Season 1 Episode 6 —” Predators”
These are the true appearance of some of the businesses of that infest economically depressed neighborhoods all across America. Companies that finance unwary and usually uneducated people hoping to enjoy some of the “American pie”. Now there is nothing wrong with a person trying to make money hawking their wares, doing legitimate business in any place. But these companies depend on taking from those that don’t have anything to start with. Loan companies, bail bondsman, car dealers, insurance companies and the list goes on.
Furniture stores are probably the most innocuous, they finance low quality furniture and appliances at exorbitant prices. The customer will pay five times what the item is worth, due to the long term pay out. For example, if a consumer buys a television, at 22.99 a week for 24 months. That calculates to be 2390.96, or 2400.00 for a television that retails roughly 500 cash at any Walmart. If the customer can save his projected weekly payments, he could buy it outright in five to six months, and still have the extended warranty. The rent-to-own predator know exactly what the poor person is looking to buy, in an attempt to elevate himself and make his bleak outlook on life, look better.
Payday loan companies are by far the most predatory of all the Predators in the Black communities. They promise fast cash at unbelievably high interest rates. (On an average of 321%) All you need is a checking account and a source of income to become their willing slave. You can constantly renew your loan, and never get close to paying it off. In the end you will owe far more than you initially borrowed, under the persistent threat of ruining the credit, that you never had in the first place. It is the 21st century version of sharecropping. Usury interest rates are allowed not by our government, but still more and more of these companies pop up every day, and then they sell your information across the web, for even more money! They in essence yell out to the world “Victim Here! Victim Here! Get on the bandwagon, and help us beat him financially to death!”
The high priced food, in a convenience stores are also predatory somewhat, however this is where a person’s personal responsibilities has to take its blame. You don’t have to shop where the prices are traditionally double of what you pay in a grocery store. And they don’t hold you at gunpoint, and rip the money from your pockets. The tobacco companies and alcohol vendors also parade around in business suits, but underneath, they are Predators as well. They have been pushing their poison on Black folks for years. Alcohol’s effects are obvious, but what is not obvious, is why then use such lethal names. Things like “Colt 45” “Silver Thunder”, and “King Cobra” when they just should call it “Nigger Killer” because that is who they designed it for. In truth, it would be simpler to just put a skull and crossbones on the label. A new label might even increase their sales.
As far as the tobacco companies go, the old saying goes, “We used to pick it and now they want us to smoke it?” applies to their dealings with the Black community.
Next time on “As the Ghetto Turns” – Episode 7 Mountains of Hot Brass
We look at the cause and effect of violence in the African American community.