Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Fourth Day of Kwanzaa: Ujamaa

today's principle: to build our own businesses, control the economics of our own community and share in all our work and wealth.

in other words, buy black

once upon a time, we had our own black doctors and dentists and midwives. we ate at our own restaurants, drank in our own bars and juke houses and attended our own churches and schools. we frequented our own businesses and shopped in our own grocery stores. because we weren't allowed to do so anywhere else. well -- legally, we could go anywhere. but if we did go to the white part of town, we were quite literally taking our lives into our own hands. 

in too many instances, prosperous black communities were obliterated by angry whites who resented their industriousness and financial independence and/or who wanted their land and resources.  remember the rosewood massacre of 1923?  an entire prosperous self-sufficient black community in florida, slaughtered on the supposed infallable word of a white woman who cried rape.  and no, that wasn't an isolated incident. for more on the subject, read buried in the bitter waters: the hidden history of ethnic cleansing in america by elliot jaspin.

buying black -- like buying american -- isn't as easy as you might think. the story of one chicago family's effort to buy black is the stuff of what some would like to think of as urban myth. or an impossible dream, maybe. i buy things mindfully.  i want to know where it comes from, what corporate entity is behind it, who's getting my dollar. i'd prefer to empower a black female but hey -- that's just me.


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