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Home Uncategorized The Supreme Court Determines The Fate Of Black Businesses Tomorrow

The Supreme Court Determines The Fate Of Black Businesses Tomorrow

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Tomorrow determines everything for Black businesses. On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Byron Allen case, in which he is suing Comcast, the second largest cable company in the world, for $20 billion for racial discrimination. At the heart of the dispute is Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which says that all people should have “the same right … to make and enforce contracts … as is enjoyed by white citizens.” Byron Allen believes Comcast is violating Section 1981, Comcast believes the exact opposite. What the Supreme Court believes will, ultimately, determine the fate of all Black businesses.

LOS ANGELES – OCT 26: Byron Allen at the Paley Center’s Hollywood Tribute to African-Americans in TV at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on October 26, 2015 in Beverly Hills, CA

Byron Allen is the owner of Entertainment Studios, whose networks include The Weather Channel, which Allen acquired in 2018. Entertainment Studios is also home to several niche channels, like Pets.Tv and Cars.Tv, which Allen hoped to get on Comcast but was rejected. Allen believes Comcast won’t do business with him because, at least in part, he is Black. Allen sees the issue as a violation of civil rights and thus invoked Section 1981. He lost the case against Comcast twice but got a favorable ruling in a similar case against Charter Communications, another cable provider. Charter appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing Allen to bring Comcast back into the fray. On both matters, Comcast and Charter, the 9th Circuit ruled in Allen’s favor, twice. Comcast appealed to the Supreme Court to take up the case and it did. Now the stakes are beyond high.

If Comcast wins, it could make it much more difficult for anyone else in the future to bring civil rights cases to the courts. Ultimately, that would impact Black people in every facet of life — renting an apartment, employment discrimination and everything in between. In a nutshell, Allen is arguing (roughly) that race can play absolutely no part in a business decision, while Comcast’s position (roughly) is that even if race plays some role in a company’s decision process, if they make a valid decision for business purposes, it ultimately doesn’t matter. This case is the case and everyone wants in, including Donald Trump’s Department of Justice. In an unprecedented move, the DOJ will be participating in the oral arguments, in support of Comcast. Allen is up against corporate power and now the weight of the DOJ, with the fate of the first civil rights legislation on the line.

Supreme Court of United states building in Washington DC

According to Allen, the cable industry spends $70 billion annually on licensing and Black owned media outlets aren’t eating at the table. Comcast, in fact, spends roughly $25 billion annually on channel licensing and less than $3 million on what Allen characterized as “100% African American-owned media.” How and if those conditions change may hinge on the actions of the Supreme Court. But there is a deeper narrative, one much closer to the hearts of Black people everywhere. Somewhere there is a sister in her cubicle who outworks her colleagues but is never promoted. It may be nearly impossible for her to file discrimination claims in the future. There is a brother who will seek to do business with his city and may suspect that his race plays a part in his inability to do so. That brother could, potentially, be unable to even find an attorney to take his case because of what the Supreme Court does with this case.

Perhaps you support Byron Allen’s stated case and perhaps you do not. In this moment of history it matters not because how the Court treats Section 1981 will impact every Black person, along with every other minority and protected class. In essence, we’re all in the same boat on this one. This case is much larger than Byron Allen, it’s now about you.

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D'Juan Hopewell
I care about Black Power. Period. Currently working on creating jobs and funding new startups on the South Side of Chicago and writing here and there at HopewellThought.com. Follow me @HopewellThought.
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28 COMMENTS

  1. *DONT PANIC* If so called “black people” actually found out their something else and not “black”, the law would swing your way. But we dont know anything about ourselves except what everyone else tells us so we dont know how to protect our families or ourselves.. Until we do this as a whole, individuals will Parrish. Good luck Byron. I am pulling for you!

    • This is years in the making. This is the first time I have seen this website post about it. This topic should have been front & center months if not years ago. Better late than never I guess. If this goes wrong, black people will be locked and the people that already own & control everything will be untouchable from a legal standpoint. They could openly tell you flat out that one of the reason we won’t do business with you or sale you ownership is simply your black. This is big people!!!!!

    • I pray the Supreme court realizes the importance of this case. We should all stand up for the rights that our ancestors have fought to have for so long.
      We are still waiting for the 40 acres and a mule, when other people with white skin were able to come to the US a claim it.
      Thank you Bryon for fighting for what is right. God bless!

  2. I wish that my alignment within my professional life was complete so that I had more pull to help you Byron. Sending the energy of success your way.

  3. This is years in the making. This is the first time I have seen this website post about it. This topic should have been front & center months if not years ago. Better late than never I guess. If this goes wrong, black people will be locked and the people that already own & control everything will be untouchable from a legal standpoint. They could openly tell you flat out that one of the reason we won’t do business with you or sale you ownership is simply your black. This is big people!!!!!

  4. HOPEFULLY BYRON WILL WIN IN ORDER TO BENEFIT THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN AMERICA. WE CAN’T FOREVER JUST PRAY AND DO NOTHING AND EXPECT CHANGE. WE MUST EARN IT BY TAKING A STAND AND FIGHT FOR IT. EVEN IN THE BIBLE IT STATES FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS DEAD.

  5. If we lose…I know THIS house will not be subscribing to “anything” that has anything to do with “comcast”, Charter, or X-Finity! These black dollars will be invested in PunchTV Studios… A BLACK OWNED company that is on the rise. Go to punchtvstudios.com to find out more on this company! I bought 60-shares of their stock during the IPO… at only $1/ea… now shares are selling for $5/ea… forget Comcast, we have the resources to build our OWN network! While we’re at it…instead of buying a pair of the new NIKE shoes…how about buying their STOCK! Let’s take it over too!! They say the black dollar runs the economy so let’s show them what we can “REALLY” do with our money!

  6. Better yet…here’s a thought. How about we buy out COMCAST!! If we own majority of their stock…The’ll HAVE to “Listen” to us, and play what WE want to see.

  7. If it doesn’t work out in the courts!
    Time for old fashioned boycotts!
    Don’t spend your money in their establishments and they will listen!

    • It’s time to cut the cable and escape from economic genocide! If all black Americans stop shopping and watching TV for a week it will jam-up the whole DARN system.

      “The economic philosophy of Black nationalism only means that we have to become involved in a program of re-education. To educate our people into 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; the community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer.”

      -Malcolm X

  8. Why don’t we have cable, television, grocery store ownership? I realize we Blacks battle on a daily basis, just to survive. All of us, aren’t going to agree, and those of us are doing what is necessary, without advertising about what is being done.

  9. Despite knowing I have great content and beautiful saleable products on my website, I strongly suspect I am being deliberately targeted and views to my site are either killed or limited and if this isn’t racial discrimination then I don’t know what is!
    Does anybody else experience this?
    I really hope he wins this one for all of us because the undercover discrimination is too much!

    My website is http://www.sosomeshop.com and I would really appreciate any constructive feedback

  10. We need to create our on comcast or chater cable provider African American should withdraw our business from the big corporate company , and the fact that
    the DOJ is on board give you a greater understanding that even at a constitution level there no justice for African American. I pray that he get some relieve and that as African American we come to the mind set that we need our own even our own nation.

  11. This is pathetic we are living in a world where we as Africans American doesn’t exist in the whites mind i hope this judge makes the right decision because if he does we are back in slavery we have enough Black rich people to back up business and operate in their own community i hope Allen get justice

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