*Unless you have a concrete plan to end the racism and/or micro aggression you’re experiencing.
I had to put this up front because someone will read this headline and start penning the next great American essay about an obscure Black writer who is spouting off some “new Black” nonsense by refusing to “never talk about racism again. So before the hoteps and faux social media activists get their natural curls all sweated out, let me explain.
It’s a waste of time talking about racism. Racism in all its forms: from the white people who will bravely stand over us rather than sit down next to us on public transportation; to the white people who touch our hair without asking and suddenly get offended when we get offended; to the promotion we clearly deserved after training the white person with no experience and barely a college degree to become our new supervisor; to the sanctioned gun violence we experience at the hands of government (the police) and non-government (gangstas) folks, racism comes in all shapes and forms and I refuse to speak on it and neither should you.
Unless you have a plan.
Planning is the key to ending racism. Not crying in the streets; not making ironic, pitiful slogans (Hands up don’t shoot. Really?); not protesting in the same city where the law enforcement agents you are protesting earn overtime pay; not patronizing local communities where government officials murdered your skinfolk and you’re out there spending money on hotel accommodations,eating at the local restaurants, and stopping off at the neighborhood bookstore before you head home broke and exhausted.
I hate to say this, I hate to break it to you, but our relationship with those who are in power, is a transactional one. Our ancestors’ bodies were brought here to boost the colonizers’ local economy. The vast majority of our ancestors were not refugees, immigrants, or settlers. We were then and are still now commodities. We are not people, citizens or equals.
And I understand the desire to protest in the streets, fight with folks on Facebook, pop off on Twitter and get into spirited arguments with family members and friends, I’ve done all these things and more. But in the end, the impactful social and economic changes I craved did not materialize. Black folks were no step closer to experiencing freedom. I found myself participating in hollow exercises, gratifying my ego but not much else. Working at the micro level to end a macro problem such as racism is futile.
Which is why the University of Missouri protests worked. When the college athletes stood up as men and refused to make their racist institution any more money off of their free labor (sound familiar?) then and only then did the University respond. Not when Jonathan Blake bravely went on a hunger strike, and not when the faculty walked out. Only when the profits of those who are threatened is in play does any real change occur.
We need to stop talking about racism. Stop trying to win over hearts and minds and start hijacking the pocketbooks of the powerful.
Powerful whites (PW’s) and their less powerful peers (LPs) do not care about your oppression. Let me speak a little louder for those on their knees asking sweet white baby Jesus for deliverance – YOUT OPPRESSION DOESN’T MATTER. When studies show that 75% of whites have no non-white friends and whites are less likely to empathize with non-whites, trying to appeal to their collective conscience will remain challenging. Instead of praying, hoping, and complaining let’s sit down and devise ways to control how and where we spend, save and invest our money.
Now that the New Year 2016 has started let’s begin investing in one another. My plan is to start an esusu club, bank at Black institutions and become a socially conscious spender by spending my money with Black businesses. This is no small feat. In 2009, Maggie Anderson attempted to Buy Black for an entire year in Chicago, dubbing her journey “The Empowerment Experiment.” She chronicled her heroic efforts in the book “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy.”
Black Lives will matter as soon as Black dollars do.