Exclusive Interview With The Talented Author Shawn Rochester Print
Written by Patricia Turnier, LL.M (Master's degree in Law) and Former LL.D (PhD in Law) Candidate   
Sunday, 13 February 2022 00:00

Shawn D. Rochester was born in Barbados, the same Caribbean island which birth the billionaire , the wealthiest pop female artist of all time (her nation, a republic officially severed its ties with Queen Elizabeth II and named Rihanna their national heroine) and Mother of Shirley Anita Chisholm (who spoke English and Spanish) the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress (1969 to 1983) and the first African-American to seek the Democratic nomination for president of the United States (1972) for a major party.  Rochester earned his bachelor degree in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA in 2002 from the University of Chicago with a specialization in accounting, finance and entrepreneurship.

Between 2002 and 2007, Rochester worked for IBM Corporation in Corporate Development, Finance & Planning, and Treasury including sales with distribution in the multi-billion dollar Global communications sector. In addition, he was involved in foreign exchange hedge programs. Shawn also was a member of IBM’s Emerging Business Opportunities (EBO) program which has been featured in a Harvard Business School Case study and a Stanford Business School Research Paper.

The author Shawn D. Rochester wears several hats: he is the CEO of Good Steward LLC (GSL), the founder of PHD Enterprises and the IDEA (institute of Intra Diaspora Economic Advancement) Institute. Since 2018 with the Institute, he eases commerce between the Black Business communities in America, the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa to produce jobs and businesses on the continent and across the Diaspora. Rochester is an entrepreneur with a pan-Africanist perspective providing financial education and advisory services to individuals and families for boosting their social and economic wealth. As of April 2021, Rochester became the CEO and Chairman of the MEOA (Minority Equality Opportunities Acquisitions Inc.). Shawn Rochester received citations from the New York State Assembly and the New York City Council for his work in economic development. Rochester has a global mindset. From 2007 to 2013, he worked with Amphenol Corporation’s an IT & Datacom and Corporate M&A teams which collectively led acquisitions in Germany, China, Malaysia and Japan as the Global Director of New Business Development, responsible for unifications and mergers, acquisitions and discovering new growth opportunities. Shawn Rochester has written two books: CPR for the Soul and The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America. CPR for the Soul’s structure is based on three principle elements: stewardship, ownership and legacy to create wealth accumulation (including generational wealth). The six principles of financial success are also comprised, outlining ways to understand, maximizing and mastering cash-flow and more.

The Black Tax, released on Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, informal tone is ideal reading for individuals as young as 13 years of age. Its universal appeal can be understood and appreciated by those with whom English isn't their first language. Rochester’s writing style is about being direct by going right to the point. He has a great capacity to summarize. 97% of the readers gave a five and four stars to the book on Amazon which is rare. This speaks volume on the quality of the book. Rochester's paperback is probably the most powerful since the Dr. Eric William's (the former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago) classic Capitalism and Slavery. Writing about finance can be dull for some readers but this is definitely not the case with Rochester who uses a very compelling style. The latest impactful book of Rochester was praised by many people like Dr William Kapfer, the global Head of Supplier Diversity JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ashraf Hebela, the Head of Startup Banking, Head of Analytics & Sales Operations at Silicon Valley Bank, and so forth. A Black Tax documentary should be created based on the book.

The paperback highlights the financial cost of discrimination towards Blacks since the slavery1 era in America. The author exposes the consequences of the Black Tax in his latest book: the loss of jobs, businesses and capital. I discovered Rochester’s book after an incident. I went to see a movie at the end of last summer (I knew the price before I went there based on my research on the Internet). When I arrived at the movie theater, the seller tried to make me buy the ticket at a higher price. When he realized that I knew the price and that I would leave if he still refused to act appropriately, he had no choice to sell me the ticket at the right price. I wanted to know more about the Black tax due to the pathology of racism2, so I surfed on the Internet and discovered that Rochester wrote a book about this theme.

The book suggests African-Americans, notably Black farmers, only received about 2% of the economic benefit from past programs (subventions for farmers, etc.) for decades (which helped to build the American middle class) such as the New Deal during the Roosevelt era, the GI Bill post World War II and government subsidies for home ownership, etc. For instance, in the New Deal, domestic workers, predominantly Black women were intentionally excluded. It was a form of indirect discrimination. Roosevelt had implemented the introduction of the minimum wage and many Blacks did not benefit from the labor laws of the time. Unionism was promoted but the majority of Blacks were barred from it. The lack of protection of these workers definitely created serious economic consequences. The longitudinal and cumulative impact of the economic cost of Anti-Black discrimination helps the reader understand in layman’s terms how Black people in America came to own just 2% of the nation’s wealth after being there for more than 400 years.

Another factor that explains disproportionate capital among Black America stems from a lack of financial education in elementary and high schools—a concern for every minor, not just African-Americans. At TED Mellody Hobson-Lucas said in most American schools, kids do not learn about investing. Certainly, academic institutions have a responsibility too.

Rochester’s book provides an insightful blueprint to the realities of the consequences of the Black tax and represents a great study tool for reparations. The Black Tax is properly organized and documented. It is factual and introspective leaving all emotions out of the picture. The paperback dismantles many myths held towards Black America: their so-called laziness, victim mentality and so on. The author does not live in a world of mythological lies. This enlightening book also exposes the myth of meritocracy in America. The consequences can be very heavy for African-Americans: the slow progression of their careers, the lack of promotions, vis-à-vis the hindrance of vertical mobility, an inadequate preparation for retirement, and so forth. In summary, Shawn Rochester's book The Black Tax importance is unparalleled exposing the economic cost of slavery and post-slavery. The author contextualizes this phenomenon through the major historical events. The Black Tax focuses on the financial cost of discrimination driven by conscious and unconscious anti-Black biases.

The 2008 real estate crisis exacerbated disparities among Blacks and Latinos as a result, they suffered disproportionately3. A greater economic imbalance was formed. Thus, many Black Americans, celebrities alike, were affected with the foreclosure predicament. Numerous Blacks have stressful jobs because of hard working conditions directly affecting their health. In addition, it may be difficult to give the best of themselves with harsh working conditions at their jobs and in other spheres of their lives as spouses, parents, and so forth.

