Rosa Parks Thinks You’re a Bitch. » VSB

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Rosa Parks Thinks You’re a Bitch.

AP Photo/Montgomery County Sheriff’s office


While we were wading through the remnants of  #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies and waiting for “The Wiz” we almost forgot that December 1st marked the sixtieth anniversary of the day Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and said to James Blake – “Nah.”

While the actual quote may be slightly different, every year I like to remind people that Rosa was not just some lady who happened to be caught in a landmark incident. Since childhood she had a long history of fighting for freedom and racial justice. Her family were supporters of Marcus Garvey. She married an activist for the Scottsboro Boys and even joined the Black Power movement later in life. Yes, Rosa Parks was a G.

I can’t help but wonder what Rosa would think of this generation and how we have carried (or dropped) the torch handed to us by the movement she sparked, but after the last few days of media stories and controversies I know what her perception of the people of this era would be:

We some bitches.

When someone forwarded me the clip of a toddler being robbed of what I assume was a deeply discounted vegetable juicer, all I could think was “Damn, I hope they don’t have wi-fi in the part of heaven Rosa is in.” I wasn’t concerned for the safety of the child or angry at the white lady who was dropping ‘bows on a little Black baby barely out of pull-ups. My initial reaction was:

“I thought we were supposed to be boycotting Black Friday?”

During the Montgomery Bus Boycott, 90% of Black people refused to ride on the city’s buses. Since then, activists and organizers have been trying to explain to anyone who would listen that flexing the power of the Black dollar could bring about substantial change quickly. I’m sure the Chicago protests that seriously dented one of the country’s most famous retail districts in reaction to the execution of Laquan McDonald put a smile on Mrs. Parks’ face. Organizers around the country spent all of 2015 getting the word out about not spending money on  the busiest shopping day of the year, and the hashtag #NotOneDime was even trending on Twitter late Thursday.

Then we see this motherfucker in Wal-Mart bear-hugging 2 cheap kitchen gadgets, kung fu-ing over a juice extractor like she’s training her son for the Hunger Games. Because I am a diligent journalist (really because I’m Petty Pendergrass) I went online and checked the price of the juicer at the center of the melee.

It retails for $39.

I’m not sure of the math for anything I can’t count on my fingers, but I’m just gonna say if we took the 1955 bus fare and adjusted for inflation, I bet Sister Rosa lost more than $39 by getting kicked off the Cleveland Avenue bus that day, and it is not just about this anonymous judo-juicing woman. She is just indicative of the scores of shameless folks who didn’t adhere to a nationwide boycott because they might save seventeen dollars on a flat screen. I hope Rosa thinks this new generation is just frugal instead of selfish, entitled wimps not willing to sacrifice a good deal to further the cause of freedom for their people, but I doubt she thinks that because I bet you one of my fellow Petty Shabazzes probably showed Rosa that video. There is probably good 802.11n wi-fi behind the pearly gates, so Rosa knows  — we some bitches.

By Sunday evening I had almost overcome my shame when I sat down to check out the Soul Train Awards.

OK, I’ll be honest with you — I didn’t watch no damn Soul Train Awards. The Soul Train Awards are like the BET Awards’ uncle who still wears a shag haircut and smokes Benson & Hedges menthol. I always say I’m gonna watch them, but not really. And I’m glad I didn’t, because I probably would’ve thrown my leftover Thanksgiving macaroni at my TV when Erykah Badu introduced R. Kelly by saying “this man has done more for Blacks than anyone…”

From what I’ve read about her, I believe Rosa Parks was a good, Christian woman. When I picture her in my mind she’s even wearing those thick-soled shoes that church ushers buy, and a white knitted shawl. I imagine her as a demure, tasteful woman, but I know when she heard that introduction, she said, “what the f***???” I know I did.

What the hell has R. Kelly ever done for Black people besides popularize the golden shower? He performed at a venue near me recently and I kept receiving emails about tickets. They were pretty cheap, and I assumed it was because no one is fucking with R. Kelly anymore. I know some of us still shop at the racial-profiling mecca Barney’s and pop bottles of jigaboo-shunning Cristal, but I knew in my heart of hearts that — no matter how catchy the hook was — we just don’t fuck with pedophiles because I watch Locked Up and saw every episode of Oz.  Apparently I was wrong. He is selling music and shows across the country because will still give people money and standing ovations no matter what they do to Black people. Even our children. Because we’re bitches.

