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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Abolishing the “Black Tax” is Long Overdue

Today, I had yet another conversation with a client about the unfair expectations of their family members of eternal financial support simply because my client is the most financially stable member of the entire family, known as the “Black Tax”. This is the fourth such conversation I have had this week with clients and friends. Trevor Noah explained the concept of the Black Tax beautifully and acknowledges that his mother, just like mine, gave him the gift of not having to carry this burden.

It is time to seriously look at how the Black community kills the possibility of generational wealth because of the unfair expectation that successful children must look after everyone else till they all die, rather than spend their time building themselves and providing a better foundation for their own children. The mentality that somehow your children, without their knowledge or consent, are your pension plan causes a lot of unnecessary stress and resentment towards the entire family by the person required to pay this tax for simply succeeding. It is important for you to hear the frustration, anger, guilt and despair of your adult children towards your expectations of them. It is backward, it is exploitative, it is wrong and as we approach 2022, it needs to stop.

We are aware that the enduring legacy of the enslavement and genocide of our ancestors manifests in the economic disadvantages of racist policies at the institutional level. There is also a tendency to blame the poor for their poverty without recognition that no one actually chooses to be poor just like no one chooses to be Black in a world that favours whiteness. There is obviously a need for widespread systemic change to make things more equitable for all so this post is not meant to further blame the poor for their situation.

For many people, their only “pension plan” for generations has been to have several children and hope that one or more of them become financially stable enough to look after them when they age. This is one of the more upsetting “points” raised by those who cannot understand my decision to not have children of my own. “Who is going to take care of you when you get old” is a question I am constantly asked by people who are always part of the Black community. The possibility that I would likely have greater financial stability if I do not actually have children never crossed their minds.

The truth is that people who do not have children ARE more financially stable and are more capable of creating their own affluence. There are numerous articles that explain why. This is even more applicable to mothers.

However, specifically to the point about the Black Tax, please remember that your children did not ask to come here, you chose to have them. As the parents, it is YOUR job to give them the best start so that they can do so for their own children. As harsh as it sounds, your children do not actually “owe you” anything for bringing them into the world and keeping them alive. This is reflected in the court system wherein child support, custody etc. are decided upon what is in the best interest of the children involved rather than the parents.

The best thing you can do for your own descendants is to have no more children than you can actually afford to raise. If that number is zero, then you need to make an informed decision about whose needs are actually served by having a child. God and the government are not obligated to provide for your children, you are. Your children are not your wealth. They ceased to be your wealth or cheap labour force the moment we abandoned the subsistence farming days of old. If you know how hard it is to look after yourself, your children and your parents, why would you inflict this same situation on your own children?

What we need to do instead is to encourage our family members to develop some degree of basic financial literacy so they can figure out their own plans towards greater financial stability. We also need to stop shaming people who choose to remain childless themselves as it is none of our business what reproductive choices other people make. We as a community need to develop greater insight into the way things have “always been” and how this is negatively impacting us for generations.

As 2022 approaches, this may be a time to commit to dismantling the Black Tax in our families so that we can finally achieve true freedom.

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