It would be very interesting and effective to create a list online of different companies in related fields (with ratings) that provides a scope of good work conditions for Blacks and also a list consisting of companies that give fair treatment to Black consumers and so on in construction, etc. This would avoid or diminish micro-aggressions or worse. It has been reported that in 2017, 64 000 African-American women disappeared4. This shows it is possible to be physically at risk even when minding your own business or when being at home just because of race of affiliation.

For centuries, Blacks could not have access to financial freedom due to institutional and systemic obstacles. A discriminatory jurisprudence was created with cases like Dred Scott. The one-drop rule was a casting system formed to maintain White privilege. The cost of being Black was so grave in America that some decided to identify themselves as Whites to gain economical advantages denied to others. Hence, historically, some African-Americans who look White passed for Caucasians to improve their socio-economic conditions for them and their families5. This is another cost of Black tax. The severity of such a painful decision meant they had to cut all ties with other family members and the community as a whole, in other words they had to deny their roots to be accepted by the mainstream. Hollywood movies, Pinky and Imitation of Life have portrayed this serious issue (both films were praised by the Oscars).

Another type of Black tax is the burden or the pressure of the unofficial rule that requires Blacks to be at least twice better than everybody. This can create financial costs accompanied by diseases related to stress. It may be excruciating for Blacks to look for work regardless of their talents6, degrees and experiences. Rochester demonstrated concrete examples in his book of the grave economical impact regarding call backs for employment if the applicant has a mainstream sounding name compared to an African-American sounding name and the discriminatory practice fail to relent for Blacks once employed (anonymous CVs could be one of the solutions). He wrote what can happen in different fields even when Blacks are employed: the discrimination practices, and so forth. Chronically for centuries Black Americans had to endure a legal and economic systematic oppression. According to blackworldtv.com circa 58% of Black businesses in the U.S are struggling compared to 7% of enterprises from the mainstream.

The first legal case of sexual harassment in America involved African-American female Paulette Barnes, Barnes v. Train (1974)7. After appealing the first verdict, Ms. Barnes won her case in Barnes v. Costle (1977). This represents another example of Black Tax. Black women and many females in general, experienced this similar ordeal long before 1974 case precedent was legally recognized in the seventies. Harassment is one of the major reasons women quit their jobs; while being the main targets among the genders. Most female workers who openly denounce sexual harassment lose their jobs. Women in general are victims of the pink tax. However, Black women face a greater economic impact given the subjection to racial and gender discrimination. In other words, they are facing misogynoiristic obstacles. In 2019, according to the U.S. Census, African-American females earn 63% of what WASP men received. About financing, historically speaking women and minorities met difficulties to get bank loans.

After the American Civil War, 90% of the ex-slaves were illiterate. Those who managed to learn to read during the antebellum era were in danger because of it. The prohibition against slaves (with the Three-fifths compromise in the U.S. constitution) learning to read constituted a powerful tool designed to keep them economically impoverish as a consequence. Blacks have been the only human beings who were prohibited from learning to read for centuries. With just this measure it created a massive Black tax with detrimental economic implications. Very few African-Americans are the product of a third-generation university graduate likewise for the second or third-generation of the biggest Black entrepreneurs. After all, a very small number of African-Americans are born into family businesses and certainly not from businesses listed in Forbes.

At the end of the Civil Rights Movement8 the cost of college education skyrocketed which accentuated societal inequalities. In addition, the Ivy Leagues universities predominantly located in the North-East of the country made it more inaccessible for people from the Southern states (most HBCUs are in the south of the nation). It is important to note that the above mentioned movement started the same year as the Brown case in 1954. Socio-economic imbalances affect everybody as a whole and never just one specific group because we are all interconnected.

Malcolm X once declared: “The economic exploitation in the Afro-American community is the most vicious form practiced on any people in America. In fact, it is the most vicious practiced on any people on this earth. No one is exploited economically as thoroughly as you and I, because in most countries where people are exploited they know it. You and I are in this country being exploited and sometimes we don’t know it”9. Malcolm X always advocated self-reliance for the Black community.

The fact that the unofficial message transmitted to Blacks that they have to work at least twice than everybody else is a Black tax in itself and a form of exploitation and/or abuse. Reparations for slavery have been intensely talked about in the United States since Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman assured 40 acres and a mule to 4 million freed slaves in 1865. This compensation never occurred. There are experts who claim that reparation for descendants of slaves would represent $12 trillion price tag. Duke University professor of public policy, William Darity, calculates a concrete program could cost the U.S. government between $10 trillion to $12 trillion. According to Miller (2017)10, 12 years after college entry regarding student loans, Blacks owe 114%, Latinxs, 79%, Whites 47% of what they first borrowed. There are experts who recommend the cancellation of Black student loans as a form of reparation. So far, some local efforts at reparations are beginning to develop. This shows empathy toward Black Americans. More recently, the city council of mostly White Asheville, North Carolina, voted to apologize for slavery and proposed funding to help African-Americans homeowners and businesses. Evanston, Illinois, made a comparable move in 2019, utilizing tax proceeds from recreational cannabis sales to finance the program. In 2021, another expert the jurist and authoress Dorothy A.  Brown recommends (among other measures) a reparations credit to diminish the Black-White wealth gap11.

At least one hundred and forty-two members of Congress support H.R. 40 (named after the “40 acres and a mule” promise after the Civil War) to study reparations. H.R. 40 was introduced in congress by Representatives John Conyers and Shelia Jackson Lee since 1989. It was supported by N'COBRA's Legislative Commission. H.R. 40 mandates the Commission12 to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for Black America. The commission must assess slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and urge appropriate remedies. Last year, President Biden's biggest preoccupation regarding this law project was to get it through the Senate. As proposed earlier, Rochester’s The Black Tax can become a blueprint for reparations. One of the best compensations African-Americans can acquire is access to free and quality education up to the PhD levels including post-PhDs. This would eventually reduce the enduring wealth gap between the mainstream and African-Americans.

During the post-bellum era, began the reconstruction period, Blacks started to reap some benefits that were subsequently eliminated with the formation of the Jim Crow epoch in the 1870s. For decades, Black house employees worked long hours for low wages without social security, health or retirement benefits. As mentioned, they were excluded from the New Deal programs, etc. Thus, these initiatives would have provided assistance to create homes in the urban ghetto, instead were utilized to build White suburbs which reinforced and perpetuated racial segregation for the rest of the 20th century13. According to Rochester, more educated Blacks also have been impacted economically in regards to African-American teachers in the South. Many were paid between 25% to 34% of what White teachers were remunerated during the Jim Crow era. For instance, following the Brown case many Black teachers lost their jobs (hardly 2% of African-American teachers are males14). The Supreme Court in the Brown decision said nothing concerning job protection for teachers Black or White. The real problem was the lack of funding in schools where predominantly African-Americans attended.

