Thursday, August 7, 2008

MLK would like to help you with a loan

According to the venerable SCLC, Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted black folks to have access to all the subprime credit cards they could handle.

Economic justice, you know? Or not.

In a great bit of reporting from Mother Jones, we learn that a number of civil rights groups have been defending - and shilling for - predatory lenders even as the government tries to crack down on them. Even Al Sharpton is in cahoots with some of these companies.

Said William Jelani Cobb, a history professor at Atlanta's Spelman College: "It's an indictment of how far SCLC has gone from its historic roots. These folks owe their existence to a moral claim to helping other black folks. This is an outright betrayal of that."

Agreed. It's unseemly to suggest Dr. King would have ever backed a system that, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, makes the average payday loan borrower pay about $800 in interest for a $325 loan. Those borrowers are disproportionately clustered in minority neighborhoods, the CRL said in a recent report.

Fortunately, it's been a long time since the SCLC - or Sharpton, for that matter - has truly been relevant. And now it's easy to see why.

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