Why I will never talk about race again and neither should you*

Laquan McDonald protest in Chicago

*Unless you have a concrete plan to end the racism and/or micro-aggression you’re experiencing. 

  1. I had to put this upfront because someone will read this headline and start penning the following great American essay about an obscure Black writer 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 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. 

Don’t talk about racism unless you have a plan.

Planning is the key to ending racism. The following will only soothe your ego:

  • Wailing in the streets. 
  • Making ironic, pitiful slogans (Hands up, don’t shoot. Really?)
  • Protesting in the same city where the law enforcement agents you are protesting earn overtime pay
  • Patronizing local communities where government officials murdered your people and spending money on hotel accommodations, eating at the local restaurants, and stopping off at the neighborhood bookstore before you head home broke and exhausted. Basically boosting the local economy for several days. 

I hate to say this, I hate to break it to you, but our relationship with those in power is transactional. Purchased and sold, our ancestors’ developed the colonizers’ local economy throughout the Western world. The majority of Black ancestors were not refugees, immigrants, or settlers. We were then and are still now commodities. We are not people, citizens, or equals in the eyes of this country and the police, which enforce laws locally or nationwide.

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 ultimately, the impactful social and economic changes I craved did not materialize. Black folks were no step closer to experiencing freedom. Instead, I participated 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. 

Want to take action? Study the University of Missouri protests in 2015. The University responded when the college athletes stood up and refused to make their racist institution any more money off their free labor (sound familiar?). Not when Jonathan Blake bravely went on a hunger strike and not when the faculty walked out. The potential loss of profits produced change. The protestors had leverage and used it to get what they wanted. 

We need to stop talking about racism. Let me speak a little louder for those begging sweet white baby Jesus for deliverance – YOUR 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 at best. So 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. I plan to create an esusu club, bank at Black institutions, and become a socially conscious spender by spending my money with Black businesses. 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. 

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