When the Smoke Clears: The Aftermath of Riots, Boycotts, and Injustice
As we sit stewing in our own juices, the day after the proposed Blackout Black Friday Boycott, we have to ask ourselves what now? The scene is all too familiar. We've been here many times. After a heinous crime takes place and someone is beaten or murdered or wrongly convicted, the beautiful rainbow colored illusion slowly oozes into black and white and lines are drawn. Humanity chooses sides and the not so dormant volcano of racial tensions and emotions bubbles to the top of the surface of society. The eruption of accusations, stereotypes and discriminatory insinuations washes over everyone as the people proclaim how they feel in loud audacious roars via their favorite social media outlet and comment boxes. As black people we have been here far too many times. I have personally sat for hours skimming over rage filled outbursts of bigots spewing their rhetoric of "get over it" and "he was a thug" all wrapped in the disillusioned perception of privileged self-righteousness. This is to be expected, I presume, considering it's hard to have empathy when one doesn't experience these sort of feelings of helplessness and outrage continuously. But this time the focus has taken us to a different place. All over the nation, there are groups of people that are still protesting and chanting for a change in the way things are done! The tone of the aftermath this time is one that is not as familiar, but we've seen it before. People aren't just outraged, they are channeling this emotional into constructive change. People are considering a change for themselves. What if this time the feelings aren't going away and screams of "no more" have formed into a movement itself.
As the verdict of the case against Darren Wilson came down and people watched as Michael Brown's mother cried out in anguish and defeat as if to relive her son's murder all over again, some decided to act out in an immediate rage that burned deep inside, scorching the soul of rationality and logic. But once the flames were extinguished and the frustration and repulsion were still lying in a pile of rubble and ash, people decided to take a more strategic approach. Thus the Blackout Boycott was born. The idea that black people spend trillions of dollars annually became a powerful thought when placed into perspective. What if black people only shopped with black store owners for black Friday? Would this be enough for a nation of capitalist to stand up and take notice of a reoccurring abortion of justice? A beautiful thought in theory, however, once again the wails of " NO JUSTICE, NO PROFIT" were barely a whisper amidst the echoes of cash machines and credit card receipts. The lack of solidarity amongst all black and brown people silenced this cry with a resounding muzzle as people flocked to their nearest retailer for "sales" and "bargains."
So now what? The reality has washed over us all. As we embark on another stage of this opposition, some of us have to ask, how can we make the voice of resistance ring out in the halls of Wall Street and bottom lines, but more importantly, in the effort of self-sufficiency ? The cries of the disenfranchised will remain a whimper if we continue on this road of dependency. The fact that in a tri-state area there were no grocery stores and only a hand full of convenient stores, was a wake-up to the realization that we are still suckling for the teat of oppression. How could we have a permanent change in our way of living when most of the people that are outraged not only depend upon these corporations for food, clothing and necessity but also for employment no matter how minimal. How can we build a nation of self reliance when we rely so heavily on the oppressive corporate structure? Were the steps taken in protests and boycotts steps towards supporting our own and increasing the economic power of the people? Or were these merely flashes of steam from an eruption washed over by the sea of political realities? Does the change we so passionate seek lie at the bottom of a mound of ash and debris? Or does it truly reside in the lining of our pockets?
*The opinions of this article reflect on the author(s) it was published by & not the "What's The News?" organization as a whole.