Recently I heard one of the mayoral candidates speak on his campaign platform. One of the things he mentioned was questioning how he could get manufacturers to return to Chicago.

Over the past 30 years, we have lost a number of jobs that were in the manufacturing arena. Jobs like Brach candy, Ecko, Stuart-Warner and a host of others. Many of those jobs went to China as business model after business model joined in the rush to manufacture in China to sell in America. This has led to the phenomena of ships coming into this country loaded with containers full of goods and returning to China empty. We as Americans have embraced those goods and have contributed to our own economic demise by purchasing those items without impunity. Our unwillingness to boycott items made in China has led to job losses and an American economy no longer based on manufacturing.

The current American economy of consuming without producing has already been the reality in the black community for the past 50 years. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a people who don’t produce are doomed. Many of the social problems plaguing the black community will soon be the problems facing the majority community as what goes on in the black community eventually becomes the reality for mainstream America.

What amazed me in listening to the politician speak was that he and his ilk are all responsible for the current state of the economy in this country. Rather than focus on saving jobs, creating new ones and being innovative, they have spent their time on frivolous measures that haven’t brought about jobs or a growing economy.

But my column today isn’t about critiquing those politicians. Rather as we focus on Christmas and purchasing gifts for that day, where we spend our money is as important as on what we spend our money. There are two types of gifts given for Christmas. One is purchasing items that an individual needs. The other is buying things that the person wants. But no matter the two, as we spend what truly is hard-earned money this Christmas season, trying to buy a Made in America product will be hard but not necessarily impossible.

Thanks to the advances in the internet, finding products that are still made in this country is just a few clicks away. I am grateful for companies like JC Penney catalog and Menards for always highlighting products made in this country. One of the things I am most leery of is food products made in China. Somehow a country with a population of a billion people isn’t on my radar as one that can afford to over produce food to send abroad. Manufacturers have gotten wise to people like myself who look to see where items are produced. So they stamp their product with an innocuous label of Made in PRC. That’s the People Republic of China for those that don’t know.

Lastly, don’t overlook doing your Christmas shopping by supporting local business owners and entrepreneurs. There is a new group in Austin that has been promoting that very idea. I attended their event last month and really like the concept. Basically they want to empower women by having us meet, get to know one another, share information, and in my case they supported me by purchasing my book. The name of the group is SOUL SISTA SOUL and they will meet this Saturday Dec. 4 at 4:30 pm at 1732 N. Meade, 2nd Floor. For more information, call Tammie at 773-981-8813.

www.arlenejones.blogspot.com

Chicago Black Author's Networking event

  • Saturday Dec. 4 at Chez Roué, 5200 W. Chicago. See ad on page 9.