Friday, January 21, 2011

What China-US Talks Mean for African Americans

If you ask the average African American about China, they will probably say very little with the exception of the query, why do they own the neighborhood soul food restaurant. If you asked what impact does US-China relations have on them, you may draw a quixotic stare, as I did recently.

This week, China’s President Hu JinTao was in the United States for the first time since 2006 to meet with President Barack Obama. The goal I suspect based on the needs of the United states, the Economic tension with China and other concerns is to both reframe and redefine the relationship between the US and China. So far so good, Already Obama has encouraged the President to acknowledge that China has a long way to go with respect to human rights as well as secured $45 billion in investments from the nation. Add to that, the announcement affirming energy deals that will engender partnerships with US and Chinese energy companies to develop clean energy.

But what of importance for me is to discern how these efforts will impact the African American community and what does it mean for us? What I can surmise thus far is that if we are to benefit equally from interaction between these two nations, we must get our stuff in order. First, it means that we will have to become financially literate. Most of us do not know anything about the Yuan, let alone exchange rates and currency markets periods as it relates to the dollars in our pocket or our economic bottom line personally.

It also asserts that we need to become innovative as a community to take advantage of any opportunities that may engender due to stronger US-China economic interaction. This mean making our children learn Mandarin, study harder, and focus on the sciences and math as opposed to sports or music. Otherwise we will not be in a position to take advantage of the skills required to go after the marginal dollars in available in these areas around the world.

Looking at it logistically, the only other option for us will be to join the military if we don’t, for unlike China, that’s where a large corpus of US spending is directed. The Chinese spend billions around the world on natural Resources to expand and sustain their manufacturing base while we spend the same amount on funding two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Education and immigration issues will be of major importance for the Obama administration and African Americans need to push for changes that will enhance both. Mathematically, we need to be able to sell things and services and skills if we are to move forward on an equal economic footing. We are a nation of 300 million compared to 1.3 billion in china – we need to be involved in this market. Thus, the importance of education specifically for African Americans and all Americans for that matter cannot be overlooked. The deal with energy companies mentioned earlier mainly deals with developing carbon capturing technologies and clean coal technology. And frankly, we will miss the boat if we do not engage in these areas and understand what is at stake for us.

Plain and simple, many of us write off the importance of understanding the china-US relationship yet wonder why we maintain the same economic status as a community decade after decade. If we truly desire to reap the benefits of an African American President, then we need to study policy and make it work for us and stop kvetching about things that are not really that important.


Tera said...

Very well said! I admit, I could stand to push a little more in the way of what my kids learn. Math, Science, another language...knowledge is power. You speak nothing but the truth.

Seven said...

Hi hun...I haven't hit you in a loooooong time. How goes it?

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