Strangely, so much of the current rhetoric occurring within the struggle for Black liberation reminds me of Nancy Reagan’s 1980’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign that was used to discourage children from recreational drug use. The ‘Just Say No’ campaign was a public relations campaign that allowed Conservatives to ratchet up the “war on drugs” that was initially announced by President Richard Nixon and adopted, expanded, and executed in an unconscionable manner by President Ronald Wilson Reagan. The slogan ‘Just Say No’ was eventually attacked by critics who related that it may be much more beneficial to tell our youth what they should say yes to rather than what they should ‘Just Say No’ to.
In many ways, the raging discourse occurring within Black America regarding the unbridled attacks of law enforcement officers has led far too many of our people to respond emotionally, not strategically in their response to blatant racial injustice. It is this emotional response that has led far too many of our people to scream, holler, protest, and operate under slogans such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ while totally avoiding a more beneficial course of action. Instead of behaving as if they are ‘Just Say(ing) No’ to police brutality, economic exploitation, and political powerlessness, it is now time to teach the energized masses that their current course of action is wholly reactionary and will never cause the current racial hostility that we are experiencing to subside, let alone cease.
Instead of attempting, and I am placing significant emphasis upon attempting, to rally in the wake of the latest racial incident; it is imperative that our community mobilizes its political currency for far greater purposes. If we would only take the energy currently being expended running from one racial incident to the next, we could swiftly organize copious amounts of political power and have it prepared for strategic use.
A similar course of action should be applied to the economic arena. Instead of complaining about ‘the foreigners’ who open up businesses within our community, we should have long ago issued a significant challenge, not solely through an economic boycott, rather the opening of a competing African-American owned business. One of my foremost frustrations flows from African-Americans resistance to see the bountiful economic opportunities available to them within their own community.
The realization that we have to either go outside of our community for goods and services or give our money away to those, regardless of race, who have neither vested interest nor desire to aid our community, should be accompanied by a ‘Eureka’ moment of economic opportunity. I eagerly offer the following question that I long ago heard Minister Farrakhan pose to our people; “Can’t you get milk from a cow as well?”
While we are busily running from pillar to post attempting to address this and that racial incident, we are undoubtedly failing to realize that such ‘ambulance chasing’ behavior has seriously compromised the establishment, operation, and fortifying of a Black political party, Black businesses, and the Black community that we are all associated with in one form or another.
Now please do not take my position as one that says that we should not respond to racial incidents, in fact, my position is that the development and organization of politico economic resources, although not exciting work that will get one on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox will nevertheless pave the way for not only a more stringent response to racial incidents, but also the uplifting of the Black community in the face of virulent prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Say yes to building Black businesses, creating an independent progressive political party, and enforcing social responsibility among our people. It would be a glorious reality for Black America.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.
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