“The man who’s controlling the stores in our community is a man who doesn’t look like we do. He’s a man who doesn’t even live in the community. So you and I, even when we try to spend our money in the block where we live or the area where we live, we’re spending it with a man who, when the sun goes down, takes that basket full of money in another part of the town.” Malcolm X
There is an old saying “Consumers vote with their dollars.” In a market economy, dollars are a form of consumer money in hand power. When consumers purchase goods and services, it actually rewards the producers and retailers who provide the product or services we buy.
When we make a purchase from a particular business, we are also – in effect – financially supporting the company’s policies and practices.
A boycott is making a choice not to buy. In many cases when a group of people feels that they have been constantly denied justice a boycott of a certain product or institution can register dissatisfaction with a given situation.
Once of the most successful Black Boycotts in history was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign started in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, intended to oppose the city’s policy of racial segregation on its public transit system. The ensuing struggle lasted from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses unconstitutional. Pressure increased across the country, and on June 4, 1956, the federal district court ruled that Alabama’s racial segregation laws for buses were unconstitutional. However, an appeal kept the segregation intact, and the boycott continued until, finally, on November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling. This victory led to a city ordinance that allowed black bus passengers to sit virtually anywhere they wanted, and the boycott officially ended December 20, 1956. The boycott of the buses had lasted for 381 days. In that time in financially damaged the Montgomery Bus companies. Black people must understand that controlling our economics, we can change legislation and laws.
With a current buying power of $1 trillion that is forecasted to reach $1.3 trillion by the year 2017, we must ask, why do Blacks literally have no voice in policy, legislation? With the many incidences of unarmed Black men being shot, shot at or killed by police, with all the buying power Blacks possess; we are powerless.
Blacks in America are 43 million strong. As consumers have unique behaviors from the total market. For example, we are more aggressive consumers of media and they shop more frequently. We watch more television (37%), make more shopping trips (eight), purchase more ethnic beauty and grooming products (nine times more), read more financial magazines (28%) and spend more than twice the time at personal hosted websites than any other group.
Statistics show that Blacks make an average of 156 shopping trips per year, compared with 146 for the total market. Favoring smaller retail outlets, Blacks shop more frequently at drug stores, convenience stores, and dollar stores. Beauty supply stores are also popular within the Black community, as they typically carry an abundance of ethnic hair and beauty aids reside that cater specifically to the unique needs of Black hair textures. Overall, health and beauty supply stores have an average household penetration rate of 46 percent among Blacks, and the average black household spends an average of $94 in beauty products each year.
To truly effect change its time for Black people to make a choice not to buy. A choice not to buy is ordinarily an individual decision. But sometimes people decide to collectively refuse to buy a certain product; the action will be powerful and meaningful.
It is time for Black people in America to monetarily register our dissatisfaction with the institutions that uphold these injustice justice systems in America.
The Ferguson ruling and other questionable legal decisions that have set legal precedent for Police Sanctified Killings of Black men across America has shown Blacks from ever economic class that we must work collectively by gaining political power through economics.
When we continuously see that Black life have no value in America. Then as Black people, we should collective see no value in the institutions in America that we spend our money with.
The first step is boycotting, than supporting Black owned businesses, then understanding political economics so we can truly effect legislation and policies that effect our communities.