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Troy

Black lives don't matter, but Black dollars do.

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott, lasted over an year and was effective.

Today, Black people, poor people, or any group of people with sufficient numbers could not organize a boycott of anything.

Even if we could organize a boycott would we be willing to make any short term sacrifices for a long term gain?

There are many things that Black people are responsible for making happen from the Obama presidency to the success of TV shows like Empire.  

Black people complain all day long about the bias of Fox News; why should Fox enjoy any level of financial success due to Black people? Would Black people be willing to Boycott the show Empire (watched almost exclusively by Black people) or even better the entire station?

Black Enterprise reported that Black buying power will reach $1.1 Trillion this year.  How much of that money goes to Black owned Businesses.  I don't know, but I'll bet my life very little of it does.

Sure boycotts have been called for in recent years, but were they sustained, effective?  The main reason we won't execute a boycott of anything at a national level, is that we don't have any organizations with the capability or desire to do it.  It appears the organization we do have are either exclusive, in the pockets of corporations, platforms for enriching those in the leadership, or are purely social.  In any event, there is no organization, or group of organizations, capable of executing an important tactic like running a boycott. 

Often I hear people talk about how great social media is an getting information out, and organizing people--Phulese!  Social media has done nothing to benefit Black people--nothing.  

When the Montgomery Bus Boycott was launched many of the Black people involved did not have a TV or a telephone, let alone a Twitter account.

How did they do it? 

Perhaps a better question would be; why did they have boycotts and why don't we do it?

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Edited by Troy

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Chris I'm waiting for someone suggest what should we boycott--Seriously.

 

Is there a company that Black people disproportionately patronize, while at the same time taking that patronage for granted.

 

Maybe they don't advertise in our media, many they don't have Black employees in high level positions, maybe they only produce products that are bad for us, maybe they don't pay their employees a living wage. 

 

Are there any companies we should be boycotting?  

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The problem is the businesses aren't blatantly biased or racist. The new boycott isn't against a particular company. It is about supporting good businesses that are black owned.

Black dollars are courted but a suitable replacement isn't available if there was a boycott. We don't own an uber or cab company. We don't have a national magazine or periodical to advertise in. We don't own a national grocery chain. We have been thoroughly wiped out of any financial system of importance. We have no black hedge funds or investment firms. We don't utilize black banks.

There is literally nothing to boycott or use in lieu of. The best we can do is get blacks to stop killing each other and begin tackling the financial aspect on a local scale. If there is a great black restaurant in your city support that place. If there is a black owned theater support that place.

I don't eat at chain restaurants but all black people own in Memphis are wing or rib joints. We have nothing to support.

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Sure most corporations are not blatantly racist.  But what is the difference?

 

When we were forbidden to use white owned businesses we formed our own including schools, banks and newspapers.   They thrived.  

 

Today we have 25 banks, a hundred or so newspapers and about 100 colleges--most, if not all, are struggling.  Sure a good idea and a more affirmative action to would be to support some Black owned businesses.  But I think boycotting a corporation that is not "serving" us, but thriving because of our financial support has a place.

 

Lets say every Black person put they money into a Black owned bank (I know that will never happen, but stay with me for a second), that bank would then have the resources to open branches, join a network, grant loans and create jobs in the community, etc.  This would not happen over night, but it could happen pretty darn fast. 

 

Suppose every Black person subscribed to their local newspaper AND stopped support the corporate publication.  Those weeklies could become dailies reporting in issues that matter to us.  Jobs would be created.  If the people actually read the paper who knows what could happen ;-)

 

Imagine if we sent out kids to HBCU's and supported them financially, instead of aspiring to attended and enrich institutions founded by slaveholders.  

 

I agree with you Chris, we have to support out own, but boycotting has its place--even if there are no Black alternatives.

 

Maybe we should do without until we build our own.  

 

Meanwhile Baltimore burns...

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You know I'm with you. I've been saying this for years. There is a root problem to why a boycott won't happen. We are victims of assimilated actions. We copy white America. This is important because our nepotism has alienated the talented, the rich and the poor black. Our own decisions to act like whites in our hiring practices gives us a weak foundation.

In HBCUs we hire friends as opposed to the best person for the job. In jobs we alienate the hard worker or best worker and hire the inefficient. As a result our banks and papers and restaurants are mediocre and not worth supporting.

As honorable as it sounds it's not feasible for us to do without because we are no longer consolidated to one part of town. The disbursement of black people has diminished our organizational ability and power. The reason the black church is ineffective is because as blacks moved away from each other more churches were founded. Animosity and jealousy between churches corrupted the heart of the church which is the community. This fracture is a microcosm of how black power is in the black community, ineffective and sputtering.

A boycott without an option is only a hiatus.

