NewsTalk Back

Talk Back: A Case for Economic Activism

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JET wants you to Talk Back.  This is one of the reader submissions that we received and opted to publish.  Want to make your voice heard?  Submit your commentary, TV show recap, poem, or essay HERE.  Read all the rules  so you know how it works.  

America has had a rude awakening, post-Ferguson.

The masses now understand that we are far from being a “post-racial” society. What has been revealed are the racial assumptions and socioeconomic judgments floating just beneath the surface of our conversations, confrontations and political decisions. Across the country in living rooms, barbershops and pubs people are talking. African-Americans are restless and seeking ways to resist in response to injustice.

So, what do we do?

We will march, we will lend our time and talents to community efforts, but we must also TAKE! Take back our dollars and kick the system where it hurts – in their economic bottom line. No Black Friday spending is just the start. How about a complete anti-commercial holiday season? Make gifts and find volunteer opportunities for your family. Save your money, but give of yourselves to your community. BE THE GIFT!

Why Boycott Retail?

I’m no economist, but I know the words of W.E.B. Dubois to be true, “To whom you give your money, you give your power.” Nielsen research has assessed that there are 44 million African-Americans living in the United States, which is 14.2 percent of the entire U.S. population, the second largest racial minority in the country.

The median age is 32 and 47 percent are under 35 years of age. The demographic is younger, more educated and has higher incomes than commonly believed. With an estimated buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, we would be the 16th largest country in the world. YET, we disproportionately own fewer of our homes, save less, invest less and spend less with small businesses in our community when compared to other racial groups.

According to Ken Smikle of Target Market News, “The largest single investment that Corporate America makes in the Black community is in advertising. That investment is about $2 billion a year, but it should be at least twice that amount given the importance of the market and the role these consumers play in any company’s bottom line.” Refrain from holiday spending to make a collective statement. The United States economy cannot rely on our hard earned dollars while the justice system undermines the value of black life. When you mess with people’s money, they tend to start listening. #HandsUpDontSpend #BlackOutBlackFriday

This week, friends and family will gather around tables, shared delicious meals and give thanks for all the good in our lives. This year, we should be grateful just to be alive! Exactly 24 hours later, gratitude will give way to “getititude” as scores of shoppers swarm and scramble to grab bargains on Black Friday. Resist the norm. Do the opposite of what is expected. Invest in yourself! In addition to economic activism there is value to dialing back holiday spending, especially for families with young children.

Celebrate The Joy Of Giving

Hopefully as adults we’ve learned the joy of giving, as well as receiving; plan activities that teach your little ones that sentiment. It’s important for them to realize that other boys and girls may be going without. Find a local toy drive, group home, or church collecting items for the less fortunate. Donate toys, books and clothing that can be a blessing to those who desperately need a bit of holiday cheer. If finances are tight give your time. Join a group that sings carols at nursing homes or spend an afternoon volunteering at a local shelter.

Create Family Traditions Together

Fellowship, family, laughter and love – these are life’s most special gifts. Make the season mean so much more by creating traditions with your children. Craft homemade ornaments or cards, bake cookies for your neighbors, attend a performance of the Nutcracker, see a holiday concert, go ice skating, host a Christmas Eve potluck, etc. Give your family something to look forward to each year that’s invaluable, immaterial and doesn’t require batteries.

Teach The Reason For The Season

Focus on your faith. Why and what do you believe? As busy adults we sometimes take for granted the spiritual lessons imparted by our elders. Teach your children the essence of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Make it fun! Take part of special activities in your place of worship. Pick out a couple of new books. Put on a play or puppet show to perform for loved ones visiting from out of state. Although Santa has become a prominent figure, remind your children the star atop your tree does not shine in celebration of dear old St. Nick.

For more of Deanna’s writing, visit her HERE.