Addressing the FIRE Diversity Critique

The FIRE community has a diversity problem.

I get it. That’s the reason I created this platform. There are ample depictions of Black people suffering, being downtrodden, being financially poor. Part of that is based in reality, a reality created by people who created systems to keep Black people down, so they and their descendents could step back and claim that their hands were clean while racist systems did the dirty work of keeping Black people poor. I rarely see images of successful, self-made, wealthy Black families, and that needs to change. More rare is the ability to follow a Black family’s journey to wealth, from the beginning. This is where I come in. 

I want my daughter to see Black prosperity as normal. I want her to question mindless consumerism. I want her to know how much money I make, I don’t want money to be a foreign concept to her, I want personal finance to be a normal aspect of her upbringing. Joining the FIRE movement has given me the motivation and tools to do just that. 

With this blog, I want Black people to see themselves reflected in this writing. I want to create a space where they feel supported, inspired, and understood. One of the criticisms of FIRE is that it’s a way for the privileged to use their resources to become even more privileged, it’s self serving and does nothing but allow wealthy White people to make their lives more leisurely. Most of the followers of the FIRE community are probably the same demographic as its leaders, White and high income earners. Most also have had legs up along the way, they’ve received unearned financial and societal benefits to make the FIRE path more easy to travel. However, when I read the criticisms of FIRE like those I just mentioned I think “Well if we keep talking about how non-diverse this space is without doing anything to change it, what good does that do?”.

Also, although Black people have had a harder path to travel to experience the successes of other races in America, we have still had immense success. And we continue to climb. Not all Black people are suffering economically. FIRE is not unreasonable for all Black people, or even for the majority of Black people. Many principles of FIRE, such as saving money whenever possible and spending money mindfully, are ideas that most Black people agree with and relate to. My platform is open to all, however I target Black people as my audience because I am committed to bringing these conversations and resources to my people. 

When creating my blog, I was torn about whether or not to have an explicit pro-Black stance, touch on the topic of race, include images of myself, or even disclose that I am Black. I am a very private person by nature. I don’t have social media, so posting pictures from my life isn’t really my thing. Until this point I did not see a purpose in it (besides the self-serving purpose of having people give me praise). Now I have a purpose for putting myself, my image, and my experiences out there for others to consume. I am passionate about eradicating my own ignorance about money. I am done ignoring the topic. 

I want to share what I am learning with other people, and specifically Black people, because I know that this information is life changing. I am sharing my journey with you all from the beginning so that we can reflect and grow together. I also think it’s more relatable to walk alongside someone who is not already leaps and bounds ahead of you. I understand that I have privileges that place me ahead of others financially. I am married, we have dual-incomes, we qualify as an upper income household, I have degrees beyond high school, and I live in the United States of America in the year 2021. I also know that many people can relate to my situation, and that others who don’t can still be inspired to action based on the content I create. I know that where there is a will, there is a way. Privilege is intersectional, and just by having the ability to read this post, you are exercising privilege. We can all use the privileges we have to make our paths easier, while recognizing and overcoming adversities placed upon us. You do not have to be upper income, college educated, or married to become financially independent. Our paths are our own to travel.

I am one month into my FIRE journey, meaning I learned what FIRE is one month ago. I am continuing to learn what it really means for me. Although we may be very different from each other, we can all learn together, grow together, and reach our goals. Let’s get it. 

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