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Guest Nassoma

I came to work today with tears in my eyes because after talking with this sister for over a year on our train rides into the city. I got very discouraged when after months and months of talking about our condition in this country and how bad it is getting, turning her on to Dr. Claude Anderson's research and talking endlessly about the Hollywood propaganda campaign  she kinda proudly proclaimed "I really like Empire". I did not have any more words. I also think I will ride in another section of that train from now on. I am convinced our people are SO brainwashed that even if I had the exact date and went around warning everyone I know there are concentration camps buses that are coming to pick up black folks to drop us off to obscurity (like what is going on right now in the Dominican Republic) if CNN told them just get on the bus they wouldn't give a damn about the warning I gave and they would get on that bus!

I am so sad today, sad for my son's future, for all our sons. The last two generations led us to just go work for the enemy system that is out to eliminate us at this point. One of my closest and oldest friends said "oh, I don't think they would do that" then after I suggested she reads Chancellor Williams book Destruction of Black Civilization she shot me down and said "oh, I don't read anything that contradicts the bible", I lost my temper pretty much called her an idiot and hung up, I can't anymore. Things are too serious right now and we are still asleep at the wheel. I want to start the master plan Dr. Chancellor Williams details at the back of this book but I am wondering where are the revolutionaries? Who will really stand up and be prepared to fight for our future? With it being as easy as just recognizing our economic power and changing our spending habits to support black owned businesses you'd think this would not be such a challenge. But sadly why does the whole house got to be on fire before anyone smells the smoke?

I'm attaching the plan if anyone is ready holla at me.

MASTER_PLAN_the-destruction-of-black-civilization-chancellor-williams.pdf

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Nassoma, where have you been!  I have the book, but I printing this out again and will re-read it.

I've been beating my head against a wall trying to promote this idea, but it is a losing battle.  

I'm open to ideas; please feel free to share them here.  

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I re-read the “The Shape of Things to Come: A Master Plan.” I even the chapter to our Chancellor Williams page

But I not nearly as optimistic as Williams was.  If Williams were alive today I would be very surprised if he would be as confident today.

I do not think there are enough people who would be willing to give this effort any consideration.  In fact I'd be willing to bet this were true when the Master plan was first written.

Chris Burns wrote something that speaks to this point, “...I would never give Facebook more effort than I give a platform that is Black owned.”  Now he and I might feel this way, but almost no one else feel this way.  In seems you really have to be a Black business owner to really appreciate this.  

In fact, Williams understood this quite well.  Listen to his opening statement, in the video below, from Tony Brown's Journal.  

Now that does not mean we should not try.  I'm trying to do this in my small corner on the web. I know how hard this is, I can imagine succeeding on the scale Williams' outlined.

I think the closest thing we have in the way of the implementing of Williams Master Plan is the Nation of Islam.  But as much respect I have for the Nation, I would never join them, for many reasons least of which are their austere lifestyle standards.  This is of course why the Nation's impact and potential influence over Black people is severely limited.

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What I would say is that the Black banks in particular are so incredibly backwards and conservative that I would be very, very hesitant in depositing with them. 

Very few of them are active on social media despite its massive importance. Their Internet presences are abysmal. They refuse to merge with each other and would rather stay lords of single cities, instead of uniting and creating a national bank actually capable of something.

But worst of all in my mind is that they are always silent when issues come up that threaten the Black community. If you are a Black bank and you present yourself as a Black bank and you say your existence is to serve the community, and you say nothing when that community is threatened, then you aren't there for the community. Your Blackness is then just a marketing stunt.

Of course, the stagnation and lethargy of the Black banks is better (just barely) than the outright hostility of the White banks toward the Black community. But they need to get their shit together. Too many Black banks bemoan the lack of patronage given to them by other Blacks and yet don't do jack for the community. To be blunt, why should I support you if you won't support us? I'm not going to fork over my money to you just because we share a skin tone. Show me that you're doing something besides sitting there with puppy-dog eyes.

Edited by KC Charles
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That is interesting KC.  When I first started my business I attempted to open an account with Carver Bank in Harlem NY--knowing full well that their lack of branches and ATM network would put me at a disadvantage. Carver is Black run black, but they are publically traded so I doubt they are Black owned.

Carver would not give me a bank account, telling me that I needed to change my perfectly valid business certificate, before they would give me an account.  Frustrated I asked to talk with a manager and was told the same thing.

I went down the block to a Bank of America branch and promptly opened up a business account.

But, I think we HAVE to identify the truly supportive Black owned businesses and support them--even if this means accepting what by might be sub-par service compared to what we might obtain a business owned by another group.  

We have to start somewhere.  Over time, these business could exceed the service we could get anywhere, but they will never have the opportunity to grow and reach that level if we do not support them.

Edited by Troy

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I completely agree. There are, I think, plenty of Black-owned businesses that are a bit pricier or a bit less convenient that their white-counterparts that I would still support. For example, Bevel, which makes grooming kits for people who suffer with razor bumps (mostly Blacks), has fairly pricey products and you have to get their products online, but I plan to support once I'm able because they make a product I legitimately need, they hire a lot of Blacks, and they speak out when things go down. There are plenty of companies small and large that do the same thing, all of which are worthy of support. 

