Buying Black Isn’t Always Easy — Neither Is Freedom

It takes zero effort to blow an entire paycheck without spending any of it within the Black community. Amazon is very convenient and big box stores can provide everything I need, with just one stop. But we know Black unemployment will not cease if we continue doing what we’ve always done. During the Montgomery Bus Boycott Black maids were willing to walk miles each way for over a year. How much are we willing to be inconvenienced, for freedom?

Black progress has never come conveniently. Slave revolts were inconvenient. Running away from a plantation wasn’t very comfortable, either. The Voting Rights Act required “Bloody Sunday” before that was passed. There is literally nothing one can point to in the history of Black progress that came without massive sacrifice. The irony in 2019 is that far too many of us believe that the “hard work” of liberation is done and that we can expect Black progress while still living a life of convenience and ease. Yet it is true that Black progress since the Civil Rights Act has been marginal at best, with the benefits of integration masquerading as true freedom.

We can sit in the front of the bus but Black unemployment was actually worse in 2017 than before the Civil Rights Act was passed. The wealth gap between Blacks and whites has exploded and homeownership hasn’t increased for Blacks, at all. We know that we have the power to reverse all of these trends, simply with our spending. But let’s just be frank and admit that it’s not convenient; and who wants to inconvenience themselves everyday? Still, doing the same thing will always get us the same thing over and over again. There is no magic pill here, it’s simply a choice — a daily fight for freedom or to remain as we are.

Think of those maids who walked to work and back in the dead of winter. Two miles, three miles each way, they were determined to walk before they conceded to oppression. They wanted their children to live in a different world so they inconvenienced themselves until a real change came. No one is asking us to walk miles each day through the cold. The question is, however, are we willing to drive a little further to another bank or store? Are we willing to wait a few days for that product to ship? Are we willing to do a little more research before we make purchases to find Black owned companies? It’s certainly not convenient but neither is freedom.

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