NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday August 22nd 2017

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Frank Reflections

By Frank Erickson

It is intriguing how the financial hierarchy unfolds on our planet—there are 7 billion of us, and 6 billion of us live on less than $12,000.00 per year. 5 billion of us get by on less than $4,000 a year, and over 1 billion get by on only $1.25 per day…and I saw this investment expert on PBS, she told the all-white audience, “ you each will need at least a million dollars to retire on”, how privileged to say such an insane thing.

So why would it make little sense for this investment expert to go to a desolate Native reservation in South Dakota, and tell them that they each needed a million to retire on, but it makes perfect sense to tell this to as group of white Americans?

It is important for me to remind myself on a regular basis that this continent and all its wealth do not exist solely for whites. Who decided that the wealth of North America was going to be divided up based on the white men’s capitalist “working” model?

Why do whites have so much money, live the longest, have the best health, live in comfort, travel the world, have huge retirement “portfolios”… and Natives have poverty, alcoholism, diabetes, domestic abuse, child abuse, high incarceration rates, and lack the access to opportunity that whites have? Do whites work harder than non-whites, do whites deserve all their wealth, no, of course not, and it is just the way things are set up. Whites are born into a system that flows in their favor, non-whites are born into a system filled with roadblocks.

A cheesy 70’s song by Judas Priest says it best, “Out there is a fortune waitin’ to be had / You think I’ll let it go you’re mad / You’ve got another thing comin’.”

Most whites are not going to turn their backs on the opportunity to acquire wealth and comfort, even if it was made available from the unjust spilling of Native blood.

Einstein was asked what he thought the most important question that a human being needed to answer, he replied,”Is the universe a friendly place?” So do you believe that the universe is a friendly place and that you will be taken care of, if you do, why are you hoarding all sorts of money in retirement accounts as the world starves and crashes in the moment? Why do you get to sit on so much wealth while others starve? Why don’t humans share?

In his “The Gospel of Wealth “ Andrew Carnegie said, “the duty of the rich is to distribute their surplus wealth” – I will add to that, that the duty of all of us is to look at how we got the opportunity to acquire surplus wealth in the first place. The tricky part though is to see yourself as rich and having “surplus wealth “ that you should distribute, very easy to see Carnegie as rich with surplus wealth, lot harder to see ourselves in the same boat.

Every bit of white privilege comes from “war” privilege.

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