Tomorrow (Friday), Rev. Al Sharpton and other Black leaders are asking blacks to participate in a National “Blackout.” They are urging blacks to refrain from spending money at white-owned businesses for one whole day.
But as a Black college student attending an 85-percent white school, I know finding strictly black-owned stores to patronize tomorrow will be quite the battle.
If I want something to drink I go to the CVS at the corner. If I want something to eat I purchase something from our student center. It will be Friday night tomorrow—no going out to student-friendly restaurants because…you guessed it. None of them are owned by black people.
Then I realized something: even if I was not going to a $44,000 (thanks to scholarships!) school, I would still have the same battle.
In my 80-percent Black ‘hood in Jersey, there are virtually no black owned stores. All of the 99 cents stores, nail salons and Chinese restaurants are owned by Asian people, corner stores are owned by South Asian or Latino people, and the remaining franchises (such as McDonald’s, etc.) are probably not owned by a person with African blood.
Although I believe and love the powerful message of sticking it to the man by not supporting his economy, aren’t we also sort of sticking it to ourselves as well?
The outcome, of course, is bigger than the sacrifice.
But how effective will this “Blackout” be? It only lasts for one day. Although that one day could potentially take away $2.3 billion from the American market (as the article linked above said) the market will bounce back from the recession the next day or two when we resume our normal lives. So truly how big is this sacrifice?
This endless cycle of us not being able to control our own destiny is very exhausting (that is surely an understatement). As a whole, Black people simply do not have the money to create a rival to Wal-Mart. We do not even have enough cash to make a little bodega of our own. So we are forced to spend our meager incomes to support non-black-owned businesses while the owners of the businesses continue to oppress us. The owners also keep us from making more money to eventually own our own stores!
But I digress. Tomorrow, when a bag of Doritos lures me into CVS or when I go on a date, I have to remember that my withholding cash is bigger than a bag of chips and a nice dinner.
We’re doing this to make society realize that Black people hold a lot of financial power and that we are willing to take our money elsewhere if we do not see major governmental changes.