint then me, please feel free to correct me or add on.


Comments are closed.