Thus, racial inequality still exists. There is a quote of Tim Wise from his documentary White Like Me where it is mentioned that the median wealth of White families is 20 times greater than the median wealth of Black American families and 18 times greater than the wealth of Latino families. Only circa 2% of Black students go to private schools, this creates a huge impact in terms of the quality of employment (in fact, after the Brown decision many WASPs put their children in private schools). It even happened that some African-Americans have been imprisoned for putting their children in a better school in an area where they did not live (for example, this is what took place with Kelley Wiiliams-Bolar in 2011: she was incarcerated with her father because she used his address to enroll her daughter in a greater academic institution).

Black farmers were not protected by the New Deal and many lost their land by tax sales15. Rochester spoke about their conditions in a Google event in 2018 where he mentioned how the income and cost structure were controlled by the mainstream during the segregation era. Trillions of dollars in wages have been lost by African-Americans due to labor discrimination. An entire inequitable legal arsenal was built such as the vagrancy laws (mainly for African-Americans who tried to avoid sharecropping), convict leasing, redlining, gentrification, poll taxes, gerrymandering and so on. Because of the difficult life conditions of Blacks there was a high mortality rate at least 50% during this time. We can still observe the perverse effects of prison overcrowding among the African-Americans. The prison system became a big business of $74 billion annually16. As a result, a system of mass incarceration was created where many poor people and people of color (Blacks, Natives and Latinxs)17 are locked up. America imprisons a higher portion of its population than any nation in the world (even more than the apartheid era in South Africa18), a 500 percent rise over the last forty19 years just after the end of the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, circa 80% of the poorest people in America can’t afford legal assistance20.

There has been an ongoing disparity. Rochester mentioned in his book that less than 2% of Black Americans occupy the highest paid careers (these jobs offer the best benefits in terms of pension funds and health insurance). The author calculated that Black America has $1.52 trillion less in business & consumer income. Shawn Rochester not only emphasizes the astonishing cost of the discrimination that African Americans currently face, but also depicts the immense price of past prejudice to enlighten why after 400 years Black Americans own only about 2% of the U.S. wealth. During the Jim Crow era, African-Americans were more poor and because of segregation in housing21 (until 1948 it was legal to forbid Blacks to buy homes in White neighborhoods and racially restrictive convenants were allowed by the mainstream until the Fair Housing Act made this practice unlawful in 196822), their homes were worth less. This made the transfer of generational wealth more difficult or next to impossible. Ironically, Blacks are generating a lot of profits as consumers while owning few businesses and as working prisoners given that many are overrepresented in the industrial jail complexes23: often a consequence of poor education received since their formative years in substandard schools which failed to prepare them for the workplace, along with limited access to privileges and connections like their elite counterparts are among numerous other systemic obstacles. Many people of color who went to prison cannot participate in the economy when they have been released; this phenomenon also has a great impact on the GDP. Other rights are removed like voting or having access to public housing. The prison system is viewed by some as modern slavery which is still allowed through the 13th amendment of the American constitution. A social, political, economic and legal control has been used on Blacks for centuries where many of which have benefited from an almost absolute carte-blanche.

The author pronounced a powerful quote from Einstein (who had an FBI file) in one of his speeches: "The worst disease under which the society of our nation suffers, is in my opinion, the treatment of the Negro". Einstein was Jewish and there is a significant African proverb that I will paraphrase: When someone talks against a Jew, pay attention because he is also talking about you.

The Black Tax is vast in scope. For example, there are Black employees who lose their jobs if they complain for psychological harassment, discrimination practices such as pay inequalities, difficult and/or dangerous conditions. Some employers even churn out an informal Black list as retribution to prevent their targets from finding other work.
The difficult working conditions have occurred for a long time. If Black parents have night shifts, their children are left alone, some become delinquents by associating themselves with the wrong people, others become drug addicts, this is what happened with Charlie Parker who was left alone while his mother had to work during the evening since his teenage years.

As pointed out, Black teachers did not have the same salary like White counterparts during the segregation era which allowed White teachers to accumulate more wealth. Rochester talked about this at Google in 2018. Trillions of dollars were lost in the wage gap. This phenomenon happened in many fields and in many parts of the world. In Brazil (the last country in the American continent which abolished slavery and a nation that is home to the largest descendants of the African diaspora): the consequences are still visible. For instance, MS Magazine wrote in 2010 that ''Dark skinned Brazilians make up 63% of the poorest sectors of Brazil ''24.

More than 280 000 patents would have been created, according to Rochester, if Black Americans had been fully incorporated into the nation’s innovation system during the Jim Crow period. American society as a whole has over $9 trillion less in wealth because of this level of exclusion. In other words, the Black tax makes the African-American community and the U.S. as a whole poorer. At Google, the author said the Black-White income gap during the Jim Crow period could be reduced by up to 50% if Black children had been educated equally while the other forms of discrimination continued to exist. Unfortunately, it is a worldwide phenomenon: more than 800 million people on the global stage are functional illiterates.

Again, the Black Tax concerns different areas of life: health25, education, the justice system, housing, employment, higher interests rates for cars, and so forth. It also means receiving lower quality advice and services. In the Primetime Live with the host Diane Sawyer video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XprcqeZ5-E26 it was clearly shown that the African-American man had to wait longer to be served in the store. Housing discrimination manifests itself with higher rents for Blacks regardless of the neighborhood, slow repairs and higher interests rates for mortgages. This type of pervasive abuse, exploitation (with transgenerational collective trauma27) and chronic/toxic stress, as mentioned earlier affects the spiritual, physical and/or mental health of Black people in the long term, which demonstrably had had shorter life expectancy in America28.

Shawn Rochester exposes the Black tax issue in a quantitative way, along with its grave implications. He analyses historical events such as slavery with an economic perspective instead of the qualitative manner that has been widely discussed. It has been estimated that up to $50 trillion of wages have been stolen through slavery. The transfer of generational wealth has been impossible to do for the majority of Black America.

