Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Classic Corner: So Now What?! Part 2 (Call to Action)

By Da CogNegro

There are a large portion of us who seek change but are often perplexed on how we can initiate and maintain such endeavors. A common misnomer, as it relates to activism, is that it has to take the form of large gatherings of galvanized individuals in centralized or designated areas. There will always be the need to for foot soldiers! I applaud and honor those who have dedicated and sacrificed themselves via this particular measure. However, not everyone has the emotional and mental makeup to engage in this form of protest. Some do not seek the attention that such a position draws and though we may initially resent or lambaste such persons for not evoking enough “pride in the cause”, we must realize that livelihoods may be at stake. So what can we do then if we fall into that category?

One of the most effective ways to create change is through economic boycott. Already, there have been thousands who have refused to shop on Black Friday. Thus demonstrating their disdain for the Ferguson decision. What a great endeavor! However, it doesn't have to start and stop at that initiative! Don’t support entities that do not have your best interest at hands. This includes fast food establishments that serve unhealthy items targeted at the uninformed, clothing companies who wish not see your body adorned in their products, radio and television stations that broadcast sounds and images, which perpetuate damaging stereotypes, created by soulless artist who profit off the plight of the underprivileged, and businesses who refuse to have proper representation of people of color. Use you hard earned money to support causes that champion our people and promote entrepreneurship instead of holding them to some rigid criterion that others do not have to undergo. Let us not be like the ones that Carter G. Woodson spoke about in The Miseducation of The Negro when he states the following:

Miseducated by the oppressors of the race, such Negores expect the Negro business man to fail anyway. They seize, then, upon unfavorable reports, aggregate the situation, and circulate falsehoods throughout the world and their undoing...The mis-educated Negroes then stands by saying: I told you so. Negroes cannot run business(42)

Though it may seem like a minor infringement or oversight, I was quite dismayed when the majority of my peers and constitutes neglected to view the groundbreaking film Dear White People. Financially supporting such artistic endeavors will let Hollywood know that we no longer will feed on what THEY dictate to be entertainment and representations of us. If we can purchase twenty dollar IMAX passes to catch the latest Avengers or Hunger Games “flick”, then we surely can pay the matinee price for a film that challenges the status quo and our own self destructive apathy. Something this seemingly minuet and insignificant can indeed be the catalyst for greater activism

Mentoring can indeed be one of the most rewarding, personal experiences. It allows an individual to witness the growth and maturation of a person while instilling ,within him or her, self worth and confidence. There are plenty of children and young adults who are yearning for attention and guidance. How much of a benefit would it be for them to see, engage and be influence by someone, who is a success in their own right, that isn't an entertainer, athlete or one who engages in illegal activities? Our youth aren't exposed to positive reflections of themselves often. Rather, they are bombarded with negative imagery on a daily basis as if it is a blatant assault on their very existence! One can simply turn on the television to see the validity of this assertion. With the value of black life depreciating with each public slaying, it will take strong minded individuals to reinforce to susceptible that WE DO matter and WE HAVE and WE CAN continue to make positive strides and impact. So sign up at a local community center, church, school or even take under your wing a wayward relative. Anything to resurrect the long gone belief that it takes a village to raise a child.

No change is possible with out first taking an in-depth, honest look in the mirror! (Myself included!) There exist within us a rather potent superiority/inferiority dichotomy. To supplement our battled esteems, we will often go to great lengths to emulate the majority in feeble attempts to gain counterfeit acceptance. Once we feel we have gained the sense of “belonging”, be it through the acquisition of materialistic items or educational accolades, we feel that it is insulting to be amassed with our alleged lower tier counterparts. And when we do muster the courage to express opinions that would go against the “majority rule”, rarely does our “social commentary” move beyond water cooler or couch talk. Simply for the fact that it does not effect US directly. And why is that? Is it a fear of being ostracized and labeled an insurgent? Or have we been  patronized to the point that we have been lulled into false sense of equality due to the fact that there is a percentage of us who have perceivably achieved the “American Dream”? Do we feel that our education has positioned us above the disenfranchised? Or that our wardrobe, nameplate on our desk, car(s) in our driveway, size of our lawns, credit limit on our cards and stamps on our passports absolves us of our social responsibility? We often times blame the uneducated and jettisoned for the perception of the value of black life and chide them for their “savagery”. But how much more refined are we when we mouthed the lyrics to music that devalues black existence ,adulterates the view of masculinity and femininity, and glorifies counter productive activity, in the VIP section of a swanky establishment? If the truth is a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps we should change our diet!

We are a beautiful ,eclectic, array of influential individuals! From fashion to dialect, down to musical endeavors and scientific innovations, we have always been, as my Nanny would put it, “Movers and Shakers! So to internalize that we have no value is prosperous! Yes, to ignore the systematic machinations that have been created for strategic annihilation of a people would be delusional and fool hearty! But we can not be cogs in the machine as it relates to our extermination fueled by our own self hatred! A platform can't be built to funnel to the masses if we can destroy the foundation. Reach one, teach one, and plant the seeds to create shade for the next generation! And let the words of Ms. Esperanza Spalding leave permanent markings on your soul:

Now maybe no one else has told you so
But you're golden, baby
Black Gold with a diamond soul
Think of all the strength you have in you 
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Built us a civilization


  1. I wonder how many people were affected enough by this event and this post to stop some of there habits that hinder our community and how many read this and went about their daily lives because they thought it did not directly affect them due to the neighborhood they live in the they job they have. It is that mindset that is going to have more shirts with RIP (insert name) next year.

  2. Very provocative post. I'm especially intrigued by the notion of "counterfeit acceptance." Is it counterfeit because there's a self-denial we endure to get it, or is it counterfeit because we are only tolerated and never truly accepted?