By Yvonne Sam
The economy of Black nationalism simply means that we must become involved in a program of re-education: to educate our people of the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer, and the community, out of which you take your money, becomes poorer and poorer.
Sadly, though, we — members of the Black community — still appear not to have grasped this concept, and that is why so many racist, mainstream, culture-owned businesses treat us with such blatant disrespect.
However, in a strange sort of way, I do not fully blame them as much, as I blame us. After all, snakes crawl, ducks quack, pigs grunt, and racist businesses disrespect Black folk. So what were we expecting? We are treated exactly like we should expect to get treated, which explains the aforementioned disrespect.
But why do we tolerate it? Correction, why do we finance it and make it exorbitantly profitable for the perpetrators? Why do we religiously patronize White businesses that take our money, but adamantly refuse to hire our kind?
We need to begin respecting ourselves, by insisting upon what we deserve, i.e. equitable (not just equal) access and opportunity. We are industrious: we helped to build this country and some of its greatest facilities.
Yes, BLM does mean Black Lives Matter, which, in turn, means we should not be murdered and brutalized by police with impunity. However, that is not the only meaning of BLM, it also means Black Liberation Money, which, in turn, means that Blacks would not be totally liberated in Canada’s capitalist system, until we are totally respected in Canada’s capitalist system.
It is not that we dislike White people, simply put, it is like a marriage, where just as a wife loves her husband, she nonetheless has to demand respect from him. Well, that is precisely what Blacks have to do. And we can easily do it. In fact, we don’t even have to “reinvent the wheel”.
I am not accusing any particular business of being racist although, in my personal opinion, some of them are highly suspect, based on the relatively small percentage of Black employees they have, in general; and the relatively small percentage of Black upper-echelon employees they have, in particular.
These, and most other White-run businesses in and around Montreal, can, should, and must, completely change their ways, or at least do more in providing equitable (not just equal) access and opportunity.
We can demand respect and get respect, without “reinventing the wheel.” We can respond to White merchants’ disrespect, especially in Black neighborhoods, by organizing and executing the “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” boycott campaign, such as was done in America in the 1930’s.
Black-Americans told those white business owners that Black people were no longer going to allow themselves to be the instruments of their own economic demise. In other words, they said they were going to stop financing their own oppression and stop making racism profitable.
Such a strategy, and similar strategies throughout America, were so effective that not only were they credited with creating thousands of new jobs for Black professionals, laborers, and customers, but Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists began copying them, beginning in the 1960s.
Yes, BLM does mean Black Lives Matter, which, in turn, means we should not be murdered and brutalized by police with impunity. However, that is not the only meaning of BLM. It also means Black Liberation Money, which, in turn, means that Blacks would not be totally liberated in Canada’s capitalist system, until we are totally respected in Canada’s capitalist system.
We have to demand respect, by engaging in the 2020 version of America’s 1930s’ ”Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” and “Jobs For Blacks” campaigns.
Aleeuta: the struggle continues.
Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is the Chair of the Rights and Freedom Committee at the Black Community Resource Centre. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.