As stated, the Black tax comes in many forms: the pressure to always represent the entire group positively; by having to deter stereotypes in all settings: in school, in the workplace, etc. There are Black employees who encounter psychological violence in the workplace, some employers build a case against Black workers to get them fired, others make discriminatory or unjustified/arbitrary complaints (while fabricating incriminating situations) under the guise of so-called incompetence to the professional boards, and so forth. This is another form of Black tax.

In 2006, A University of Georgia study declared that ''A light-skinned Black male with a bachelor's degree and typical work experience was preferred over a dark-skinned Black male with an MBA and past managerial positions''. This issue was presented by Matthew Harrison, a doctoral student at the time. This is an ongoing problem called colorism (rooted since slavery) and has its impact with the Black tax.

As indicated by investopedia.com29, between 1888 and 1934, more than 134 Black-owned banks were founded. Now, there are 44 Black financial institutions. This diminution had a great impact on African-Americans besides other events like the massive destruction of the 1921 Black Wall Street30 (arguably, America’s first domestic terrorist bombarded on its own soil) in Tulsa31. Last June, during the commemoration of the event, there were three remaining survivors of the massacre. President Biden was present and made a speech.

It was only decades ago there was the first and sole Black Wall Street firm founded by Travers Bell (the late father of Darryl M. Bell from the sitcom A Different World). At the end of the 1980s, the late Reginald Lewis (a jurist with a Harvard degree in law) became the first African-American billion-dollar dealmaker in U.S. history and the first Black part of the Fortune 500. He was called by some people, the Jackie Robinson of Wall Street. For many years Blacks were excluded from participating in America’s capitalism. Few African-Americans are part of the board of directors of the biggest American enterprises.

As mentioned, Black America meets difficulty to create generational wealth including among the wealthiest ones where it was reported in the media that some did not have a will (for instance amid certain Black celebrities).

According to the Urban Institution, the Black homeownership rate was the lowest among all of America in 2017 with a percentage of 41.832. The average Black homes in America possess one-third of the net financial worth of the average of White homes, the average Latinxs household has one-eleventh33.

In every field there is a gap in terms of salaries even when we look among the billionaires there are much more billionaires in the mainstream compared to African-Americans. Rochester mentioned that researchers have forecasted that if Black students had received equal resources and opportunities during the Jim Crow period, the wage difference could have been reduced by up to 50%. His latest book reminds us that the socio-economic situation and the history of African-Americans are very peculiar. Meaning, specific and systemic solutions are required. Given that the Black tax problem is systemic and structural, remedies are mandatory in terms of programs, policies, legislations and so on. To paraphrase Gunnar Myrdal: «The way Black people are treated is America's biggest and most striking scandal». In any field, successful Black person is viewed as a Half-god because of the insurmountable odds: that nothing comes easy for them.

Racism is metaphorically a game of chess, a system of power and indoctrination. If, some people oppose it, retaliations can happen. Recently, a White teacher was fired in America for talking about White privilege in his classroom34 (we would live in a better society if apathy, indifference or denial was not encouraged but White antiracists like John Brown and the structural analysis of oppression (including internalized subjugation and intersections) with the history of BIPOC communities were taught in schools).. It raises questions that at least one U.S. president who promoted full rights of citizenship for Blacks during his inauguration speech got killed later. This was the case of James Garfield35.

Rochester defines the Black tax as the economic cost of anti-Black discrimination. Albert Einstein referred to this at a Convention on September 16th 1946 at the National Urban League: ''[...] we must make every effort [to insure] that the past injustice, violence and economic discrimination will be made known to the people. The taboo, the lets not talk about it must be broken.'' It is important to note that Einstein was not solely a scientist as he is often portrayed but he was also an activist who was concerned about social justice. The Black tax is a violation of human rights at an international level.

Rochester's book is very important because it reminds readers that so far general solutions were applied to African-Americans in spite of their specific problems. They were historically targeted with systemic barriers during slavery, Jim Crow and post-Jim Crow eras. Therefore, unique and concrete solutions are required by avoiding simplifying or over-simplifying the issues. Other groups in the U.S. had a different history with other challenges. Black Americans went through systematic and distinctive injustices for hundreds of years which created an ongoing wealth gap with the mainstream. Discriminatory practices are done in four major fields: education, housing, healthcare and employment. Blacks were forced to sit in the back of the bus during the segregation era but this phenomenon continued figuratively in many domains. Remnants from this history emerge into the popular phrase: Blacks are often the last hired and the first fired, and more evident during economic crises. For decades the unemployment rate has been at least double for Blacks in America (the only time when they were fully working without pay was during slavery) and elsewhere in Western countries. Hidden unemployment also exists. There is a huge lack of empathy which takes many forms. For example, there are complaints against affirmative action. Tim Wise's aforesaid documentary exposes the reality. It is mentioned that only .25% of college scholarships go to students of color and 99.75% is reserved for the mainstream.

Pursuant to the NCES, there are great disparities between the number of Blacks versus Whites who are part of advanced classes and special education36. There are schools where the exams have numbers on them instead of names to create more equality. Why hasn’t this method been implemented everywhere? There are cases of Blacks students accused of plagiarism because certain teachers believe in the so-called intellectual inferiority of non-Whites37 and have low expectations. Other Blacks kids are being over-disciplined or over-punished in schools via suspensions, expulsions, criminalization, etc38. The hidden agenda is to exclude them from the educational system and later from the job market. This shows that whatever the age, Blacks suffer from Black tax. If teachers did not know who they were grading these grave situations would not occur. The Black Tax is unfortunately wide and touches many areas of life.

Mass propaganda often narrates a one-dimensional view of Black people and further perpetuates another form of collective brainwashing. Hence, negative and pervasive propaganda of Black stereotypes in the media provokes another type of Black Tax. In several Hollywood movies and in music the n* word with the b* word (for African-American women) are often overused—Malcolm X39, understanding the importance of image, used to say that Black females were the most disrespected women in America. In multiple movies there is a tendency to show Blacks killing each other, to exacerbate dysfunctions among Black families or couples, and so forth. The implicit biases against Blacks and their persistent and insidious misrepresentations create wide impacts such as lack of promotions. Consequently this phenomenon can produce more unemployment and even extrajudicial crimes (for example, there are Whites who have committed crimes and accused Blacks like the well-known racial hoax of Susan Smith40) including unjustified imprisonment such as the Central Park Five case, or more recently the cause of Kalief Browder where Netflix created a miniseries based on his story (Netflix also did a miniseries about the Central Park Five case). Not every state in America offer compensation for wrongful imprisonments and the amount varies.

