Since I first started writing about financial independence for educators in November of 2018, I have never failed to post on Monday. Not once. Today will be the first – this isn’t a post, it’s a pause.
This site is, and will continue to be, primarily about money and financial issues impacting me, and other educators.
The truth is, I don’t feel much like writing about standard money topics today. I had an article on stealth wealth ready to go, and couldn’t publish it after a week of demonstrations for racial justice. The events of the past week, stacked on top of the pandemic, seem too important to go forward pretending nothing has happened.
However, as I’ve gone from being a clueless white guy to striving to be actively anti-racist, I’ve committed to never simply staying quiet. I have the option to just walk away, remain silent, or look in another direction – something others simply don’t have.
So, for today, I’m going to make a few brief declarations about where I stand. These aren’t discussions or debates, but instead making a few core beliefs clear for readers. If you disagree, or think I should “just stick to personal finance” I encourage you to read other authors instead. These beliefs inform my writing and approach to the world.
Black lives matter. It’s that simple.
Our education system is built on white supremacy. Systemic racism is clearly evident in the outcomes of our schools. In virtually every school district in America the racial achievement gaps are horrific. This is on the adults, not the students. This is not an accident – the system works as designed. It will take active, committed, and continuous work by passionate educators to dismantle and rebuild it correctly to serve all students. It must be part of our work every day.
Talking about money is inherently political. Most of our nation’s history is built on decisions explicitly designed to enrich white people at the expense of others. Denying that, or pretending money is neutral, perpetuates systemic oppression. Sharing financial knowledge is empowering but we can’t pretend everything we do from a position of privilege is instantly replicable for others. Instead, we have to work to make the system truly empowering (and enriching) for all.
“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.” That quote is from this op-ed by Kareem Abdul Jabaar about the protests.
Education and personal finance are my two passions. And racism is everywhere in them.
These things can be true, and I can still have hope it will get better. It won’t happen if we pretend they aren’t real, ignore them, or continue to enrich ourselves at the expense of others. I will strive to acknowledge these things in my writing. I will work actively against systems of oppression, be an ally, and amplify the voices of educators and writers of color.
Here is a list of African-American personal finance content creators to go read today!