“But that was just one incident,” I said to myself after hearing about the Soul Train Awards, and tried to sleep off the embarrassment I felt. I awoke to a national story about a group of over 100 Black religious leaders who were having a private meeting with Donald Trump. I remembered that the Montgomery boycott and much of the resistance for racial equality was organized by the ministers and pastors of Black churches, so I know the mother of the civil rights movement was just pacing back and forth on the streets paved with gold muttering “these motherfuckers…” over and over again. I’m not saying I think Donald Trump is racist.

I’m saying I know Donald Trump is a racist, and you do too. To see these men and women aligning themselves with someone who once said “laziness is a trait in Blacks” and trumpeted how he hated Blacks counting his money for the promise of — I-have-no-idea-what — illustrates how easily anyone can become a “leader.” Then again, if you attend a church whose pastor wants to attend a private “Make America Great Again” meeting —  “I support Donald Trump” probably isn’t the craziest shit you’ve heard from your pulpit. I’m sure that fact pacified Rosa’s anger for a second.

The sad part about this is, no one is embarrassed because we remember the Montgomery Boycott like we remember George Washington crossing the Delaware or Tupac shooting at the Atlanta police: A semi-fictional legendary story from a time long ago. When this day comes, we should all reflect on her courage, examine our lives from her perspective and ask ourselves what Rosa would think of our sacrifices.

Rosa would be saddened.

Because Rosa thinks we’re bitches.

Michael Harriot

Michael Harriot is a podcaster, spoken word poet, editor of the daily digital magazine and one of the greatest peanut butter and jelly sandwich makers of our time.

  • I’ll be honest. I wasn’t here for the “let’s Boycott Black Friday” movement. Mostly because, after black Friday, comes regular Saturday, and I still gotta pay rent on the first. I would LOVE to patronize MORE black owned businesses, but sadly, most black people wanna cut hair and do makeup…or have Instagram boutiques selling papier mache dresses and bundles of Cambodian weave…so…All I’m saying is…I still gotta eat, and the grocery store is owned by a white person. I can only get my hair done but so many times…

    • Tina

      I support Black businesses whenever I can, but I must say I’ve been to one too many Black owned restaurants and gotten terrible f*cking customer service.

      I came across this on FB, will probably start referencing this more. officialblackwallstreet dot .com

      • Question

        Thanks for posting link.

      • Val

        Just a question; how many White owned restaurants have you been to with bad service?

        Sometimes, and this is not directed at you specifically, we will tear to shreds a Black owned business for giving bad service on a given day and swear off all Black businesses.

        • Tina

          Completely get where you’re coming from. Customer service is a HUGE deal to me. So I’m not accepting that sh*t from anyone. I said this somewhere else on the thread, but I will go to a Black business even after receiving poor service in the hopes that it was an off day. I don’t do this with anyone else. If you don’t treat me well that first time, I won’t be back…and I may write a negative Yelp review on that as*.

          I completely agree that there are folks out there who don’t support BOBs bc they got sass from a cashier back in 2002, but I’m not one of them [not saying you said I was lol].

          • Val

            Exactly, Tina. We can be so hard on ourselves and each other. Just a little understanding and patience can go a long way.

        • fxd8424

          I have to agree Val. We get bad service and swear them all off. If we get bad service from whites, we find another white establishment. We seem to hold our own to a higher standard.

    • I try to support Black when I can. It’s mainly in the realm of jewelry and tee shirts because those seem to be more readily available online boutiques. My GP is a Black man, though. A Howard grad.

      On the Black Friday stuff–I’ve never really been here for it anyway. I shopped it once, and that’s only because my cousin was like, “What?! You’re not shopping?” when I was back in LA visiting. I’d love to be like I have altruistic reasons for not shopping Black Friday, but really it’s because of some form of PTSD, I’m sure. Up until I graduated college, I worked retail at the mall, and I *always* worked Black Friday. Always. Once I left that path, I said never again. So, I don’t mess with Black Friday as a consumer.

      • Tina

        I find it completely overwhelming. I can’t even bring myself to shop in a disheveled store on any given day because I just find it really stressful. I’m not trying to be around all those folks, especially when half of them are out their damn mind.

        • I sometimes will still refold an article of clothing after I’ve looked at it, or if I bump something off the rack, I’ll pick it up and put it back. I bring clothes out of dressing rooms (on the rare occasion I make use of the dressing room).

          I been out the retail game for over a decade, but these habits die hard.

          • Tina

            I worked briefly in retail and I don’t think I’ve been treated worse by folks than when I was working there. They talk to you any kind of way. People would see me fold something and walk right behind me and tear that sh*i up. Like while I was still there lol. People can be rude as f*ck sometimes.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              I remember when I worked at a K B toy store when the Power Rangers first came out, we had the brilliant idea of opening the store before tagging the merchandise. One woman snatched a pink power ranger out of another woman’s hand. The other woman cold cocked the woman and she went tumbling into me knocking down the box with the power rangers in them.

