By David Pendered
According to the keynote speaker in a series convened by Atlanta Fed Chairman Raphael Bostic, President Nixon’s playbook to promote the formation of black businesses can be as good a place as any to begin today’s efforts to design policies to combat racism in American capitalism.
Bostic did not respond specifically to this particular point. But in his remarks to close the Federal Reserve’s sixth program in its “Racism and the Economy” series, in the June 2 segment titled “Focus on entrepreneurshipBostic made this observation:
- “A subtle thing has crossed the discussion, but I want to make it more explicit. It is not a partisan issue. A number of speakers noted that in both Republican and Democratic administrations, this issue of entrepreneurship in minority communities has been particularly interesting and important. It is an “everyone” problem. We all need to stick together, move forward and make progress on this. “
Carmen Tapio, a black business owner, saw the disparity with her own eyes. In her presentation, she explained how Omaha’s banks refused to process her Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic, even though she is anything but unknown in her town – Tapio’s peers chose her to chair the Grand Omaha Chamber of Commerce in 2023.
Meanwhile, it was Robert Weems, Jr., a specialist in black affairs history, who suggested reviewing the policies of the Nixon administration. Weems is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.
Weems’ point was not that Nixon’s ideas were particularly elegant. Some have been heavily criticized for dismantling concepts advanced in the Great Society reforms of President Johnson’s administration.
Rather, Nixon’s programs and policies were among the last to result from the civil unrest of the 1960s and were followed by 50 years of relative stagnation, Weems argues. Given the length of time since Nixon fulfilled a 1968 campaign pledge to promote black capitalism, establishing in 1969 the Office of Minority Enterprises, Weems offers the following suggestion in his trial written to accompany his remarks at the seminar, “Making a Way out of No Way: The History of Black Business in America:”
- “The national interest in black business development associated with the first Nixon administration is a vague and distant memory in America today. Yet many African-American enclaves continue to be areas of economic stagnation and underdevelopment.
- “Therefore, in the context where there is nothing new under the sun, contemporary policymakers and entrepreneurs might be well served to revisit some of the substantive dialogues and action plans generated a half ago. century.
Carmen Tapio highlighted the lived reality of structural inequality and racism in the market. She was unable to get a bank to process her paycheck protection program loan in 2020 for her then successful five-year-old business and staff of 425 employees.
Tapio is the founder of Nebraska’s largest black-owned company, North End Teleservices. It provides call center services for state, federal and commercial customers. She told the seminar that her personal credit score was perfect of 850. Tapio is both the new president (2023) of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and a member appointed in 2021 to the branch board. of Omaha from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, according to its profile released by the Kansas City Fed.
Despite these credentials, Tapio could not find a bank to process his PPP loan during the pandemic. Even the institution she has used for 32 years for her personal banking needs has rejected her, she said.
“I got a pat on the head, ‘I love what you do. Love what you do in the community. But we will process the loans from our large customers who have existing banking relationships with us, (A) or (B), lines of credit, ”Tapia said.
This year, when Tapia applied for a $ 10.00 line of credit with this 32-year banking relationship, she said it was summarily refused without explanation. Tapio did not stop there:
- “The problem has reached the top of the organization. Conversations unfold around her. And a lot of excuses.
Note to readers: “Racism and the Economy” is a landmark 11-part series started by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Boston and Minneapolis and now sponsored by the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic spoke at all six events, including the kickoff presentation and discussions on jobs, education, housing, economics and, June 2, entrepreneurship. To view past seminars and learn more about the series, Click here.