Wall St. and Business Wednesdays: Eff An Apology by Kaia Niambi Shivers
The bloody hands and dirty money that built Wachovia Bank, the fourth largest financial institution of the United States has been uncovered. Just like all major institutions cultivated on American soil, the Charlotte, NC based entity was intimately involved in the chattel enslavement system that funded the spread of European domination of the world and the establishment of the Americas, or white rule on indigenous soil. A historical research firm provided evidence of two of the company’s ancestral banks, Bank of Charleston (S.C.) and the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company — owned black people, Africans forced into slavery.
At a press conference held on June 3, 2005, in Charlotte, Wachovia’s chairman, Ken Thompson expressed he was "deeply saddened," by the facts and offered an apology "...to all Americans, and especially to African-Americans and people of African descent." He further stated, "While we can in no way atone for the past, we can learn from it, and we can continue to promote a better understanding of the African-American story, including the unique struggles, triumphs and contributions of African-Americans, and their important role in America's past and present."
So here I am thinking, "What the eff is there to learn right now?" Black people are economically disenfranchised and dis-empowered. We have been since the first colony of Europe established by Christopher Columbus in 1492. As the native people were annihilated, Africans were brutally transported in 1501 to an island now called Haiti and Dominican Republic. "What does Wachovia Bank need to learn from the pimp game it still thrives on?" I attend Clark Atlanta University, a historically black institution. The cold irony is Wachovia teller machines are right there on site serving $2 fees with a transaction. Also, there is this warm-fuzzy student checking account program in place. See, that is what I call the ultimate pimp slap.
After Wachovia accumulates insurmountable amounts of money off black folk suffering and forced free labor to establish empires, we are called back to work for the same money we made these banks through high interest loans, if we can get a loan, inequitable account policies, and credit cards. We even count the slave wealth as under paid employees. This is the double-back sided slap that says, "Bitch, where’s my money?"
Will we fuss about the recent emergence of information on Wachovia? Oh yes. Watch the piranhas and hyenas we call black leadership put on a ho-show with protests and public meetings with palms greased and waiting. We too will cry and moan, yet we are easily cajoled with apologies, a press conference and them shaking the hands of a Negro is reincarnating the process of auctioning his soul. We are bought something nice, like a recreational center in the S.W.A.T.S. of Atlanta, or set up a scholarship foundation that provides 12 students "of color" college tuition. This is a code word that says half, if not more of the recipients will be non-black or white women. After that, we are turned back around, and bent over for a good kick in the ass to get us back out on the streets to make more money for these financial institutions. Then we’ll have someone like Cosby bastardized those in poverty not doing their part in our progress. Hah!
An apology. So that’s what we are accepting these days? A simple "I’m sorry now everything is all right." I reject this notion of these people and institutions that live comfortable from 500 years of free labor enforced by torment, terror and torture. I reject this for I am still looking for the nations in which my mothers and fathers built. I look around South Central Los Angeles, the Traps in Atlanta, the gutter projects of the East coast, the ghettos of the Bay, the shantytowns of Jamaica, Soweto, Mississippi and Brazil, and I see and know poverty. An apology will not do, will never amend, nor are they part of the lesson that will be learned.
I challenge Wachovia Bank. Where is my g------n business loan with seven years of no tax? Where is a program for an affordable real estate loan? I want to own at least 0.4 of the 40 acres of land my ancestors "muled" by pulling the economic foundation of this society? Put half on an educational fund for the millions of black children that will suffer from the cut of Pell grants and other federal funded financial aid programs. Pay off the international IMF debt in the Caribbean, South America and Africa. Better yet, cut me my reparations check! So Bitch, where is MY money?
And by the way, black people can you conjure up some backbone or spiritual b---s and remove your bank accounts from Wachovia. My warm-fuzzy student account is gone.
Kaia Niambi Shivers is an artist, journalist and educator and founder of "She Speaks Hip Hop" an opinion column from the perspective of a black woman of the hip hop generation. Her website is www.kaiashivers.com and she can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 15, 2005