              Folks went in and I got into a fetal position and waited for the frenzy to end. I always ensure I’m out of town at Thanksgiving and Banking is not off on Fridays so I was able to avoid being put on the schedule.

              • Tina

                This is sad and hilarious at the same time. I will never understand the appeal of Black Friday. Then again, I’m not really into electronics. I’m certainly not fighting someone’s grandma over a crock pot.

              • TeeChantel

                See. This is why I don’t do Black Friday. Someone got stabbed last year at Wal-Mart and I was like nope, not for me.

      • Right, but look at the things you mentioned. How much costume jewelry can you buy? And really when times get hard…NO ONE is buying jewelry…EVERYONE needs food always. I’m really not here for EVERY black person tryna be a creative and say “support black business” …like girl…how man graphic tees do you think I can wear?

        • Ha! There *are* a lot of graphic tees up in there.

          I hear you about the necessities. I do wish that there were a Black-owned Trader Joe’s; I’d shop there.

          • As would I. I would drive the 25 minutes away (where MY closest Trader Joe’s is located) JUST to buy there (when there is a store down the street from me) if it were black owned. Because It would be worth it to me…but sadly…That place doesn’t exist.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      When I look at my bills every month, the only money i can spend at black owned business is for prepared food.

      Rent, water, sewage, electricity, student loans, car payment, insurance, metro…

      But what kind of businesses do black people start?

      Barbecue spots
      Chicken shacks
      Salons and barbershops
      Dentist, doctor, lawyer, accountant
      Pressure washing and car detail
      Sneaker and athletic gear
      Black soap and custom chewsticks
      T shirt and jeans made in China

      Some of these might make the owner rich, if they hit big. But it’s hard to scale up. Most of the workers are not making a living wage.

      If you don’t want the other man’s financing…( Especially when you can’t get it)

      There’s not a lot of profit margin in most of these niches. Not a lot of weekly repeat customers.

      And collectively a few bad customers can throw off your revenue, and a bad employee can kill your store. Giving out hookups and stealing stuff on the low.

      Most the folks on that Buy Black don’t even understand business.

      These experts got folks doing business plans and selling llc’s to folks with no vision.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        It takes some work but supporting black business outside of what you’ve identified above can be done.

        Black Owned Banks

        Black Insurance Companies


        Ariel Mutual Fund

        Calvert Funds

        Men’s Grooming Products


        We’re out there we just need to share the names of Black Owned companies we’ve had positive expirerences with

        • I really want to buy Bevel for myself, but I don’t know how crazy that sounds for leg shaving, yanno?

          • Sigma_Since 93

            The razor works quite nicely. You may need to switch up the moisturizing and shaving cream products.

            • Do they come with the razor, or are they sold separately? What I mean is, could I just buy the razor without having to worry about accessories that aren’t for me?

              • Sigma_Since 93

                No. It comes as a package. You get the razor and the accessories every month (three month minimum per contract)

                • Oh, OK. I’ll have to really think about this, but thanks for answering my questions!

          • Bevel is amazing, bought one for my father and he LOVES it.

        • QueLoQue

          Yea there’s quite a few black owned companies out there doing things, and with the internet available to us, patronizing them should be easier than ever.

          For anyone interested, I have list I keep of ‘atypical’ Black owned businesses that I come across (gift wrap, lingerie, furniture, etc.) that I can email to you. Also, youtuber sensei-aishitemasu has a series called Black Friday, where she reviews a Black-Owned product once a week.

          • TeeChantel

            Dope. I’d like this list. Please send it to my email:

          • Post the list here? What drove my comment was that basically for my day to day living, it’s VERY difficult for me to patronize black businesses. This difficulty increases exponentially when you don’t live in a Chocolate City, or a metropolitan area. Where I live there are no black owned grocery stores, dry cleaners, cab companies…etc. All the major cell phone, internet and cable companies are not black owned…and to that effect are there any SMALL black owned such companies? Every day of life we’ve got to give money to non-black people, just to live a life. I don’t see “boycotting” for ONE day changing ANY of that. The bus boycott worked because they did it until it WORKED. This wasn’t an overnight change.

            • TeeChantel

              I assumed she had a long list.

              • QueLoQue

                *He. And I suggested email because I have links for all the businesses, but I never considered whether those links would carry over. But let me update the list a bit before I post it.

