WELCOME HOME: “CAN I TRUST YOU?”

Can I trust you? You may not have said that lately, but you thought it. You thought it about another person, a family member, a cop, your PO.

Can I trust you? Besides having the most carefully pronounced name in academics, Francis Fukuyama weighed in on this question in a 1995 book called Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. I think of Fukuyama’s book a lot, because he has a whole chapter in it on Blacks and Asians, where he looks at how “trust” supports community economic development. Short version, he says that Blacks don’t trust each other much, mainly because the history of slavery and discrimination in America. He cites how Blacks have to be admonished to buy from each other. That’s why it was big news when hip hop heeded the call of the #BankBlack Challenge. Atlanta rapper/activist Killer Mike generated $800,000 for Citizens Trust Bank when he challenged folks to open accounts ($100 a piece) and 8,000 responded. Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Willie D, and Trae The Truth led Houston rap artists to open accounts at Unity National Bank, the only Black owned bank in Texas.

Can I trust you? That’s what we have in the back of our minds when we come home from a bid, and somebody wants to “help.” Because not everyone who wants to help is someone I can trust. Some people are in it for themselves, whether they want something from you in return, or whether they’re just doing something “good” to feel good about themselves. Then they get played and the game is on.

Can I trust you? Having someone in your life that you trust is a critical factor in successful reentry. Someone who has your best interest at heart. It’s not necessarily someone you trusted before the bid (look where that got you) and repeating the same patterns will have the same result. You need someone that supports you in making the positive changes necessary to be productive. That’s why Fukuyama (say it slowly) ties it to community development. When we build relationships of trust, we can work together, support each other, even bank together. Yeah, that’s in that chapter on Blacks and Asians too, cause that’s how Asians buy up all the stores, through banking together and sharing resources.