By now, everyone knows that the cop Darren Wilson that fatally shot teenager Mike Brown over the summer will not be indicted for his crime. Like everyone predicted, Ferguson is ablaze literally and figuratively. While looting, stealing, and raging is never the answer for change, I get it. I get the frustration, I get the feeling of isolation, I get the “DO YOU HEAR ME NOW?”. I get why that is coming out in such a violent way. But, as a black community, there are things we can do and things we should avoid doing to show solidarity and see long term change.
Do support black businesses. By supporting our merchants, we keep the flow of prosperity within our own communities to help them thrive and grow. Download the Around the Way app to help find local black owned businesses in your area.
Do vote. It is cruicially important to vote for more than just the president. Vote for city council, the board of ed, all of the elections that there are, vote. Why? Because we vote the people in office that get stuff done.
Do put more black people in the position of power. Aside from politicians, cops have power. Business owners have power. High level professionals have power. Journalists and political correspondents have power. Encourage more black people to get in there and project the black voice.
Do take a lesson or two from the Civil Rights movement. While it seems like so long ago, the Civil Rights movement is not so far behind us and is quite parellel in many ways to what the black community is dealing with today. When they said we couldn’t sit on their buses, we either did it anyway (thanks Rosa), or we just decided to walk. We had less power then but took it all back.
Don’t white wash yourself. A lot, lot of blacks think that if you have a masters degree in Rocket Science, you are somehow immune from racial profiling, stop and frisk, and being shot in cold blood. It won’t. Deciding to not listen to rap music, not wear basketball shorts on the weekend, not speak in the latest slang, and not hang out with other black people, men especially, will not protect you. Embrace being black and demand respect. Being black should not be a threat. See this article.
Don’t kick those below you. I notice that when some black people start to feel removed from black stereotypes (i.e. they are college educated, come from a two parent married household, homeowners, married, white picket fence, dog & 2.5 kids), instead of reaching a hand out and encouraging others and lifting them up, they feel so superior that they want the gap between themselves and the stereotypical black to be large and evident. That is not a path for success or progress.
What do you think we need to do after Ferguson and what should we be avoiding?