      • Erica Nicole Griffin

        Don’t forget about child care, life coaching, landscaping, electrical work, houses of worship, funeral homes, home health care, mid wifery and home cooks. We do really valuable stuff – you may not need it right away – but we still have some incredibly useful skills to the community. We definitely should treat each other when we are customers but that is all internalize distrust and a whole other battle to fight.

    • Eclectic Fête

      I literally just logged in JUST to up vote this comment! And I agree!! I’d rather support an AMAZING, black-owned business with excellent service than to pretend to give a $h!t for one day and be business as usual the next. We need a better strategy! The bus boycotts and other movements worked because they were targeted to specific LOCAL areas–not nationwide!! We can stand together on a national front, but what are we doing down the street in our own neighborhoods?!

      • EXACTLY. I recently spoke to someone who didn’t get my disdain for this “one-day activism” I’m like if we REALLY wanted to flex our financial muscle…a lot of us would be homeless, jobless, carless, foodless…and alot of other “less” within a few months. I currently am paying a HEFTY premium to support a local black entrepreneur who has opened his own fitness facility. at $100/month, for working out…Please don’t question my dedication. I could be paying $10 elsewhere.

        • Eclectic Fête

          I LOVE that and totally agree! I got into a huge fight with a friend because I wouldn’t shop at a black owned bookstore he loved in Baltimore because I GOT NO SERVICE!! Not even a HI!! When did we as a people get to the point where we don’t even acknowledge one another and STILL expect someone to come out of pocket?! He definitely got said book from Barnes & Noble for his birthday because I refused! I support small businesses and black-owned businesses every chance I get, but at the end of the day, MONEY IS GREEN; not black or white and I go where they treat me well!

          • Tina

            THIS, THIS RIGHT HERE. I’m not giving you my money when I get piss poor service. I don’t care what color you are. And I will even go more than once to a Black owned business to give them the benefit of the doubt (something I won’t do anywhere else) and it’s always the same bs.

            However, I will pay more to shop at a BOB with great customer service just to support them.

            • PhlyyPhree

              Do you tell the Black owned business how poor their service was?
              I often find that if I’m somewhere and I get poor service, it is wayyyy easier for me to speak up and ask for better/offer guidance as to what could be done better in a Black owned establishment.
              I’m not saying just be blindly beholden to somewhere that continually sh its on you and your dollars, but is there only ONE Black-owned (insert whatever establishment you’re trying to patronize) in the area?

              • Tina

                Now this is something I don’t do (unless it’s about my order or something)…part of it is “why do I have to tell you this?” and the other part is me just not feeling bold enough to be like “yall aint sh*t for this” You know I’m the complete opposite. It’s easier for me to to do this in a white owned establishment.

                “is there only ONE Black-owned (insert whatever establishment you’re trying to patronize) in the area?”

                I live in DC so I regularly support Black businesses. I said somewhere else on the thread that I will go to a BOB more than once even after receiving poor service just to support them. This is not something I would do at a non-Black establishment.

                BUT I will definitely consider your suggestion, bc how can they improve if they aren’t getting that feedback.

            • AlwaysCC

              the only courtesy i give BOB is an extra chance to make it “right” if they mess up. other businesses may just get cut off immediately.

              • Tina

                And I’m really don’t mean to come off like I’m hating on BOBs. I shop Black (and local) frequently, but if I pay money and receive poor service I always feel some kind of way afterwards. So now if you’ve shown me you don’t appreciate my business, you won’t get my money.

              • Val

                I agree and also if they didn’t get it right because they’re a new business then I’m going to stay with them as long as I feel they are trying.

        • Pinks

          My grandmother bought stock from this young black entrepreneur a few years ago. Highly educated, well-spoken, seemed like he was about to change the world. She invested all of her money and some she had saved for me, and he ran off somewhere with upwards of 4 million dollars from all his victims. I got a settlement check for $21 last week.

          My friend’s bday was a few weeks ago and he had a lil gathering at this lounge in the city. It’s in Harlem, black-owned, has good food and plays reggae music so we thought we were in business. We walk in and the lady checking IDs says “Don’t start no fights, don’t smoke no weed, there’s a 2 drink minimum. Support black business!” 10 mintues later, she’s behind the bar cursing at a customer who asked for a stronger drink. They charged my husband’s credit card $50 four times.

          I could go on and on, but it’s so hard to support our own sometimes when our own takes advantage of us just because they’re our own. I’ve accepted substandard service and products just to make sure I’m holding down some brown folks, but I’m not at a point in my life where I’m like “Nah..prove to me why you deserve my business.” My dollars matter.

