Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce

If you google "Peoria area Chamber of Commerce", you get two choices, The Chamber of Commerce, and the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce. Honestly, at first I thought it had to be a typo, but if you call the number for the Black Chamber of Commerce, you will find that it is a legitimate entity. Now, forgive me if this sounds politically incorrect, but what does the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce do that the Peoria Chamber of Commerce doesn't do? Isn't this discrimination based on race? At the very least its divisive. I just don't get it. Can't we just all get along?


PeoriaIllinoisan said...

I've never understood this, and no-one has been able to explain it to me yet- why are those who scream about racism and discrimination seem to be the the ones practice it?

Anonymous said...

I particularly think it is disturbing, just as I see affirmative action as reverse racism. Another popular group, The Congressional Black Caucus, which is an entirely black political thinktank. The people of Congress seem to think its okay, where it spins out of control. There are all black colleges, whereas people would be outraged at an all-white college. Its congress basically saying that discrimination is okay if you have these seperate my opinion.

Diane Vespa said...

I am willing to be very open-minded about this, and I would love to hear the professional black persons opinion on this organization. Perhaps I am missing something. If there is, please enlighten me. I only seek understanding....

PeoriaIllinoisan said...

Ooops - "the the ones practice it" - That didn't make any sense, but I'm sure you knew what I meant.

Mary said...

Why is having a Black Chamber of Commerce not reverse discrimination?

This is certainly a topic to generate lots of disagreement! I tried to pass, Diane, but couldn’t do it! Although I’m not African American, professional or otherwise, as a mother of two Latino children, I struggle with the concept of racism. Although I can never truly understand racism as a minority does, I hope to continue to learn with an open mind, the roadblocks people of minority races face daily.

Webster’s definition of racism:
1.a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty willing to bet that the Black Chamber would allow a person of any race to join, as would the NAACP, Hispanic Chamber, etc. So in my mind, having such as organization does not fit the definition of racism.

After reviewing the websites of various Black Chamber of Commerce organizations, I find what they are doing as quite remarkable and beneficial to not only the African American community, but to the economy as a whole.

They seem to be committed to economic empowerment of the black community, by providing networking opportunities, developing programs to foster business growth and development and providing information regarding economic development opportunities. Aren’t these key for the entrepreneurial business owner, regardless of race? Is this in any way different than organizations that help women enter and succeed in business? I commend them for working to help those within the African American community succeed! I think that’s the American Dream, isn’t it?

I have a friend who was President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City years ago. He worked hard to provide opportunities to the Latino community and I admired the work he did.

I hope that when my children are adults, there will not be a need for a Hispanic Chamber or a Black Chamber, but that’s a dream! Until then, I hope there will always be folks of the same culture out there ready to mentor the minority.

Now another thought provoking question. I noticed as I typed, we always segment minority races by African-American, Mexican-American, Native-American. How often do we say Anglo-American? Or is it understood the white person is just American? HMMM, not sure that’s not a bit racist!

Diane Vespa said...

I knew when I wrote this post it would generate some discussion, perhaps controversy, but I have never shied away from either, and believe that is how we all grow and understand.

Mary, as you know, our daughter is Latino, but I rarely give thought to her race. In fact, if someone comments on it, it takes me by surprise. Because, the fact is, we live in America, and as Americans, we have endless opportunity. I never check Latino on her school or government forms because it doesn't matter. She is not handicapped or disabled. She is a beautiful smart girl who will make her own way in the world. I don't want her classified as a "woman" or "Latino" or anything else, because she is a person. She doesn't need any additional opportunity beyond what she is already offered just by virtue of the fact that she lives in America and is an American citizen.

Likewise, I have never joined any groups where membership is offered exclusively to women. I would rather be thrown in with the whole pot and fight my way to the top wether I am man or woman, white, brown black or purple skinned. Now when I get older, and need a little help, or if I become mentally or physically disabled, then I would consider joining an organization that would offer the special care required as a result of my handicap.

On a side note, do you know that our boys are at risk? Now that's a whole other topic!

Anonymous said...

The article linked to your site re: boys and their different learning styles is very interesting. As a mother of a male fifteen month old, I am already noticing the vast differences between him and his female counterparts.
I am sure, however, you can argue both sides of this coin. Good stuff!!!