There have been suspicious audits of Black celebrities by Uncle Sam since at least Joe Louis41’era42 in the 1950s43. Historically, in the U.S. most Blacks who were lynched were entrepreneurs like Thomas Moss in Memphis at the end of the 19th century44. Sam Cooke’s recent Netflix documentary raises questions concerning the official story of his murder. Cooke before his death was becoming one of the most successful economic independent artists in the music industry. Dr. Bill and Dr. Camille Cosby were audited four times in one year after being placed on Nixon enemies list because they rejected a number of the president’s requests45 (several well-known Black individuals had FBI files whether they were militant or not: Jackie Robinson46, etc. Leery scandals occurred too many times historically to make Black celebrities fall). The authoress Brown47 denounced how the American tax system was built it prevented especially Black couples and Black families to accumulate capital and create intergenerational wealth.

There have been reports in some workplace in the U.S., nooses were found in the office of Black Americans. Hence, some Blacks have and are experiencing racialized violence at work .This can affect their physical and/or mental health with economical consequences if they get unjustly fired or have no choice to quit for preserving their well-being. This is another example of the Black tax. Several tactics are harnessed to prevent certain groups from gaining greater economic power: for instance by making sure that certain employees do not own stocks for the company they work for. Many Black Americans are not being promoted because of glass ceiling even if they are qualified.  They can even be discriminated for their appearance.  For instance, in 2020 the California state had to pass the CROWN Act to legally prohibit people who punish individuals for having braids, locs, etc. considered by them as unprofessional.

In brief, Shawn D. Rochester is the CEO of Good Steward LLC (GSL) and the founder of PHD Enterprises, and the IDEA Institute. These companies give financial education and advisory services to consumers, boost the presence of Black employees and enterprises in US public and private sectors payroll. They distribute chains, and ease commerce between the Black business community across the African Diaspora and on the African continent.

Since 2005, Rochester and his wife, worked with an organization that provided more than $2 million to Black high school students pursuing a college education. It is important for the entrepreneur to be proactive. He believes that it is essential to utilize high quality Black service providers when possible for example: Mr. Rochester and his spouse used a Black real estate agent who helped them buy a house, and they purchased their cars from a Black auto-dealer, etc. The author lives with his wife and children in the U.S. He has spoken at many venues: the UN, at Google, Silicon Valley and Wall Street. His speeches in universities are always very informative. Below is his first exclusive Canadian interview.

P.T. How do you define the Black tax? When and how did you become aware of this grave issue? In addition, please talk to us about your research process for your book.

C.R. The Black tax is the financial cost of discrimination against Black people driven by unconscious or conscious biases from people, institutions or organizations. I always was aware of the issue that there is something different about how you are treated and how it can show up economically. People often have great difficulty articulating this problem to others. They speak about it more in terms of feelings and passions. In other words, they explain it from a qualitative perspective to others who are not experiencing it or who think that this does not exist. Some folks think that we are exaggerating or overstating the issue. So, I wanted to approach things differently. I sought to look at it from the perspective of what is the economic cost of discrimination against Black people and more importantly what does research from the finest institutions in the country say that that cost is. My approach was to take a quantitative look with facts instead of a qualitative, or emotional approach. One can always agree to disagree with qualitative things but with data that demonstrates the economic impacts the conversation will be very different. So, in my research process I focused on the facts. I examined to what extent it existed and still is an ongoing issue. I researched industries related to wealth accumulation linked to Blacks, information on the level of anti-Black biases because it is important to understand the context behind this. I studied also throughout the time to see how all of this evolved. Different time periods of discriminatory policies and practices were analyzed via the financial consequences. This gave a cumulative view throughout a long period of time. This tells a truly powerful story about what transpired and it shifts the paradigm. It transforms how people see things because some did not know. There is a lot of passion out there with very little context and even less information.

P. T. Please, talk to us about the financial costs of discrimination.

C.R. There are 6 million jobs and 1.4 million businesses missing with staff in the Black community. Homeownership is very important and an integral part of the American dream. It is of course a crucial part of wealth accumulation. I think real estate represents about 64% of the wealth portfolio for a typical Black family. The data shows that you will take a longer time to find a home. You will be told about fewer homes than the mainstream and in fact you will be shown around less than 20%. This will utilize more of your time that you could use to do other things. It gives you fewer hours to work, it may cause you to spend less time with your family members, along with a reduced availability to be involved in organizations, etc. With regard to credit scores, something that you definitely need to buy a home, research indicates that if you have a Black sounding name, you might be treated as if your credit score is 71 points lower than it actually is. This represents a huge margin when it comes to credit scores in the U.S. Black homeowners are more likely to get a higher interest rate compared to their White peers who have the same credit profile and they also get higher denial rates compared to their White peers with the same credit profile. Usually a mortgage is 30 years in terms of duration. It means that during this period, Black homeowners are paying much more which can be over $100 000 in a 30 year period. This reduces intergenerational wealth transfer in the Black community. It also prevents these adults from investing in education, in businesses, in owning other homes or upgrading them and has consequences for access to healthcare quality. It can interfere with the ability to move into a different area with more resources, etc. Overtime, the impacts of discriminatory practices have huge negative outcomes on Black families, the community as a whole and the entire country by reducing commerce and so on.

P.T. How much money annually the U.S is losing by not fully using the human capital of Black America? In other words, what would the GNP be?

C.R.  If we look at the economic cost of excluding Black intelligence, talent, skill and creativity in the innovative system from 1865 to 1950 (during the main period of Jim Crow) the impact of the exclusion cost the nation about 2 trillion dollars in GDP per year. Less than 2% of SBA (small business administration) goes to Black enterprises.
If Black people had been included in the innovation process, the national wealth would be much larger. Discrimination reduces commerce. It makes the pie smaller. So, it is not a question of a charitable mindset. It goes way beyond a moral issue. Economically, everyone is harmed with this prejudicial behavior.