          • sheesh! SMH I mean sheisters DEF come in all shapes sizes and races…but when you’re OWN 1.) assumes you have no act right and then 2.) reveals THEY have no act right…it’s like, why did I come here again?

            • Pinks

              Right?! Hubby was like “Is it the dreads?” thinking this was said only to us, but apparently it wasn’t.

              To top it off, they didn’t have any more Patron, but still charged him for two shots of their house liquor. He brought it up to the bartender and she didn’t apologize, just voided out the sale and made a new receipt. Like BISH I don’t HAVE to be here. Act like you appreciate my business!!!!

    • PhlyyPhree

      Nope nopity nope. There are plenty of black owned business that do things OTHER than hair and makeup and the like. I’m not saying that isn’t where an abundance of our talent lies and that you don’t have to look a little harder to find those businesses but they are there.
      We (my generation) are some selfish a ss shortsighted, materialistic wimps. Period.

      • Where? Where I live they are few, and far between. Most the black owned businesses around me do not offer necessities…THIS is what I’m talking about. If no one is offering me the things I NEED…well then your services will be the first on the list of things to go. If we DID decide to support ONLY black owned business…where will I eat? Where will I live? My landlord is white.

        • DebKII

          its hard but not impossible. it takes serious research fro what this article says

        • QueLoQue

          Nobody’s saying to ONLY deal with Black businesses, even if you end up in the poorhouse; we live in western society, there’ no escaping that. But to make a serious effort to buy Black whenever you can.

        • PhlyyPhree

          Well, here’s the thing, it wouldnt be easy, but it could be done. The black owned restaurants may not be close to you, so are you willing to endure your hunger for the length of time it takes to drive to one or buy and prepare your own food at home instead of getting a quick fix from chipotle? There are landlords with rental properties, but they might not be in a neighborhood you’re used to. Are you willing to move there? And this is no dis at you because I could do more myself. It was no skin for me to say “I boycotted black Friday” because I slept all day.
          I often ask myself “How uncomfortable am I willing to make myself and my family?” because change wont ever really happen until we get enough of us to collectively determine that we’re willing to go through a long period of sustained sacrifice in order to get the results we want.

          • I often prepare food at home because…I don’t have it like that to just be eating out. When I’m saying “where will I eat” I’m saying…the grocery stores that I shop at to buy the supplies I need to cook my own food…are white owned. So…there goes that idea. The black owned eateries in MY area, are mainly soul food joints, and as delicious as that is…I’m not finna be eating soul food every time I go out. My point is…for the most part, when a new BOB pops up…it seems to be the brainchild of a black creative. Which is great, I’m HAPPY so many of us are creatively inclined, however…WHO is meeting the needs of the community? Because art is a luxury. This is coming from someone who freelanced makeup artistry and studied fine art in college BTW.

            • Wild Cougar

              I agree with you on the creative economy. Everybody wants to be a creative on IG and thinks they are gonna make a living on that. I tend to think there is only so many dollars for all the creatives out there, but we will see.

              • The thing is, in a thriving economy, there will be more room for creatives. However, if there is economic strife, creatives will be the first to feel the blow. Creative endeavors are always a luxury. When you are struggling to pay the light bill, no one is buying a painting.

    • Val

      Getting a business loan is difficult for most Black folks due to a system that is and always has been rigged against us. So that limits the businesses most or many can start.

      • DebKII

        Exactly, theres this accumulated wealth gap thats stopping us from blowing all our money in trying to build a trader joes.

      • tgtaggie

        I somewhat agree with you Val. There are other creative ways a black person can raise capital to start a business. Raising capital via family, mentors, government/private grants, etc. is the other most common way. Since the government lessen the requirements on crowdfunding, there is a wealth of opportunities in that space.

        For example right now in real estate investing now there is a big push for crowdfunding for projects. So that means the average person can invest a small amount in large real estate projects. And achieve roi better than they can get in a 401k. I think that’s a great opportunity for a black person(with the necessary experience and background) to create a business like that to invest/develop real estate in minority communities.

        • Val

          It’s obviously possible to do but there are roadblocks that exist for us that don’t exist for other groups. As DebK alluded to below, it’s very difficult to start a small business when there is very little actual wealth in the family, especially over generations.

          Also, most small businesses or at least a huge percentage are family founded and run. So, this means with each generation it should get easier.

          Which is the opposite situation for us. Each generation is having to try to start a business rather than growing the family business.

