Supporting our oppressors is supporting our oppression.
Throughout history, boycotts have been a public statement to governments, businesses, and other powerful entities that the true power resides with the people. Stakeholders are forced to make compromises and changes to ensure that major losses aren't incurred as a result.
But do boycotts actually influence and initiate real change? Or is it just a political statement? Do civil rights movements create real movement?
The first publicly recognized boycott in America took place in 1955 after the arrest of Rosa Parks. Everyone knows the story. She refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus which resulted in her arrest. The public was outraged at the mistreatment and discrimination against Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Improvement Association.
Hit them where it hurts.
Black residents in Montgomery refused to ride city buses for 13 months. As a result, the city of Montgomery took a hit of $3,000 a day for 381 days. Let's do the math. Montgomery incurred a loss of over $1 million because of the boycott.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott gained national media attention and as a result, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on public buses. Although this one boycott didn't put an end to all discrimination and racism in America, it did show the powers that be who really holds the power.
Movement means you have to move.
There are still many companies today that show their allegiance to supremacist idealogy and culture. To them, the Black community is a lucrative community to take advantage of mostly due to our ignorance, programming, and misinformation. But what would happen if we took the same approach today that was taken in Montgomery less than 70 years ago?
A few weeks ago, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank announced that they have kicked Ye (formally known as Kanye West), his LLCs, and affiliates out of their bank. They refuse to continue business with him due to his alleged Antisemitic remarks. He has until November 21, 2022, to find another financial institution.
But does Ye even need J.P. Morgan to be successful? Do any of us need oppressive institutions to be successful? Why are we so trusting of these institutions that are active participants in our Holocaust?
Let history do the talking.
J.P. Morgan Chase openly admitted and acknowledged the role their institution played in the Transatlantic Slave Trade back in 2005. They issued an apology admitting that they took ownership of slaves as loan collateral thus making them active participants.
Citizens' Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana, which are both now a part of J.P. Morgan, would accept slaves when plantation owners defaulted on their loans.
Their efforts to "right their wrongs" for participating in slavery included a $5 million college scholarship program for Black residents of Louisiana for five years to "acknowledge the past and improve the future."
Has the future been improved?
It's clear to see that the Black community must come together to stand against atrocities and form real plans to unify and strengthen ourselves against those who continue to keep us in a state of submission and oppression. Ye being kicked out of America's second-largest bank is evidence of that.
The Black community used to stand up against oppression and fight back. What happened to our zeal, our passion, our grit? There are more of our people standing for LGBTQIA+ and abortion rights than the rights of the Black community. What a travesty.
How to move forward
It's quite clear the actions that need to take place to move toward a more equitable future for us and the generations to come. We must take a firm stand against those who only see our value as a check in their pockets.
We've seen positive examples from our ancestors. We do not have to do business with corporations who do not respect us. Similar to Jewish communities, we need to operate as one and move together in unity. Support Black-owned businesses. Do business with Black-owned banks.
Boycott companies like Adidas, Vogue, Balenciaga, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Comme de Garcons, Tommy Hilfiger, Barneys, Dior, Gucci, H&M. We do not have to settle for what seems convenient at the time.
We work hard for everyone else's causes, it's time to put our interests first. And we can.