P.T. Your book focuses on African-Americans and the costs of tax. What about the foreign-born Blacks? Are they doing better in America?

C.R. The book focuses on Black people in America. The foreign-born are doing better on average and they do of course experience the current Black tax. They did not however experience the historical cost here in America.

P.T. I would be precise about something. It depends where they come from because slavery occurred in the entire American continent. For instance, Blacks from the West Indies have also ancestors who were slaves. There are similarities in the historical cost.

C.R. I really wanted in my book to focus on the tax that occurred here in America for centuries. Black immigrants like me are new, most of us started to arrive in the mid-sixties via the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. People from the Caribbean, South America and Africa do experience the Black tax. The perception is not based on where you are from but on what you look like. However, they did not experience The Black Tax in America for 400 years. Black people around the world are generally victims of the devastating impacts of slavery or colonization with perhaps the exception of Ethiopia on the African continent. While economic cost of anti-black discrimination is a global phenomenon, I focused on the impact in America

P.T. How do you explain that foreign-born Blacks are doing better?

C.R. Let’s start with more precise information. I think the business ownership rate of Black immigrants is around 5% compared to 2% of African-Americans. So, there is a higher business ownership rate among the first group. These business people still deal with anti-Black discrimination but immigrants in general tend to have a difference mindset than the whole population. It takes a certain mindset to leave where you are, to come into a new place and to set up roots. Whatever the race or nationality, we observe that the first generation is very productive and unique in the level of energy or passion that goes into work and education. This mindset tends to fall off by the third generation and they start to act like just any regular Americans. It can be a great advantage to go somewhere new with a lot of opportunities while be largely unburdened by the legacy of that place.

P.T. Is it also because in the U.S. immigration legislation they make sure to choose as much as possible the elite from other countries?

C.R. This is not necessarily the case for immigrants of African descent but concerns more immigrants from southeast Asia for example via HB-1 visa program.

P.T. African-American moguls such as Berry Gordy, John H. Johnson48 and Daymond John all started their companies thanks to the financial support of at least one family member. The same phenomenon occurred in other realms. For instance, Spike Lee’s grandmother (a retired art teacher) financed his first films with her social security checks. Do you think every Black family should create their own bank? If so, why?

C.R. I don’t agree with that. If you take a look at the current financial definition of what a bank is, it would be counterproductive for every family of any race to have their own bank. If you have resources that you can invest in yourself and in other members of your families or friends network, this would definitely be beneficial. To have more business formation, you need more capital. Having savings and excess capital are critically important. Bank financing in general can certainly help more families to grow their enterprises.

P.T. Because of discrimination the three moguls that I named could not easily get the support of banks. So, what are the solutions?

C.R. This is an enormous problem and it is far bigger than these three individuals. When you form a business, the first big portion of investment comes from the individual. The next amount usually comes from friends and family. There is a massive difference in start-up capital between the mainstream households and Black households. Black Americans only possess about 2% of the U.S wealth. So, this group is extremely undercapitalized. I think the Saint-Louis Federal Reserve report stated that the typical Black family had $200 disposable liquid assets. If the resources are so limited, it will be very difficult to fund start-ups whatever the level of intelligence, experience, talent, energy, passion, determination and so on. There is an enormous capital gap. So, individuals must have more access to capital to form businesses. Putting more money in Black financial institutions that serve disadvantaged communities is crucial. You also need a better environment. Many Black people are dealing with high rates of underemployment (i.e. where you are engaged in activities below your skill set) and unemployment. These situations make it extremely difficult to accumulate resources. So, it is important to focus on the jobs gap and making sure that people get higher salaries to sustain their families. This can help to eventually create intergenerational income. Right now, the gaps are so large that there is not a unique solution but rather a compendium of solutions that must be applied in concert over a sustained period of time to begin to close these disparities.

P.T. You went to high schools, etc. to talk about The Black Tax. How diverse are your readers regarding your last book?

C.R. I don’t have exact numbers but the group is very diverse. I noticed that I receive a similar response regardless of the individual, such as a CEO or a layperson on the street, whether it is a White, Black or Asian human being. For Black people, it is often a confirmation of what they know and are sensing but is difficult to articulate, especially when they are dealing with people who feel comfortable telling them how to interpret their experience. Often people who are outside of this group have no idea of the enormity or extent of current and past anti-Black discrimination. This information is not in the curriculum at the primary secondary or collegiate level nor is being conveyed in the media. They are only exposed to what they see, hear in their environments and what they are shown in the media which serve to affirm their beliefs as opposed to enhancing their understanding.

P.T. How has your book been received so far by the public?

C.R. It has been well-received. Usually people say that it is powerful, transformative, eye-opening and extraordinary. I hear these comments from regular individuals and people in power with authority. It often has a big impact on them.

P.T. Studies stated that the average lifespan of the dollar is about 28 days in Asian communities, 19 days in Jewish communities, 17 days in White communities and only six hours in Black communities. How was it for Blacks during the segregation era? What solutions do you see to reverse the current situation? In other words, how Black America can create its own economic engine and how can the Black dollar stay longer in its community?

C.R. [Silence] I don’t know how long the Black dollar stayed in the community during the segregation era. I have not even seen how people calculate these numbers. However, what these numbers show is economic affinity People do business with each other from a race or ethnic perspective. We can observe more of that in other communities which have more resources to circulate and a greater infrastructure to distribute those resources. When Black people in America would build communities with robust African-American businesses infrastructures those communities would be destroyed by mob violence from surrounding White communities, like Black Wall street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The destruction of these communities and their business infrastructure helps to explain why our money leaves the African-America community so quickly. Not having that economic structure explains why our money goes so quickly out of the community. Note that only about 2% of our economic income (over 1.2 trillion) goes to Black enterprises. African-Americans did not have the opportunity to create and maintain a vibrant financial system. During the era of segregation, there were enormous economic pressures on African-American consumers because of tremendous discriminatory practices in the workplace. They were forced to work on the lowest paying jobs that existed. If you starve Black consumers and you make it very difficult for Black companies to trade outside of the community then you are limiting the economic growth that can occur.

In terms of solutions, it will take an ecosystem approach that resolves the jobs gap, makes capital available and affordable across the Black community for businesses and consumers. Policies, plans and programs must be directly stimulated to create these outcomes in the African-American community. Generalized solutions are unlikely to be effective.