          Also, as an historically oppressed minority, many of us tend to be risk adverse financially or have little experience in investing. Which makes getting loans from friends, family, mentors, etc difficult.

          So, yes it is possible for more of us to start a business but don’t discount the roadblocks that we face.

          • tgtaggie

            Oh I know from personal experience. I run a black owned family business, so I’m well aware of the issues.

  • Question

    You didn’t watch the Soul Train Awards, so you missed this:

  • Ana W. Barraza

    “Rosa thinks we’re bitches.” should be printed on tshirts and distributed on the line outside walmart on Black Friday 2016

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Along with the Boondocks MLK monologue.

  • Tina

    For the record, I’m still mad at that white woman. How you gon steal from a child and then try to act like someone is attacking YOU?!

    • Man, listen. That chick said, “Why are you being so aggressive?!” [even though she’d just a nano second before snatched a box out of a child’s arms] and added, “Stop it! You’re scaring me!” [code for…well, we know what that was code for].

      I was like, this is the entitlement. Right here.

      • Tina

        “Why are you being so aggressive?”

        GIRL….I was LIVID when I saw that video. At first I couldn’t figure out if she was mentally ill or if she really had the gall to pull that sh*t. Then I was like “naw, she knew what she was doing”

        • She had to! All those other boxes on the ground, and you’re snatching out of a child’s hand. She knew what she was doing.

      • Pinks

        white people’s modus operandi in a 34 second clip:

        *attacks person in lesser position of power*
        *person tries to defend themselves/doesn’t take white person’s ish*
        White person: WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME??!!!

        • #TooAccurate

        • RafW

          I once had a lady who nearly hit me with HER car threaten to call the police on me because I took her to task about it. Naturally I got angrier because I felt like she’s basically trying to threaten me with death because I demonstrated a right to exist. She knew what she was saying and it ate me up. AND then I did something my mother would frown on, I told her to “Do it B@tch!”… because I’m a natural born gambler. No Black man needs to have the cops show up for any reason, right or wrong, it just ain’t healthy. Y’all know she didn’t because I’m alive to write this. lol?

          • Pinks

            Pretty much. somehow you would’ve become the aggressor and things could’ve all gone so downhill from there.

    • THAT!!! Get your hustle on… but take nada from MY child.. and that’s it . She didn’t take it from the mother! That mom was waaaaay calmer than I would’ve been. Talk about dragging somebody I’ve fought in bars for less (when I was younger)…mess with my baby- I’ma catch a case.

      • QuirlyGirly

        You don’t touch the chirren! So yes a beat down was in order. I dont have kids but if she would have done that to my niece or nephews. Houston we have a problem

    • LyricMeThis

      That mom was not serious. All the boxes woulda been on the floor so I could properly get at that lady. You do not mess with the babies!!

    • White woman entitlement is the highest level there is lol

    • JamesInstagram

      The more I looked at that video, the more it screamed, “Race-baiting trolling.” Really, there were plenty of — what were those, steamers — on the floor. I think the mother and the white woman were both in on it, and used that poor little boy as a pawn. Look at the way the white woman pivots.

  • DBoySlim

    “She is just indicative of the scores of shameless folks who didn’t
    adhere to a nationwide boycott because they might save seventeen dollars
    on a flat screen.”

    These sales allow some people to purchase things they normally couldn’t. I’m not shaming anyone.

    • Lea Thrace

      I am. Cause if you couldnt afford it because on that seventeen dollar difference, you have no business spending that money. Save your pockets up.

      • DBoySlim

        We all buy things we can’t afford.

        • Lea Thrace

          No. We all do not. I do not. If I cant afford it, I dont buy it or I wait till I can afford it.

          That other mentality is how people get themselves into and stay in financial peril.

          • DBoySlim

            Let me amend that. When people can’t afford something and it goes on sale, they buy it.

          • -h.h.h.-

            No. We all do not. I do not. If I cant afford it, I dont buy it or I wait till I can afford it.

            that’s the thing. for a lotta people, they save so they can afford it….on Black Friday.

            i was on line Thursday. not at Walmart. got a 55inch for 250. bought the same brand 6 years ago so i can vouch for the quality.

            • Lea Thrace

              Thats what i mean by wait till i can afford it. I am more so talking about people who go out to these things knowing they wont make rent or some important bill but they must have that tv on black friday cause its $100 off.

        • PDL – Cape Girl

          Nope, no we don’t. I don’t want to shame or knock Black Friday, because I know it may be the only time a struggling parent can get what they need to get at a discount, but the best financially sound thing anyone can do is leave it at the store if you can’t afford. It’s best to do without than to do so, straining your pockets.

