In these difficult times, our nation is forced once again to confront racial matters that many of us would prefer to avoid. At Whitemen Capital, the nation’s largest private investment fund in mortgages, health care, and for-profit prisons, we know that there is little we can do to directly address racial inequality, but we believe that we can and must play an important symbolic role in addressing this situation.
Moments like these require the leaders of Whitemen Capital to live up to our longtime motto, “Entitled to everything because we earned it.” And so in recent days, our board has done the hard work of holding Zoom meetings about race relations from our palatial homes. These conversations have been frank and at times uncomfortable — especially the one when our African American member was invited to participate — but they led us to the following discoveries about instances of sub-ideal tolerance in our firm’s proud history.
- The food station in our 35th floor cafeteria that offers savory Southern cuisine has long been labeled “Soul Food”, a designation we now understand might have caused offense.
- Our company founder Josiah Whitemen made his fortune in the African slave trade, put a bounty on the head of Harriet Tubman, and after the Civil War bought sugar plantations in Cuba from which he trained a private army that he hoped would invade Florida and lead a war to reinstate slavery in the United States, a series of actions and investments over four decades that we now understand might have caused offense.
- Three days ago, after one of our properties had a window broken in a protest against police violence, we threatened to sue the city of Philadelphia in a letter that called on the mayor to “use whatever force is necessary to clear the streets of the dangerous thugs that menace real Americans who respect the rule of law”, a statement carefully vetted by dozens of our lawyers that we now understand might have caused offense.
We are proud to have put these incidents behind us, and urge the rest of America to follow our courageous lead. But we have to warn you: it’s not going to be easy to catch up! Over the coming year, we plan to finance almost a dozen college loans on fairly generous terms for underprivileged youth, to finally end the ongoing secret society founded by Josiah Whitemen to reinstitute slavery, and to launch a #WhitemenLead social media campaign, which will feature celebrities in glamorous locations telling the growing ranks of unemployed Americans about the dangers of scapegoating others for their problems.
Whitemen Capital is doing its part to end racism. How about you?