P.T. You established a framework that African-Americans and other concerned parties can use to eliminate the wealth gap and help create the 6 million jobs and 1.4 million businesses that are missing from the Black community as you mentioned earlier. Can you explain the main points of your plan?

C.R. It is a framework called PHD. It stands for purchase, hire and deposit in ways that create jobs, expand businesses while providing capital in the Black community. The P is about spending, from a consumer perspective we should as much as possible do business with African-American companies. It will stimulate the economy of the community with more hiring, etc. The government, institutions and companies must revise how they use their source of expenses, they should make sure that there are more Black enterprises inside their supply chains. This can have an enormous impact on job creation. The H is about hiring i.e. ensuring proper representation of Black employees across payrolls. Consumers, businesses, governments and institutions also need to put money in Black and other institutions that make capital available and affordable in Black communities. For instance, Netflix decided to put a portion of the cash on their balance sheet into Black financial institutions. With these deposits (the letter D concerns that) the capital is larger and allows these banks to give more lending while being able to hire additional Black managers, etc. It provides leverage on many levels. Equity investments are another aspect to consider.

P.T. What about the fields that Blacks master such as hair care (billions per year it generates) and the music industry?

C.R. We often have a natural affinity for these fields. The fact that few of us are on top of these domains goes back again to capital deficiency. It is a huge problem because you need to be part of the distribution channel as well as the retail sector to gain more control. Again, this requires a significant amount of capital. Other communities tend to have access to this because of historical reasons. These funds hurdles make it very difficult to dominate these industries. I reiterate that the issue of capital is the major factor to have an impact in these fields. We know these sectors are a great place to be but the passion and the know-how that we possess are not enough; access to money is critical.

P.T. I find it weird for instance that Madame CJ Walker became the first self-made female millionaire in America at a time when it was much more harder during the segregation era. In addition, nothing really followed after her in the hair care industry.

C.R. This happened in the beginning of the twentieth century. The case of Walker is very unique and really amazing. It was highly unusual and very difficult to replicate. It was done under duress at a time when lynching occurred. It was a period when people would not do business with Blacks simply because of their race, not because of the quality of products, services and so on. It was a grotesquely anti-Black period where it was almost impossible to build an African-American collective economic infrastructure. As I said earlier Black Wall Street in Tulsa was completely destroyed in the first part of the twentieth century. With just this event, it was very difficult to recover from it. About 10 000 residents became homeless as a result and hundreds died. It was covered up. This era was far from being egalitarian: Blacks did not have access to capital and the market was not free for them. This context matters and destroys the myth of equality between groups of people. Other groups benefited from massive government giveaways that allowed them to create businesses, to afford homes, to send their children to the best schools, etc. Blacks were largely excluded from this during a long period of time. This is what my book brings, it gives a contextual perspective. Blacks could be killed in their pursuits of the American Dream. You could be murdered for being bold and courageous especially in the South. The environment was not conducive. In spite of these extremely difficult obstacles, some people managed to emerge but the system did not allow us to thrive collectively.

P.T. Oseola McCarty was an African washerwoman who worked until her seventies and never had a salary above $10 an hour. She managed to save about $150 000 that she gave to the University of Southern Mississippi. She was praised by the former U.S. president Clinton and many others. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal. Some people think that to accumulate wealth it is not necessarily a question of how much money you make but about the ability to make a budget, use your money wisely, make good investments, learn how to make passive income and so on. What is your opinion about this?

C.R. It is both about how much you make and how much you keep. Black people experienced trillions of dollars discriminatory impacts on the workforce, etc. So the gap between what Blacks earned and what they should have made is enormous. You can’t make that up by saving. In addition, I believe it is important to be careful picking outliers who by definition are not representative of the group and are difficult to repeat, as examples to be emulated by the masses. Some would call this survivorship bias regarding people who appear to win. The typical Black family makes $37 000 a year. This median income represents a small number. Among African-Americans, some are extremely wealthy by Black standards but they are rare compared to some other groups. Often outliers cannot be replicated but the opportunities of other certain groups can be much more multiplied. Wealth makes the probability of success higher. Dearth of wealth does the opposite. This matters a lot. Frequently Blacks who collectively lack wealth are told to imitate trailblazers and other communities who have much greater financial resources. This is extremely difficult to do. How many Jay Zs are out there? On another level, we are missing about 352 000 Black teachers that would represent an annual income of $20 billion dollars. It is more realistic to produce new Black teachers than Jay Zs or other billionaires like Elon Musk. The issue is about what the average of the group looks like.

P.T. I like to play the devil’s advocate [laughs] because there are people who will tell Blacks to just put their bootstraps.

C.R. I get it and those positions are uninformed. With the absence of information, nonsense makes perfect sense. This is what I cover in my book. You gave away 246 million acres to Europeans who sat on it for five years and took possession of it. You guaranteed the loans of American homeowners so that banks will lower the interest rates, decrease the down payment, extend the payment for thirty years. The rules were applied differently to Black Americans. Were those bootstraps? There are schools which did and will not admit Black children regardless of their intellectual abilities, their skills and their test results. Is that a bootstrap? The list goes on and on.

P.T. Residential segregation still exists and often the success of an individual depends on his/her zip code. It starts with the kind of schools he/she could attend since his/her formative years. Every kid should be allowed to have access to quality education wherever he/she lives. I went to the five continents and unfortunately it is pretty much like that everywhere49. There are more than 800 million people worldwide are functional illiterates.

C.R. Absolutely! Residential segregation exists because of the wealth gap, you can’t live in a well resourced community if you are not able to afford it. If you have access on average to 2% of the capital then your options are quite limited. If the educational system is funded on the value of your home, then the outcome will be unequal. The people least likely to benefit from a high quality education are those who live in communities where the property values are low, and where there is less wealth and resources to finance the schools. You need to have more wealth to go to a better academic institution. When you don’t have a large income, it’s difficult to have economic mobility. For centuries, Blacks did not have access to economic growth while others had. Those who possess 98% of the wealth have much more buying power as those who only have access to 2% even when brilliance, potential, passion, and talent are similar. While brilliance is everywhere, (in Ferguson, Watts, etc…) the resources needed to develop and deploy that brilliance is not. Resources need to be more accessible in all neighborhoods to give people the opportunity to develop and deploy their talents. The pie will be bigger for all of us. It would be beneficial for everybody to work together and accomplish these goals to fix these systemic and chronic problems.