      • $17 is a facetious statement tho.

    • Aren’t folks really just buying shoddy products made specifically for Black Friday anyway? There’s a reason why that 60″ flat screen is going for $99.

      • DBoySlim

        They are the same items that are sold all year. They are being sold cheaply for the same reason auto dealers cut prices, they want to make room for new inventory. Also, they make most of their money this time of year. Would you rather have one person buy a $100 TV or three people buy a $40 TV?

      • I got the TV I have now 4 years ago on Black Friday at a steal.

        • TeeChantel


          • I’m sorry…I’m not righteous and I’m not perfect…and I got a skirt for work for $1.97 on Black Friday. I do what I gotta do.

    • Vanity in Peril

      It’s called sacrifice, though, they weren’t buying food and water. Folks needed to catch the bus to get to their very real job w their very real racist boss back then too.

  • TeeChantel

    Oh, hello :)

    I tend to not shop on Black Friday, ’cause fights. So I try to avoid stores on that day like the plague. But I do get your point. I do sometimes imagine what Rosa, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth would think if they were alive during these times. WWRD. Apparently, we were supposed to boycott Cyber Monday, too. Which was a bit hard for me because I was too busy searching for decent airfare for a trip next month.

  • I spent my black friday (and saturday) celebrating black history, ironically. Me and parental units went to the MLK historic site and the APEX museum, roamed around the Sweet Auburn district and ate at a caribbean spot. Even donated a few dollars here and there. *pats self on the back for having a ridiculously pro-black weekend, unintentional as it may have been* lol

    As far as consistently supporting black owned businesses goes: somebody really needs to get on top of developing a yellow pages for black businesses nationwide, if such a thing doesn’t already exist. I bought one for Atlanta and i had one for Tampa when i lived there. It definitely would make supporting black businesses easier if we actually knew what and where they were (aside from salons and eateries).

    • TeeChantel

      Same here. I spent the greater part of Saturday at the museums in DC (the museum of National Records and Archives, to be exact) in search of the Book of Negroes. I currently have an issue with how our history is being displayed to the masses. It turns out – as told to me by a black security guard who worked there – they only put the book out in display during Black History Month. This general ticks me off because the Book of Immigrants is proudly on display in the museum along with the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. However, you want to keep the Book of Negroes hidden in the cut. I plan to write a letter to the museum explaining how that book is important and should be on display as well.

  • Val

    Actually I think the Black Baby-Boomer generation dropped the ball and this generation is picking it up. Just because the protests of today don’t look like the protests of yesterday doesn’t mean they aren’t valid and effective.

    • QueLoQue

      Yea organizations like the NAACP really dropped the ball when it came to passing the torch to the next generation.

      • Val

        The NAACP has actually become part of the problem.

        • QuirlyGirly

          So true! It seem like the next generation is starting from scratch.

        • Why do black folks still count the NAACP as a viable fighter in our war?

          • Val

            Nostalgia, I suppose. It used to be a great organization.

            • QuirlyGirly

              And I think it can be again but it will take some re-organization or re prioritization or re focus- I don’t know- but something with a re in front of it.

              • Rachel Dolezal #thatisall

                • cakes_and_pies

                  Chile Donald Sterling too

        • The problem with the NAACP is that they got way too enamored of their Civil Rights erase accomplishments. Like any organization, they got fat and happy on their results.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Some of this in conjunction with a loss of the synergies with the church and the support it count on from White folks / organizations.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        They didn’t drop the torch; folks couldn’t agree on a path forward and / or refused to get on board with initiatives.

        • Jennifer

          The priorities changed. If you finally got a piece of that pie after the movement of the 60s, you didn’t have the same concerns that folks still at the bottom were experiencing.

          • Val

            Yeah, some people of that generation seemed to be happy just to be ‘in the house’ and weren’t really thinking about making structural changes.

            • Sigma_Since 93

              When you look at the Civil Rights Movement, it was very focused. Once your in the house and you begin to look around, there’s a myriad of issues and folks couldn’t agree where to start:

              Wages – we just got in the door
              Women’s issues – nah
              Systemic racism
              Advancement – we just got in the door

              • Val

                I get that but does that mean you just do nothing?

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  No but the movements had no force; it was like poking someone with a finger vs hitting them with a fist.

                  • Val

                    And that, Sig, is the point I’m making.

                    • Janelle Doe

                      Hey Val, have you read Florynce “Flo” Kennedy ‘the life of a Black feminist radical’? I think you may appreciate it; the points the author makes fit very much in line with your sentiments.

