October 21st, 2010
02:32 PM ET

Debt worse than racism?

African Americans manage to accumulate, on average, less than $75,000 dollars than whites. It's called the "Wealth Gap." Wealth is everything you own of value minus debt. There is a pastor in New Jersey who has made it his mission to help increase African American wealth by 'waging war" on debt in the African American community. He believes "debt is a bigger problem than racism," and that "debt is slavery." His name is Rev. Buster Soaries and he runs First Church of Lincoln Gardens, the church that is the focus of "Almighty Debt."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Church

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Peter Fernandes

    Yes, debt is worse than racism. But debt like racism can be dealt with effectively. Neither is a nails in the coffin condition.

    March 17, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  2. debtmanagementcompanies.co.uk

    I am still in shock at my poor choice of "Raison" as a screen-name.
    But his articles show him to be a reasonable fellow, so I hope he can forgive my lack of awareness

    March 17, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  3. Mark Brown

    I did not really feel sorry for the family who did not pay their mortgage
    for two years (4,000 X 24 = 96,000) and then wanted the banks to
    modify their loan. The mother's daughter is copying her behavior
    by overspending on her monthly cell phone account to the tune
    of 400.00 and she has her step brother pay it. The daughter
    doesn't want to hear about her parent's financial decisions.

    The mother also stated that she wanted to put in a pool
    and tennis courts behind their mcmansion. That is absurd.

    They both could never afford this house to begin with.
    The seem very arrogant and expect to be bailed out for
    the poor choices they unfortuately made. The last
    seen where they left the house in their BMW was
    surreal. They didn't seem to understand how they
    created the situation that they were in. Why not
    sell the BMW and purchase a "beater" and use
    the proceeds from that car sale to lower their
    mortgage debt as a show of good faith to
    the bank lenders. They are nothing more
    than "posers".

    I feel for the pastor but he really shouldn't
    have to help out 50 something adults who
    spend money faster that it's coming in.

    In closing, this is nothing new. I have a friend
    who (along with his wife) purchased a "new"
    house that was built in a subdivision 5 years ago.
    the cost of this newly built home (with cheap
    windows and pine cabinets) was 160,000.

    After he purchased the home, he called me up
    complaining how all of his money was going into
    his home. About three months later, he called me
    up and wanted me to meet his real estate agent.

    He wanted me to purchase a home in his subdivsion.
    I told him that I wasn't in the market to purchase
    a home at that time. I was renting. I began to
    see that he was trying to use me as a referral
    who was purchasing a home in order for him
    to get some sort of financial kickback on his

    We are no longer friends.

    I had another friend who
    is on his second marriage.
    His second wife had a home that
    she was trying to sell in a really
    nice suburb but no one would
    buy it. She was selling it to move
    into her husbands' home with both
    of their kids.

    My fiend called me up and wanted
    me to purchase his wife's home
    that way we could be "neighbors".

    I didn't want to purchase the home
    (100,000) but I did look at it on zillow.com
    just to see it. It was a dump. That's way
    today, he still can not sell it and is now
    renting it out.

    I am not making either story up.
    The point I am trying to make it
    that the banks aren't always the enemy
    sometime people want to live in house
    that they have no way of paying for or maintaining.

    People.... get real!!!!!

    October 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  4. Chris Compton

    Debt is a problem for more than Blacks. But i am glad that someone else see's the problem of debt the same way i do. There is something wrong with this country when you go to college and work for 15 years at 4 different jobs and still have to live with family and nothing to show for it. i have experienced first hand that unless you are willing to go into debt you will never have anything and basically have no real reason to keep living. Debt is a form of control and slavery by those in power for any race.

    October 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  5. Just sayin'

    Great piece Soledad. I watched this program last night & I have some questions/comments for those portrayed in the piece. Why is the woman real estate broker hanging on a house she clearly can't afford? She does not have an income. Her husband job is commission based? Why are they not speaking to their kids about their dire financial situations. That's the perfect opportunity for her kids to learn from their parents' mistakes & to not repeat them. How is her daughter going go to the college of her choice when her folks can't even pay their mortgage? And the VP from the insurance co. You're not going to find another VP position or managerial position soon. So maybe you need to look at Home depot/Ups for opportunities. How much longer is your UI going to last? They need to stop faking the funk. DEBT IS A CHOICE!!!

    October 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  6. He's on target; it's not about race but about class.

    Want to better understand this? Read "Where We Stand: Class Matters" - one of the most eye-opening, amazing books I've ever read.

    Run, don't walk to get it - if you want to start looking at things differently, and help change the world.

    October 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Thanks... I will check it out next time I am in the book store.

      October 24, 2010 at 4:45 am |
  7. Rod Evans

    Buster, you have once again endeared my heart to you. You were a fun and fantastic youth speaker when you came to Raft Rally with us in Central OR, and are still preaching a mean message. Keep up the good work Bro.

