Black Dollar, Black Death
Is our treasure really where our heart is?
Currently, a dollar circulates in the Asian communities for a month, in the Jewish communities approximately 20 days and the white communities for 17 days. How long those a dollar circulate the black community? 6 hours! African American buying power is at $1.1 trillion and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to the black-owned businesses. ~ Black Money Matters Project
On October 10th a charter bus left Asheville, NC full of community members voyaging to Washington, DC for the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. Joining an assembly of one million people of all races and faiths, the demonstrators demanded justice for Black, Latinos, Indigenous and poor people for the ever increasing onslaught of injustices hurled at us by the dominant White supremacist culture of this country. On the ride back home many reflected on the experience and accepted the challenge to boycott the lucrative Christmas industry as a step in addressing the wanton murders of Blacks by the police forces of America, as well as the other injustices that have plagued our communities for generations.
The same appeal is directed to you today! Every African American in Western North Carolina who is serious about redistributing the pain felt through the historic onslaught of violence on Black bodies and systematic means of keeping our communities abased and relegated to nothingness, DO NOT purchase any Christmas gifts, trees, lights, decorations, or holiday cards and DO NOT patronize any online retailer. What money we do spend will be in the way of honoring Jesus and strengthening our family bonds and in support of Black businesses for NECESSARY goods and services.
Consumerism: Modern Day Slavery
Chattel slavery was a legal institution in America, the engine that propelled Europe’s rise to global economic dominance and Europeans’ conquest and settlement of the New World. Young America, too, depended on the enslavement of millions of Black slaves to amass the capital that financed the industrial revolution. From 1770 until 1860, the growth in the number of North American slaves was much greater than for the population of any nation in Europe, and was nearly twice as rapid as that of England.
Slaves imported to the Thirteen colonies/United States by time period:
- 1619-1700 – 21,000
- 1701-1760 – 189,000
- 1761-1770 – 63,000
- 1771-1790 – 56,000
- 1791-1800 – 79,000
- 1801-1810 – 124,000
- 1810-1865 – 51,000
Total – 597,000
However, after slavery Blacks weren’t recognized as valuable to the economic landscape, relegated to near invisibility; petty sharecroppers. Living in mostly rural America, Blacks were isolated from major cities known for their economic market – that is, until the World War I Great Migration of Blacks from the South to the urban North. The aftermath resulted in big and small, Black and White businesses began to take the idea of the Negro market more seriously.
Between 1900 and 1940 an estimated 1.7 million southern Blacks migrated to northern and western cities. Soon the urbanization of Blacks dramatically altered their status of rural, low-wage workers with limited disposable income to viable consumers. They had better jobs, stronger incomes and lived in cities with more goods to purchase.
Urbanization also gave Blacks more opportunities to build professional organizations and networks that promoted their needs as consumers, in my opinion, spurring the hunger for status and credibility within their social circle and acceptance in White culture; a disillusionment resulting in material impulsivity and the beginning of the misdirection of economics.
The Black Dollar Lacks Black Power
While we are all consumers, Blacks are consuming the wrong things. Our materialism is mislead and we fail to realize the great importance of sharing the wealth within our community. Forty-two million Blacks have a spending power amounting to $1.1 trillion, which gives each man, woman, and child an annual spending power of $26,200. But all this and more gets funneled to predominately White retailers and service businesses. A few of these annual expenditures are:
Tobacco $3.3 billion
Whiskey, wine, and beer $3 billion
Non-alcoholic $2.8 billion
Leisure time spending $3.1 billion
Toys, games, and pets $3.5 billion
Telephone services $18.6 billion
Gifts $10 billion
Charitable contributions $17.3 billion
Healthcare $23.6 billion
We are purchasing depreciating commodities that do not provide any future economic support or assets for our families. A Black scholar recently stated that if “Black America were a nation, it would be the 16th richest in the entire world.” but Blacks have taken the art of consumption to a whole new level, so “while they account for nearly a trillion dollars, principally, it does not recycle.” said a conservative radio talk-show host, Larry Elder during a debate with a CNN contributor October of last year.
If we were buying assets with this $1 trillion dollar in annual spending, or supporting our fellow black business owners, then our community would be in a great position. But we are not.
Is our treasure really where our heart is?
Despite being only 13% of the population in the United States, there is a disproportionate amount of racial injustice towards Blacks on so many fronts (especially in terms of unfair sentencing, lack of accountability for police misconduct, erosion of voting rights and widening economic and achievement gaps. Yet many Blacks have a fixation on materialism. Not only is is wasteful, it is oxymoronic. Most of us understand that our enslaved ancestors served as one of the most powerful economic phenomena that have most clearly impacted the United States’ economic wealth. Through slave narratives, historic records, oral traditions and voice recordings we are able to experience the trauma of chains, but are we conscious of the invisible forces that enslaved us now, the self-inflicted entrapment of materialism that chains us now; consumerism.
There is no regard for Black life in America. We are treated as if we are foreigners in this country, unwanted guests of a sort, but we patronize as if we were embraced with a warm kiss, welcomed to participate in the economic boom, so out of gratitude and a thankful heart we return a friendly favor by fueling the economy; a mutual beneficial relationship. This kind of behavior disqualifies #blacklivesmatter, defaces “Justice or Else” and defames our ancestral legacy of resilience.
For this reason I admonish you to BOYCOTT BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY with me! We are the number one consumers, but have no ownership nor do we support Black-owned businesses, making recyclable wealth in our communities nonexistent. Stop fueling the beast. She habitually bites the hand that feeds her. Just back off!
Please stop perpetuating enabling behaviors. So far, in 2015, nearly 1,000 people have been killed by police. Imagine that every dollar you spend is your treasure; a prized possession. Will you direct your treasure to fund initiatives to further oppress us, purchase ammunition for guns that leaves holes in us and white chalk that outlines us, supports white supremacy and the maintenance that old dirty system that either boxes us in or out? Your black dollar has no black power; in fact, it supports black death; unimpeded!
Stop and Ask Yourself WWJD~It’s his birthday!
In researching this topic I came across a webpage with a great article, Top 10 reasons to #BoycottChristamas. I was most intrigued by the subtitle within titled Jesus did it. And verbatim, this was written:
When Jesus confronted the rabbis for their wicked misdeeds, the very first thing He did was to target the merchants. In all four gospels, Jesus expels the moneychangers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves through their commercial activities. In effect, He called for the BOYCOTT of those merchants, even though His argument was with the chief rabbis. Why didn’t He kick over the rabbi’s lectern? Why go after the merchants? Were not they there only by permission of the rabbis? Through that very violent action Jesus was warning us of a secret relationship that exists between the leaders and the money-makers, and by targeting the latter He knew He was hitting at the very heart of the oppressors.
Rethink Christmas and Redistribute the Pain!
Christmas shall come from our hearts and minds, not from our pocketbooks…” — James Baldwin, urging support for a Christmas boycott