The Monopoly Analogy

“Think of it as a [Monopoly] game. The rules are the same for everyone, but the hard fact is that you weren’t allowed to play for a while. Now you can play, but because you’re bitter about being excluded you [want] the rules slanted in your favor.” – H.R. in a response to theblacksentinel

The quotation above was lifted from a response by a commenter to theblacksentinel’s article titled, Ron Paul – Racist Babble or Forward Thinking. This correlation is so appropriate that I wish I had thought of it. Regardless, let’s take a look at the board game of Monopoly and how adept it is as an analogy for the economic conditions between the black and white races here in America.

A Monopoly game starts and all the players that are allowed to play are white. Each gets fifteen hundred dollars and each will start from the same place on the board at the very same time. When the game is started each of the white players race around the board to buy up all the property. They buy up all the utilities and the railroads. Each of the white players buy up everything they can. And each time these players pass GO they are anointed with another two hundred dollars. The players exchange properties with each other. They are building up monopolies and they start to build houses and hotels. One of the players collects both utilities. Another player collects all the railroads. All the properties have been bought up and developed so landing on them can be pretty expensive.  But it’s okay because all the players own some kind of property and so money goes back and forth across the board.  The players know that what they pay to someone now will come back to them later.
Now that the board is developed we will allow the black player to come on board. The black player is given fifteen hundred dollars and starts at GO just like everyone else did. However, the black player has no chance to buy any property. The very first place he/she stops at will charge rent to the tune of two hundred dollars. The next time the black player moves cost another three hundred dollars. The next time the black player moves the rent is four hundred dollars. The player will be lucky to make it around the board once without going broke. If the player could just land on the Community Chest and the Chance spots they might be able to get by.

The Community Chest and the Chance represent the black player’s best chance of trying to get anything out of the white players. Hopefully the black player will get one of those cards that says the bank will make an error in the black player’s favor and he/she will get twenty dollars. Whoopty goddamn do! Or maybe the black player will get that card that forces the other players to give fifty dollars each. Without any real property for the other players to land on this will be the best chance the black player could ever have of getting any reciprocity from the other players. The white players call this type of income welfare or a handout and want to get rid of any positive Chance and Community Chest cards that might benefit the black player.

The black player could hole up in the free parking spot for a hot minute. But the white players are just salivating over the black player going broke by landing on their properties. The relief of landing on the free parking is only for a moment. Even Baltic Avenue can send the black player into an economic tailspin that will trigger their financial demise.

And wouldn’t you just know it. Somehow the black player is the one who always seems to land on the Go To Jail spot and has to spend three turns in jail. White players land there as well but somehow they are able to afford the legal bill to pay their way out or to get a pardon or a commuted sentence. All the white players will have a Get Out of Jail Free card waiting to be used. But for many black players the jail represents a reprieve from having to compete in a game that is so stacked against him/her.  The white players continue to go around the board buying and selling with each other while the black player eeks out an existence of just getting by.

But inevitably, the black player will land on a spot that will be financially devastating. With no money and no property to barter the player has no choice but to bow out of the game and hang around with no existence while the white players continue to play. Without the other players agreeing to do something to give the black player an equal footing for the lost time the white players were able to amass wealth and property the black player in the Monopoly game will have little chance at surviving let alone winning the game.

The only problem is that in the reality of here and now, the black community doesn’t really have the choice of just bowing out of the game and existing while the white people continue to play. We still have to obtain food, a place to stay, obtain some kind of medical care, clothing, transportation, and all of the other things that help make life tolerable. The white community that for centuries kept black people from participating now wants the black community to take part as an equal in this game when they have been the benefactors of a colossally huge head start. No one would ever want to play Monopoly under these conditions. But somehow this is supposed to be fair to the real life black player known as the general black community.

It is so true that the abysmal conditions that the black community is going through is just like a Monopoly game. Now that white people have this huge head start they want to let the black community come on in and are surprised when we say this is unfair and we need an adjustment to get our footing as a collective. Yes relatively speaking a handful of black people can make it. But the only blacks that do make it are the ones that find some white person that will give them the chance to show their talent to shoot a hoop or score a touch down or sing a song or swing a club. And when these naturally talented black people succeed they no longer are part of the black community but of the generic dominant society helping to subjugate the remaining black community. The average black person has no real opportunity to gain any equal footing on his/her own. The deck of cards in this game has been stacked too heavily against us.