"When a thriving African American or urban community is realized, certainly as a society as a whole we all win." - John Anderson
There is a married couple in Illinois right now - the Anderson's who are pictured above - who are conducting an experiment of buying exclusively from Black businesses for one year. They live in Chicago, which if you don't know, happens to be located in the county, which has the most, Black people per capita in the country. They've named their social experiment "Ebony Project". Not a daunting task considering where they live, right? Well, on the contrary. It's has not been easy and they've even had to drive up to 14mls out of their neighborhood just to do grocery shopping, and 18mls just to get to a health food store for vitamins. They have also gone as far as to purchase gas cards online from Black owned gas stations well outside of their city to compensate their undertaking. So why are they doing this experiment? It's their belief that with the Black community being underserved, coupled with the $850 billion buying power of the Black community annually, this shift may in some small way help to expand and bring money back into the Black community.
In other words, this experiment is about giving back. You can read their full story here if you haven't already. They are encouraging other African Americans to do just as they are as well. Me personally, I could see doing this, and realize that it is in effect what is needed in order to strengthen our community from a financial perspective. Sounds like a good thing doesn't it? Well, not to everybody Black at least. You see, I never knew this, but there is a movement which seeks to empower Black women, by them divesting in the Black community. I was privileged to come across this information by reading a couple blogs about it. Honestly, I think its a very bad idea that centers around men bashing, and can never have positive effects on the community.
Of course the people who subscribe to this theory are not believers in what I sayas I did over at the blog Happy Nappy Head. According to them, the Black community is beyond saving. According to them, there is an "Ark" that is representative or symbolic of saving the Black woman. According to them, it is the Black man who has destroyed our communities, deliberately harm Black woman, and contribute to much of the negativity we see and hear about. You know, the whole 70% single Black women raising kids thing, right? Not just that, but also that Black men are responsible for all the crime in our communities and it is the Black man who has made it unsafe for the Black woman and her children.
Well, to them, Black woman are looked at as being the savior of the Black community. By who, I have no clue, but since it's up to them - Black women - with the Black community being beyond repair, the best strategy for them, would be to cut and run. Yes, divesting is what they suggest Black women do. No joke, I'm not making this up; you can click the links above to see just what I'm talking about. Now, can you tell me just how this is something positive? I mean, currently, in this country, for every dollar in the White community as far as wealth is concerned, there is 10 cents in the Black community. Yes, the gap of wealth is that wide per the release of a study done by the Federal Reserve which is conducted every three years.
These results are as accurate as of the year 2007, and I seriously think in the future, given the economic downturn which affects Blacks and other minorities hardest, that the gap will be shown to be even wider. So that said, isn't it even more important that we pull together as a people, and invest in our community as opposed to divesting? I mean, when you divest, economically and otherwise, where and what are you investing in? And when you do, though you may feel that it's beneficial to you as a Black woman or Black person, what is it doing to the community at large?
Growing up, I was told that one should not be a part of the problem, but instead part of the solution. Well, is divesting truly a part of the solution for the Black female collective? To me, cutting and running is the easy thing to do. Not only that, though it is your choice to do so, I find it rather selfish, and shows a weakness in character. I don't know what you may think, but I didn't see men like Martin Luther King Jr. divest from the Negro collective, or not focus on the people in this country who needed a voice back in the 60's. You know the very same people who were riddled with pretty much the same social issues, and ills due to their economic disadvantage? For that matter, never did Angela Davis as she continues to speak out and remain active in issues of social and economic injustices in this great land of ours.
Maybe because I'm a Black man who works to serve a higher purpose other than me when it comes to my people, I feel the way I do. Yeah, maybe that's it. The hell if I know. However, I do know Harriet Tubman must be rolling over in her grave when she hears Black woman with this type of talk. If she ever was a ghost, I think some of these sisters would think twice if she appeared and pulled her famous pistol in an attempt to get them to realize that the fight and struggle is not theirs alone. I don't care what they say, but divest as you may, but sadly, at the end of the day, you'll still be Black just like the rest of us you've left behind.