Djandywdotcom/Flickr/The Atlantic

Djandywdotcom/Flickr/The Atlantic

Many people have talked about what could happen if Black America became its own country. Aaron McGruder even wrote a comic book about it, titled Birth of a Nation.

Recently on CNN conservative radio talk-show host Larry Elder declared that “if Black America were a country, it would be the 15th-wealthiest country in the world.” Turns out his math was wrong. But after Elder’s remarks, the Republican strategist Ron Christie argued that there is no such thing as “Black America” and, further, that the very notion of it is antithetical “to our national motto of E Pluribus Unum.”

Alright, sure. But given the current state of America and how Black folks are being treated, we can all dream, can’t we?

In an article for The Atlantic, “What If Black America Were a Country”,  by Theodore Johnson, decided to see just how things could look like if Black America were its own country:

Naturally, this exercise presumes a monolithic black America, but this is a standard hazard when comparing large entities using statistical medians and per-capita rates. Another obvious concern is that a sub-national, racial demographic is not equivalent to a sovereign nation. Nearly all the sources of black America’s attributes are grounded in America’s history, economy, geography, and government structures. Still, it is this truism that gives weight to the insight revealed by the following charts: Black America is a fragile state embedded in the greatest superpower the world has ever known.

In the infographics below, two pictures emerge. The first is of a strong nation with considerable manpower and purchasing power. The second is of a troubled, fragile state suffering from socioeconomic disparities and structural subjugation in ways that degrade life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (on some measures, black America resembles countries like Brazil, China, and Russia—emerging powers that are struggling with stark economic inequality). Essentially, what we’re witnessing is a nation that is comparable in certain ways to a regional power existing in the state of Disparistan (or, perhaps, Despairistan). This is more than an inconvenient truth; it fundamentally undermines the United States’ greatest contribution to humanity: the American idea.

The statistics tell the story.



Seems like Black America is truly at a crossroads and that would definitely impact the potential of being its own nation. What do you think?

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  • Me

    i wanna see this broken down by black nations & nations that inherited black slaves. i think we shoot ourselves in the foot by constantly comparing ourselves to non-blacks. we already know that a lot of these stats like unemployment & incarceration are a function of racism in this country, but if you look at black folks in other countries including african countries, how do black stats compare from country to country. that’s when you get to really see what’s what. & then once you can see which countries have the best practices for blacks then you can start addressing the bc about how to work as a real nation. comparing black americans to the rest of the world (that includes other blacks) ain’t worth spit imo cuz it’s nothing to learn from this. at least if we could compare black america to black france, black uk, black nigeria, black ghana, black russia, etc. then we could get some ideas on who’s doing it right & what we can do as a separate “nation” for ourselves & what we can demand from our gov’t to get america to do right by it’s black citizens.

  • Darryl Hines

    The figures do not account for the impact of racism, disenfranchisement and the overall effects of prolonged and institutionalized oppression. The black prison population, for example, would not be a repository for black males who commit low level and non-violent crimes because the justice system would be run by blacks and race would not be a factor in sentencing. Other institutions like education and corporations would not systematically exclude blacks and, therefore, income earning opportunities would be broadened. Productivity and the contributions we made to this country in terms of labor and inventions would be attributed to our own country and the U.S. wouldn’t have been the necessary beneficiary. The premise is an interesting exercise but not grounded in reality because the numbers only speak to current conditions and not how we get there.

  • It’s an idea worthy of serious thought; but, as mentioned, black America is not monolithic. If black people can somehow heal from post traumatic slave syndrome, paternalism and learn to trust each other, a black country may be a possibility. It’s very sad that black people would (and have in the past) entertain(ed) the idea of a separate country when black people have supported white America in every war this country has ever been involved in. “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

  • CoolChic86

    We are a fragile state because black people do not have a big enough tax base to develop and support our own infrastructure. We remain wholly dependent on whites people’s money for everything.