P.T. I thank you for this very interesting interview and we are looking forward to hear about your future projects!

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1 Rochester stated that the value of slaves in 1860 represented between 16% to 20% of America's wealth or its GDP between 1 to 2 years. In today's dollar it would be the equivalent of $15.5 trillion in 2016.
2 ‘’You feel lost, sick at heart before such unmasked hatred, not so much because it threatens you as because it shows humans in such an inhuman light. You see a kind of insanity, something so obscene the very obscenity of it (rather than its threat) terrifies you’’. John Griffin, Black Like Me (1960), p. 53
3 A Promised Land, Barack Obama, 2020, p. 550-551
4 Misogynoir Transformed, Moya Bailey, (2021), p. 6
5 Adrian Piper wrote: ‘’ A legally certifiable black person is disentitled to financial, social, and inheritance benefits [...] ‘’, source; Passing for White, Passing for Black (1991) p. 15
6 Regardless of talents, many don’t have opportunities or other opportunities. For instance, the late African-American actress Michelle Thomas worked as a saleswoman. She worked far from LA to avoid public embarrassment. Here is another example of the Black Tax: Five southern states in the U.S. do not have a minimum wage, there are states where many of the citizens are Black.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnes_v._Train
8 All the bail money represented a waste for African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. Blacks had to pay to fight for their basic rights throughout this period which definitely prevent them from accumulating wealth.
9 Source: OAAU Founding Rally (June 28, 1964). Malcolm X also wanted to bring the case of human violations against Blacks in the U.S. to the U.N.
10 https://www.equityinhighered.org/resources/ideas-and-insights/student-debt-the-unique-circumstances-of-african-american-students/
11 The Whiteness of Wealth, p. 216
12 The commission shall pinpoint (1) the role of the federal and state governments in sustaining the institution of slavery, (2) types of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) enduring negative impacts of slavery on living African Americans and society.
13 Source: The Color of Money, Mehrsa Baradaran, 2017, p. 4
14 Source : https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-08-28-why-america-needs-more-black-male-teachers
15 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigford_v._Glickman
16 Source : https://news.law.fordham.edu/jcfl/2018/12/09/the-american-prison-system-its-just-business/
17 https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html
18 https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2014/dec/11/nicholas-kristof/kristof-us-imprisons-blacks-rates-higher-south-afr/
19 Source: American Prison, Shane Bauer, p. 13, 2018
20 Sources: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/committees/minority-trial-lawyer/practice/2017/access-to-justice-mitigating-justice-gap/ and https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/what-legal-aid/unmet-need-legal-aid
21 Nobody was spared in housing discrimination including Black celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr.
22 Source: The Whiteness of Wealth, Dorothy Brown, (2021)p. 67-68
23 Clinton during his presidency in the 90s created a bill that heightened this phenomenon.
24 https://msmagazine.com/2010/03/28/what-can-we-do-about-colorism/
25https://www.amazon.com/Medical-Apartheid-Experimentation-Americans-Colonial/dp/076791547X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=medical+apartheid&;qid=1638725930&s=books&sr=1-1, https://archive.org/details/marketingboozeto0000hack, https://archive.org/details/bliptv-20131011-225804-Africanelements-DNMedicalApartheid623
26 This program showed multiple examples of discrimination and biases through testing legal method via a hidden camera.
27 Some experts even think that a trauma can last for 7 generations
28 Source : https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2017/015.pdf
29 https://www.investopedia.com/black-owned-banks-by-state-5024944
30 The NAACP was created after the 1908 Springfield (Illinois) race riot occurred. There were many deaths including property damages. White businesses perceived as friendly to African-American clients were targeted also.
31 In the past, other events occurred which destroyed the Black economy such as the mismanagement of the Freedman’s Bank (approved legally by president Lincoln in March 1865) that was supposed to help ex-slaves in America. A commission (headed by John Creswell) was created by the congress but at the end, African-Americans got no concrete financial support from the federal government.
32 https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/2019/07/16/black_homeownership_data_talk_slides.pdf p. 4
33 Source: Mediocre, Ljeoma Olvo, p. 4
34 https://www.theroot.com/white-teacher-fired-for-saying-white-privilege-is-real-1848168020
35 First Dads, Joshua Kendall, 2016, p. 3
36 https://nces.ed.gov/programs/raceindicators/indicator_rbd.asp and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/raceindicators/indicator_rce.asp
37 Circa 220, 000 are homeschooled because of institutional racism : https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/the-rise-of-homeschooling-among-black-families/385543/
38 https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B077S49VTT/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&;btkr=1
39 He also denounced how reality could be distorted in the media and affects society for instance at his Aubon Ballroom speech on Dec. 13, 1964) and Harvard Law School Forum on December 16, 1964
40 Mabel Hallam falsely accused a Black man raping her to hide her physical abuse from her husband. This hoax was the origin of the 1908 Springfield (Illinois) riot, one of the most violent in U.S. history
41 He was during his time the greatest heavyweight champion in the world
42 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Louis
43 Tactic intimidations have been used to stop activism historically. For instance, Fannie Lou Hamer received a $9000 of water bill even if there was no running water in her home. Blacks can be overcharged for phone bills, electricity, insurance companies, academic institutions, and so forth. Another case of intimidation was Paul Robeson. He was persecuted for his communist ideas and his passport was revoked.
44 Source: When and Where I Enter, Paula Giddings, Harper Collins ed., 2008
45 O magazine, May-June 2000, p. 222
46 https://www.paperlessarchives.com/robinson.html
47 The Whiteness of Wealth, Dorothy A. Brown (2021), p. 30 
48 Here is another example of discrimination he had to face: when he had to buy the building in Chicago for Ebony magazine he had to ask a White friend to pretend he was the one interested to make the purchase: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1980/09/14/john-h-johnson-from-office-worker-to-millionaire-publishing-mogul/c923cc1f-9224-4f5e-88c2-0e1bed75be8c/.
49 Many Blacks and other minority kids suffer from a poor educational system. This goes against Article 29 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations which has not been ratified by the U.S. Every kid should be allowed to have access to an elite education and it must not be based on their socio-economical class.

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The books are available on https://blacktaxed.com (Shawn Rochester’s official website), amazon.com, .ca, .co.uk.