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The Two Missing (Financial) Ingredients to Heal Our Nation's Unrest

By Brian Stoffel - Updated Mar 12, 2021 at 5:17PM

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The pain is coming from the same source. The ingredients to heal, readily available.

The past year has seen vastly different subsections of America voice their displeasure with the status quo. Whether it's those marching in Black Lives Matter demonstrations, or those protesting the results of the presidential election, it feels like we are composed of groups who simply cannot find common ground.

But that's only on the surface level, argues John Hope Bryant -- philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder/CEO of Operation HOPE. In reality, according to Bryant, all these groups have two things in common. In fact, these two missing ingredients are at the core of Bryant's new book, Up From Nothing: The Untold Story of How We (All) Succeed

While investing is part of the solution, it fits within a much broader framework. In this video, recorded on March 1, Motley Fool contributor Brian Stoffel discusses these ideas with Bryant.

Brian Stoffel: One thing I really appreciated that you put in because what you did was you identified two things that were missing and you said the two things that are missing for these three groups is one, the rules aren't published and two, there's not a level playing field. You developed, like you said, some equations to help us out of that. Do you want to walk us through those?

John Hope Bryant: Yeah, I've never drawn this analogy, Brian, in any of my interviews or discussions but you just triggered something in me that I'm going to give you right now for the first time. When you say the rules aren't published and the playing field was not level, where the rules were published in the playing field were level for these three groups were interesting places. For blacks, it was the arts and professional sports and we've killed it. For poor whites, interestingly, it was moonshine running, which we turned into NASCAR as an example of an economy.

Brian Stoffel: I never thought of that.

John Hope Bryant: Yeah, an industry that turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry. It was moonshine running. I'm not exaggerating. Moonshine running is what they did in the Appalachian Mountains and were getting caught and getting killed and they said, this is not sustainable. They flipped it into racing cars on the beach, which turned into racing cars on a track, which turned into NASCAR, which of course now has corporate endorsement and support.

The third group, the native American Indians, you want to call it a success, have a lock on casinos. I believe in all of the three of these cases, we're winning the battle but losing the war. You have a few that have succeeded, a few. But with it did not come a skill set that can be mass-produced and mass-distributed and it produced income but didn't necessarily produce wealth because wealth is a mindset.

None of these three groups, their success changed the very culture of the group in a way that is sustainable. What I mean by that is that look at $20 trillion of GDP in this country and a third is real estate in finance, I don't see that in the history examples [laughs]. A third is healthcare. I don't see that in the history examples. Another almost third are the professions. I mean in other words I'm talking about accountants and lawyers and doctors, and I'm talking about engineers. Then you have some miscellaneous that fills out the rest of it. All three of these groups are involved in the miscellaneous section and oddly enough, Brian, I hadn't thought about this, I might do a special video on this, you just inspired me, it's all entertaining. I hadn't thought about that.

Brian Stoffel: It makes sense that entertaining is something where you would have a level playing field and the rules would be known. We all know what entertains us. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.

John Hope Bryant: No, it's fascinating. You helped me this morning go down deeper into the rabbit hole. I would've gotten here maybe but this is the first, and I've said it here on Motley Fool. It just shows you how much common sense is bulky. I mean, I just love math because it does not have an opinion. We can argue about it, but you're arguing, it's almost like you're hitting your face on my fist, how are you advancing, really?

I would really love for people to have a light bulb go on in their head and go, "Oh my god, this is something I never thought of before, and it's right, not he's right, it's right. We got to do something about this because it's just holding America back by having 80 million, 100 million Americans, who are out of the economic system, who are off the playing field." You're holding the whole country back and we're creating crime, and we're creating dissension. The folks who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, that was repugnant and needs to be prosecuted to the highest standards of the law. It broke my heart.

I also saw 70 years of broken promises, of broken hearts because the industrial revolution walked away from my poor white friends in the 1950s really, and replaced with nothing. Whether you're black and urban, black-and-brown, you're marching for Black Lives Matter and justice reform in the summer 2020, or you were the mob that stormed the Capitol, first time since 1812, that anybody stormed our Capitol, and those were British troops. This is American storming America, this is more dangerous. It's all a protest, and it's all a signal that we need a softer grade and we need it now.

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