It’s not ideal or lifegiving for anyone to be forced to choose between buying groceries for their family or paying toward a student loan.
As many prepare for 2022, we will again be faced with this predicament, because we have normalized depleting cycles and labeled it as the “American way.” To always borrow and think about the consequences later. To take advantage of people who already face unholy interest rates and long-term materialistic, psychological and spiritual effects.
We have accepted and adapted struggle and continuously pass it down to others. It’s not normal for nearly 45 million people to hold $1.7 trillion in debt. This means there is someone, somewhere, whose joy has been intersected. This means there is someone, somewhere, at the crossroads of their breakthrough from realizing their purpose, but the federal student loan statement on their living room table is at the forefront of their mind and center of their stress.
When people can’t purchase or enjoy a home because of debt, we have a problem. Because a home could be the difference between connecting with the wrong people or suffering through the cold at night.
I posted on Facebook, “Cancel student loan debt for everybody. I’m sure God would approve.” This statement still holds true, because systemic and unholy obstacles consistently amplify the relentless violence student loan debt places on God’s children. Like many things in this world, student debt is not the doing of the borrower and always has been a gender and race continuum.
Black people and people of color are first, second and third place in the triathlon of who owes the most debt. Women hold a significant amount of debt, and Black women carry about 20% more student debt than white women. The decisions of the past and failed public policies are having lasting effects on borrowers today, and just because we signed up for a loan doesn’t make the process moral, just or of God, especially when the Senate approved a $778 billion military budget.
“Black people and people of color are first, second and third place in the triathlon of who owes the most debt.”
There always has been a monopoly on student loan debt. In 1919, an estimated 598,000 people were enrolled in American colleges, mostly wealthy white men. In 1944, the GI Bill was signed, giving veterans the opportunity to go to college for free, an illusion for many Black people who were denied benefits while for-profit colleges received billions of dollars. This cherished program left many veterans with worthless degrees and placed mainly white men on a “wealth building express train.” The undoing of these systemic twists and turns exacerbates the very fact that student loan debt should be forgiven.
The 1958 National Defense Education Act offered scholarships and loans for many who could not afford to attend college. In this same year, Black children in Arkansas were fighting merely to go to school, and many missed the opportunity to explore higher education because of blatant racism and hate.
The primary reason for approving the National Defense Education Act was because of competition with the Soviets, who were making advancements in the space race, and not in response to the cries and development of God’s people. How can a people (not just the golden children) benefit from a bill and also be crushed by local government at the same time?
From the Higher Education Act, to tax and expenditure limitations by Ronald Reagan, we have seen half-baked actions to shift the “American way” and witnessed many gain wealth off the suffering of others. To hold on to ideas and legislation from elected officials who call people from Africa “monkeys” says a lot about priorities.
Signing bills that sound like opportunity without addressing the plight of people will always have long-lasting negative effects. For America, money always has been the motive, not the cultivation and love for humanity, and that’s the real problem.
“If loans are the only way for someone to be ‘successful,’ then there is a problem that should not be celebrated or duplicated.”
We often pray for a world where people want for nothing, where the first shall be last, where all God’s children have something to eat. Well, do you ever wonder why we have to say these prayers? Do you ever wonder why some people have and others don’t? This list of answers is long. Yet one reason for millions of people in America is student loan debt, and it’s time for all of us to join the fight in pressuring President Joe Biden to do the right thing and release the financial pressure millions of people in America experience.
If you don’t believe this is needed, I would like to know your answer to this question: Don’t you think God wants people to be debt free? Your answer probably reveals a lot about yourself that you won’t admit.
Putting in place legislation and laws to lessen financial burdens can indeed help, and continuing to live in systems that have oppressed Black, brown, poor and low-wage workers of various backgrounds, while strengthening the federal government is evil. We are not objects to be controlled to help rich people accumulate more money. It’s also ironic to refuse people the right to get an education and then systematically deny their great grandchildren jobs after graduation.
President Biden, getting rid of student loan debt is the least you can do. Because we are wrapped in webs of lies and unkept graveyards, and enough is enough. They trick us to believe we have to live in debt, and that’s not true. What if we believed our struggles do not have to be the next person’s struggle?
If loans are the only way for someone to be “successful,” then there is a problem that should not be celebrated or duplicated. The system is working as designed. It’s time to get out of it and find another way. Cancel student loan debt — for everyone.
Brittini L. Palmer is a freedom writer, preacher, communications consultant and graduate of Virginia Union University and McAfee School of Theology. Follow her on all social media platforms @BrittiniLPalmer.