I debated the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest with a friend of mine yesterday.
I told him the protest was not going to result in any meaningful change for black people in the UK or US.
Accusing me of being pessimistic.
I explained to him the things we were asking for were not specific enough.
What exactly does a reformed Police force look like?
Stop institutional racism.
What would be the evidence to show that institutional racism has been reduced?
And what would happen if our demands are not met?
Not until we are able to provide specificity to our demands, we do have a prayer.
Supporting Black Own Businesses
In an attempt to suggest specific actions we could take, my friend suggested blacks bought from black owned businesses.
Splendid idea, but is it practical?
He complained that blacks went to Asians businesses to shop instead of black owned businesses to save a few pounds.
His logic was why can’t blacks shop at black owned businesses even if they were more expensive than those of Asians.
I asked why couldn’t black entrepreneurs structure their businesses to be competitive?
He said Asians pull together resources to order in bulk for which reason they are able to sell cheaper than black owned businesses.
So, why can’t groups of black entrepreneurs pull together their resources to enable them gain bargaining power?
His response, it would be difficult.
Why would it be difficult for groups of black business owners to pull together their resources to increase their collective bargaining power?
As far as I am aware, the US congress or the British Parliament have not passed any law banning black businesses from pulling together resources.
Seeking Simple Solutions to Complex Problems
This is the problem we face as black people.
We are trying to solve complex problems with simplistic solutions.
For me, the solution to institutional racism and racial equality is simple.
The black nation needs to be prepared to pay the price for the promise.
It sounds like I am contradicting myself.
On one hand I said we are trying to solve complex problems with simplistic solution on the other hand I am suggesting the answer is simple.
There is a difference between simple and simplistic answers.
The problem is complex.
The answer is simple but it is not necessarily simplistic.
I said simple because the answer is clear to everyone but us.
A simplistic answer is my friend suggesting blacks shop from black owned businesses even if they are more expensive.
A simple answer is black entrepreneurs pulling together their resources to become competitive.
There can be no simpler answer than that.
I think I deserve a Noble Prize for coming up with such brilliant idea.
Simple Things Blacks Can Do
Simply for me is black players refusing to play for their respective national teams until there was change.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
Simply for me is black establishing our own banks to support black businesses.
It’s not easy, but simple.
There are lots of simple steps like those we can take that will make an enormous difference.
But we don’t want to take those steps because like my friend said they are difficult.
It was difficult for Mohammed Ali when he refused to go to Vietnam.
It was difficult for Colin Kaepernick.
It was difficult for Martin Luther King.
It was difficult for Rosa Parks.
It was difficult for Nelson Mandela.
If we want to end institutional racism and racial injustice, it is going to be difficult for us.
Demonstration is too simplistic to solve complex problems like institutional racism and racial injustice.
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