Unfortunately, none of the Black banks fit that bill, as far as I know. Speaking just about the banks, it's not even about the resources. It would be incredibly easy and cheap, for example, to offer an internship program to Black high school and college students who want to get into banking and finance; you could even partner with the Black nonprofits and HBCU's, and the PR boost would be enormous. But for various reasons they're not (last time I checked), and the Black banks are getting dismembered (Carver Bank is no longer Black-owned), partly due to the recession but I think mostly out of extreme conservatism and inability to innovate. 

The question I ask myself when thinking about doing business with them vs BoA or Chase is: "Do I want to try and prop up a sinking ship, or do I want to get on the good ship that shoves me into second-class?" Right now, until the banks either change management or someone gets a clue, I lean towards the second-class as much as it disgusts me. Because honestly at least the ship won't capsize with me in it. 

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I agree with KC. I found a list a while back of Black banks in the US. Surprisingly, Memphis' Tri Sate bank (with three branches) wasn't even on the list. This shows how fractured the banking system is for Blacks and Black owned banks.

I don't know if you two have heard of the banked and unbanked populations in the US. Blacks tend to be the most unbanked people in the country. This means that when they get paid they go to supermarkets, check cashing places instead of utilizing a bank. When this population needs access to credit they go to Title Max or title loan places and the like that are predatory lending. If Black banks simply focused on getting the unbanked to bank with them they would grow in one month into really solid institutions. 

The reality is they don't even spend the time attempting to do this. They spend most of their time and energy funding Black churches or funding different city projects with companies recieving government contracts. They pursue guaranteed money vs actually doing the work of investing and building wealth for the banks. They don't have a real small biz program in many instances and require the exact stringent requirements or even more requirements for biz loans than their counterparts in the white community. They don't have any business relationship with the HBCU and their online banking and websites are abysmal. 

I'm all for supporting small biz/black biz, but only if the service is at least serviceable.

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That's not right at all, because you don't have to get on a fancy show or live talk show to get some notices, it's dumb and inconsiderate, that's like saying i'm not famous, but somebody i love got hurt, and i don't make it to the news station, but the cast of empire does, OH, but it's all ears when something happen to a rich white family, up in the suburbs, or somebody just won the lottery or a car!

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I'm reading this discussion with a lot of interest, because I have been working on a project for the past several months that I believe can move the needle on these issues you are talking about. Everybody has a smartphone nowadays, so I have been developing an app that you can use while shopping which provides a quick and easy report on the diversity of the board of directors behind the products you're thinking of buying. So for example, if you're picking up cereal at the supermarket and have  a few brands to choose from you would be able to see which brand is made by a company that actually has minorities seated on their board of directors and factor that into your decision. The app provides a feature where you can share the report on social media so your friends can know, and also lets you send feedback to the company so they can see how diversity in their leadership impacts their bottom line. 

As usage of the app grows it will become a major incentive for companies to take a serious look at their leadership diversity and make changes. 

There is a catch however - I've taken it as far as I can on my own, and now need to raise money to complete it. I've started a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter for it, and am hoping that there are enough people who care enough about this issue to step up and provide the pledges I need to make it happen. I'd be grateful if you would take a look at the campaign and give me your feedback on it: http://kck.st/1MGd846

 

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That name (Pale and Male) is a bit offputting... as a fellow Kickstarter I kind of know how to fail at a Kickstarter and succeed. I've backed a lot of projects and immediately upon seeing your project it feels a bit too political for Kickstarter. I wish you luck, but it will be a struggle. On the tech side, I honestly don't see the point of doing something that is inherently flawed. We know these boards are not Black. I love the idea of accountability, I really do, but I only donate to those things I find will actually a) make my life more enjoyable b.) entertain me c) help a small business with a physical product/website.

Get to sharing and running ads for that campaign to get the best response. Also join some social media groups to see if they will fall in line with your project. I wish you all the best.

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I like the idea of have a tool to check how diverse a company leadership and board are, but I don't think for a split second it will change anything.  Giving people information and having them change behavior in the real world are two completely different things.

Everyone knows Google, Facebook, and Amazon are all white at the top, but that will not stop Black people from using their services.  

In fact, I can give you a list of Black owned companies to support and Black people have not demonstrated any particular interest in increasing support of these companies or sharing the information, even as we watch many of them go out of business.  

I would be interested if the application could tell me the percentage of Black people the top.

Why not have a website for this too, or simply start with one, why focus on the mobile ap?  

Edited by Troy

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Great questions Troy. Why not deliver a website and monetize it? Why a mobile app? I guess the easy answer is everyone thinks mobile is the next gold mine. I definitely want to hear the answer from Edwards.

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