Systematic racial oppression is horrible. It permeates every aspect of social/economic/civil life in this country. But as I have stated in other posts, racism is ultimately a tool of capitalism because it creates a permanent underclass that simply uses different skin tones as it’s defining criteria. As resistance to different aspects of the system has come about, the mechanics of racial oppression has morphed and evolved but has never moved away from its root goal of economic exploitation.
Much of the hyper-consumerism present in the African-American community is actively encouraged because millions of people outside the community depend on our compulsion to spend it all till it’s gone. Even when we can’t afford to splurge, the cost of our necesseties are routinely priced higher than the same things outside our neighborhoods. This economic targeting paired with racialized biases in all areas of wealth creation have lead to our current situation.
If you read many people in the African-American activist community the answer is simple: Buy Black. Just replace non-black businesses with businesses owned by black people. But in my opinion that is an oversimplifacation that may help a minority of African-Americans that can gather the resources to open businesses but does nothing to help the overall situation of Black people in America. It is my belief that we can only be free if we change how we spend our money and not just where.
Let’s use Jordans as an example. They are “woke” Black people’s favorite punching bag and with just cause. It’s a major corporate product with a black figurehead that has made millions off the consumer loyalty of Black customers while offering little to nothing in return. Now the Buy Black squad rightly says that loyalty to Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc. is misplaced and that if you are going to buy sneakers, then priority should be given to black-owned companies that contribute to the community. But I contend that while that may make a few black people very wealthy in the hopes that it trickles down and ripples throughout the community (sound familiar?), we need to open up the discussion about why we are paying over $100 on shoes that are not repairable and designed for a short wear life.
Frugality and savings in a capitalist society that relys on the majority of the population to practice neither is the best way to undermine the system short of outright revolution. It is my belief that African-Americans will never experience any real kind of liberation under a free market, capitalist economy so incorporating these practices into our daily lives is vital.