by S.A. Prince
The other day Isaiah Washington, a black actor on “The 100,” publically took a bold stance on the race relations forefront. He told black America to boycott all businesses for an entire business day, 24 hours of economic rebellion against the system. Like the Montgomery Bus Boycott before it, this boycott is designed to elicit a response from the power structure, a structure many feel is responsible for the systemic oppression of a disenfranchised people.
First and foremost, I respect the actor’s gall to suggest that black America hurl the proverbial smooth stone at a behemoth, racist white oppression. That must be noted. Any black that takes a stance against a societal Goliath that holds nearly 100% of the economic opportunities within its grasp should be respected.
That being said, I am 100% against the boycotting of businesses for 24 hours. Why so short?
Why should blacks only boycott for 24 hours, to which at the end of the allotted time simply go back to economically propping up a system that does not benefit the inner-city and black community? A boycott is a temporary solution to a systemic issue. This should be the beginning of an entire movement to shift our economic dependency as an entire people away from businesses that have no interest in supporting the black community, and the fight against systemic racism (or even admitting that it exists).
We are suffering from the effects of prolonged poverty, effects that much of America could care less about helping to find a solution to fixing. Money doesn’t bounce (meaning it doesn’t stay within and benefit) in the black community, because there are no black businesses. On Friday blacks are paid, and by Saturday all of that money has left the community.
Our relationship with businesses needs to become quid pro quo. If you want black money, then you will have to make a commitment to investing in and with the black community.
The money that was once going to those businesses, businesses like Wal-Mart, Apple, and Applebees, will begin to be funneled to two places. First, is to small businesses within the community. We will spend our money at small businesses in an effort to further cripple large corporations. This will shift the economic landscape of America creating more competition, and decreasing some of the barriers of entry for the black-owned businesses we’re developing.
That brings me to the second area of monetary funneling. Black-owned businesses. The businesses are not only to be black-owned, but also must be within the inner city communities. The money we save as a community should be divvied up into the creation of businesses: law offices, health clinic, construction, co-op stores, private security, credit unions, childcare, adult education, and entertainment. I am missing a few things, but you get the point.
This is the most important part about the boycott: It cannot be individual. An entire black neighborhood must come together as one to boycott. They must combine the money that they save from boycotting, and systematically build up these different areas based on need. If we at any time choose to try to build individually, we will fail, and any movement will be for not. Now is the time to dig our heels in, and begin to lift ourselves out of prolonged poverty.