    October 22, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Ø    Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his 
         level and beat you with experience.
    Ø    War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
    Ø    The early bird might get the worm, but the second 
         mouse gets the cheese.
    Ø    Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the 
         fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
    Ø    Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

    October 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  9. carol

    this was a awsome feature...we need more leaders like Rev Soaries...i need in all races.. I am a white female wish all our schools and churches had someone like this,..very inspiring

    October 22, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  10. Zeitgeist

    In my opinion, Debt is modern slavery... Even at the national level our own country is owned by the private banks that own the Federal Reserve. Our government borrows money from the Federal Reserve and must pay interest on it. How, if the Federal Reserve is the source of all monies for the US, can the US ever get out of debt? The answer is, we cannot.

    October 22, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  11. Rev. Robert E. Freeman

    I would first lie to thank God for allowing this program to aire. The fact that you have Two very strong and powerful men of God on your stage is awesome. Yet, there were no white leaders present is support of the debt problem. I applude these two leaders and how they are trying to bring attention to our community. To teach and educate the Black person, regardless of age, how to manage debt. Men fail, because of society and color.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Rev. Robert E. Freeman
      You said, "Men fail, because of society and color."
      Could you be any more of an "Uncle Tom"???

      October 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      Nevermind my previous post. Got tunnel vision again. Sorry.

      October 22, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Sum Dude

      LOL!!!!!!!! at your posts above. O.K.. Dude... You have been hangin' around Sweet, yada, yada.. the person formerly known as Frank a bit too much tonight. Plus, your post above is God getting you for laughin' at my head doing a 360 . 🙂

      Maybe time to step away from the key board and get some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's I think I am...

      October 22, 2010 at 7:20 am |
    • Sum Dude

      That sounds like a good idea. As for attributing such a strange result to God as punishment on your behalf, well.....

      October 22, 2010 at 7:32 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Sum Dude

      LOL..!!! Touche...! 🙂

      October 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  12. Jay Williams

    African Americans save less than Caucasian-americans because they earn less, which is a function of socio-economic factors that have been discussed ad infinitum (so I won't repeat them here). However, no one can blame race, religion, color or creed on failure to save money and live within one's means – this is the individual's choice, not a pre-ordained destiny. Therefore, we, as black people, cannot blame our "debt" on anyone else. We have to conquer our debt through responsible personal decisions, which is what Rev. Soaries is trying to tell us.

    October 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tersina Sweitzer

      Very well stated. Each of us is responsible for his or her own actions and need to stop pointing the proverbial finger. When each consumer accepts personal responsibility and deals with his or her own household, then we, as a nation, can begin to heal.

      October 23, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  13. Muneef


    Sorry to realize you are sore from racism but guess racism existed in all ages where nations considering them salves as superior on bases of bloodline or race"Color" or in faith...they were invading and taking weaker nations as slaves on these bases but now it is a bit different with capitalization it is by drowning you in debt..
    Racism is present not only in the multicultural countries only but as well within the one country nation being different as example mountain tribes,hight's tribes,plains tribes and so on they always favor only their own and racism starts when minorty move to the majority area, so you see it is a problem we have to live with by integration with the majority or hind behind the shield of your community as a fearful soul rather than being a Free Soul.
    But we are here are to worry about slavery loss of freedom under heavy debts...

    October 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  14. Mike

    so Racism is a haterate toward a group based not on ethics, beliefs or character but by color alone.

    Debt, with maybe the exception of a house and a car, is a choice. A choice to buy an Ipod 4 before finish paying for the Iphone 3. A choice to pay 2k a year for TV, a choice to assume your ent-itled to the latest and greatest stuff. A choice to pay 14-20% on top of your original purchase.

    Racism still worse.

    October 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Think "Debt worse than racism""Debt is Slavery" ?
    Expect you all are in debt to credit cards and mortgages which means as mentioned before you are slaves to whom ever grant you these debts so even your voting voice is not free for you to give to whom you prefer but owned to who owns you..

    October 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      It is not only the population that is in Debt but even the whole country is so much deep in Dept for many generations ahead to come so in such case do you expect the country leaders are able to be racists or not be slaves to whom the owe the debt to?? You have no free will to decide any thing for your selves.

      October 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  16. Peace2All

    Racism, whether in any form, is not o.k.... And debt should be addressed for all people who are not able to make ends meet. Programs that help people that are financially challenged I applaud.

    And programs that help every 'color' of the human race learn to respect and understand, and perhaps have love for their fellow man.... I also applaud.

    Don't make your decisions of who you want to be around based on the 'color' of their skin.

    October 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • Diane

      Well said.

      October 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Raison


      A good first post. Thanks. Now I will not need to say it with a long treatise on the roots of poverty or something. lol 😛
      Your head sounds better. Did you get that helmet I suggested? haha!

      October 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • Sum Dude (aka Raison)

      @all (hi Peace2All!)

      Having discovered that CNN employs a real person named Dr. Charles Raison, I am changing my name to protect the poor man from being confused by any strange references to my personal postings on this blog.
      My apologies for any confusion. I am still in shock at my poor choice of "Raison" as a screen-name.
      But his articles show him to be a reasonable fellow, so I hope he can forgive my lack of awareness. I do not surf Dr. Gupta's blogs, where Dr. Charles Raison sometimes contributes.....!
      I chose "Raison" as a tribute to a quote from Pascal, whose French is better than mine...lol...go figure..

      October 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Raison d'être "the most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence" "reason for being" Concise Oxford English.

      October 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • carol

      absolutely agree

      October 22, 2010 at 11:11 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.