Last year, US venture capital investors sent nearly $250B to entrepreneurs to back new ideas in everything from biotech to new jewelry. And while Black people account for 14% of the U.S. population and are undeniably among the most thoughtful and creative people on the planet, less than 15%, less than 10%, less than 5%, less than 1% of that enormous sum ($250B) went to Black entrepreneurs. Think about that, each year perhaps $35B that should be going to a Black Mark Zuckerberg or Black Bill Gates or a Black Estée Lauder does not. And so we never see what Black Google looks like or Black AirBnb or Black ChapGPT. Instead, from X's Elon Musk to Fox News' Rupert Murdoch, White men continue to completely dominate the terms of the economy and by extension much of our society -- what we eat, what we learn, what we watch, who gets funded for political office, what is considered fair and a priority in society and on and on.
When a venture capital fund finally came along prepared to put the smallest amount behind Black women and women of color (a mere $26M – about .001% of $250B), a lawyer who had recently taken down affirmative action at universities across the land, immediately filed suit against The Fearless Fund.
Not against all of the funds who refuse to back Black women and men despite our talent and drive and desire to be our own boss. But against one small venture fund who was trying to make a positive dent in the $250B space. That is rich. And that is the norm. Deep vicious racism without a hint of irony. Welcome to Entrepreneuring While Black.
Thankfully, the Fearless Fund is fighting back. But should they really have to? Shouldn't the lawsuit here be against large White venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, Sequoia, and Benchmark that keep redlining Black entrepreneurs and never investing meaningfully and fairly? And/or what about a lawsuit against the pension funds and other groups like Calpers and the Stanford University Endowment that keep giving money to the racist redlining White venture capital firms even as they exclude Black entrepreneurs on a daily basis? Shouldn't the good ole boy White venture capital firms and their White backers be investigated and sanctioned criminally and civilly by the Justice Department for redlining Black entrepreneurs? “You’re fighting a system that’s so ingrained. You just have to be smart. You have to be strategic,” says Angela Miller-May in Institutional Investor.
You notice that none of the White dominated media points this out – New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Guardian, BBC, etc. Instead they treat the suit against Fearless Fund as a legitimate if unfortunate action.
That is part of the problem – the Whiteness of our media means that this kind of consistent and blatant White collar racism against Black entrepreneurs like the Fearless Fund, Robert Smith or Carlos Watson is normalized and never aggressively exposed, covered and forced to change. Same thing happened with all of the White police killings of Black men for years. Silence. No real aggressive coverage or prioritization by the White media. They believed the White police B.S about there not being a systemic problem.
"I think the way it’s being presented is that each one of these incidents is a one-off incident," said television producer Eddie Conway. "When in reality there is an underlining philosophy of White supremacy of all of these particular incidents, and it’s about economics and it’s about the ruling class and how the ruling class is managing to maintain its position in America by divide and conquer. And I think the media doesn’t look at that."
Read more about the brave women at Fearless Fund – and ask yourself how you can help BOLDLY? We and they deserve way more than $26M out of $250B annually? How about the DOJ forcing larger investors to put up $35B next year (and each year for the next 50 years) to back Black entrepreneurs? Why are your representatives in Congress not demanding that alongside money for Ukraine ($75B + counting), Israel ($100B and counting), Silicon Valley Bank bailout ($250B) or others? Support the Fearless Fund. Ask the tough questions. Force real change.
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