While the recent tragedies have mostly resulted in political activism, economic activism is also an option. As I reflect on the events, two main factors come to mind:
- Classism is one of the “great divide” of the Black community. In my surveys of folks, outside of the East Coast, it appears that a larger number of protesters are working-class people. When I asked middle- and upper-class black people why they are not protesting, I received responses:
- “I don’t have time for that,” or “I’m really busy.”
- “I got my own self to look after first.”
- When I followed up with, “You’d want someone to protest for you if you were shot or choked to death, for no real reason.” And I got replies:
- “I sure would.”
- “That’s different.”
I’m not an advocate of these frames, but I respect everyone’s view. I’m not a fan of this “individual” thinking because it hasn’t, doesn’t, and won’t work for the collective Black (or general, Minority) community. Looking at the history of highly marginalized groups, economic prowess was achieved through focused mediums, like buying, employing, mentoring, and managing relationships for one’s own community (not oneself). Realizing that my view is not the only one, I came up with some alternative methods for successfully empowering Minorities:
- Maximizing your abilities as change agents within your constraints (maximization within constraint(s) is called optimization in Economics). Look at this blog as an example. My strength is Finance and Economics so I’ve created this forum to share my experiences and to learn/hear from others. If you don’t have time (a constraint for many) to protest, then there’s plenty of other things you could do.
- Create forums within your communities. ‘Nough said.
- Talk to the ignorant or racist people at your jobs, clubs, etc. Be tactful, of course. I’m not suggesting you show up to your corporate job in a Dangerous Negro t-shirt on a casual Friday (although I’d give you mad respect, lol.). I am suggesting that you build relationships with folks outside of your comfort zone and over time pose these serious issues of injustices to them. Give them time to process.
- Wear a provocative t-shirt that makes a statement. Check out Dangerous Negro. Dangerous Negro has Minority stuff in general, although the targeted audience is black; other Minorities might appreciate the apparel as well (Btw, don’t fret, not everything is about being Black and White, which I plan to address in the new year. This is a Minority Journal.).