                    • Val

                      No but it’s on my winter reading list now. Thanks.

        • Val

          Not so sure about that, Sig. When you have NAACP officials holding press conferences so racists can pretend to apologize then the organization is the problem.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Folks checked out loooong before that incident occurred.

          • Or burying the “N” word! #foh

      • Freebird

        they dropped the ball then sold it to the higest bidder.

      • Question

        The NAACP. Hmph. Its sad that I have so little faith in the NAACP.

    • Question

      But are they as effective? And I ask that question not saying that we should cease and desist, but simply asking about efficacy…?

      • Val

        Well, are BLM protests making progress? I think so. I mean police are being charged with murder. And it’s happening more often. At a certain point we hope there wil be a tipping point and cops will see there is a high price to pay for harming us and they will stop. So, yeah, I think they are effective.

        • Question

          One police officer is being charged with murder. There have been 360+ cases in Los Angeles, and never has an officer been charged with anything.

          I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t be protesting or that BLM needs to stop – I guess I’m asking what else we could be doing…?

        • Katherine McChesney

          Meanwhile,as they’ve for decades, black men are killing blacks in record numbers. They even murder small children.

    • Me

      “Just because the protests of today don’t look like the protests of yesterday doesn’t mean they aren’t valid and effective.”

      I need folks to fully digest this! Racism ain’t even the way it was back then, why do our protests have to be antiquated? These racists are calling audibles in these streets, why can’t we?

    • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

      I tend to agree with this. Part of the value of participating in the recent black friday boycott was that the on-the-ground organizers called for it, seeing the value of the economic strength wielded by the black community.

    • Facts.

  • Oluseyi

    I want to appreciate this essay, but I can’t. We are not a monolith, particularly not nationwide, and I’m not here for extrapolating from localized if coordinated regional service boycotts to undirected nationwide insistences coupled with shaming mostly poorer or harder-up folk who step outta line.

    Besides, I don’t want to boycott, I want to build. I want to build nondiscriminatory systems of finance and publication and amplification channels that specifically take interest in helping us build generational wealth, not flexing our precarious income on retailers.

    And particularly in light of the number of cases of excellent and productive black protest across America over the past 24 months, I can’t take someone invoking Sister Rosa’s name to label us all “b!tches” on some BS as anything more than a b!txh-azz sucka.

    • Val

      Ten upvotes for that last paragraph!

    • CHURCH, Ase!

    • Erica Nicole Griffin

      I have to disagree with you. Your opinion is valuable but I think in the face of crisis (Black kids dying at the hands of gangs, cops, etc) we can’t really afford to discuss how multivariate Black people are until we triage our communities.

      Another way I think about this argument: When a major trauma comes into an ER nurses and doctors are not allowed to say, “Umm excuse me, I worked in pediatrics. It is not fair to suggest that I should help you just because I am in the medical field.” No, shawty! Right now, when people are literally dying you are a doctor! You are a nurse! Period. Use that sameness to save lives and then you can go back to your specialty.

      • Oluseyi

        Now explain how a “Black Friday boycott” saves aforementioned gang victim lives.

        I’ll wait.

        While you scramble, allow me to expound on the concept of orthogonality. This is veering close to respectability politics, and the notion that we have no standing to demand that we stop being brutalized by institutionally racist authority because “we still killing our own.” Fcuk black pathology.

        Real, productive, urgent protest and activism is occurring, today, now, and this nig wanna build a whole thesis bout how we letting Sister Rosa down off a pedestrian shopping spat? Nope. Nyet. Non. Nay. Nein. Be not so quick to endorse narratives of your own pathos.

        Also, your ER analogy specious as fcuk. Black individuals in relation to the black community, or even to the global population, are not analogous to medical professionals relative to an ER, or a municipality.

        • Erica Nicole Griffin

          First, ouch! We should debate without being mean. That’s kinda weird and does not have to be the default in a disagreement. IJS. #TeamNoMeaness

          And sure, the analogy may not work perfectly but my opinion remains that in times of (literal) grave danger chats describing how we spoke many dialects on the ship…; Some were all about the Oshun and others worshipped the Lady in the Lake… etc, remain valuable but maybe not right this second. So I feel dude in his suggestion that we can benefit from getting on a bandwagon of shared activism.

          Meanwhile, completely shutting me down (I am soothing my back from being dragged over your prose/coals) for sharing an opinion that included no personal shade to you by the way, is an example of the kind of friendly fire that – at best – weakens the bond that got the Black folks to rally behind Mother Parks back in the day. If I was shy or new to this type of forum I might feel unwelcome here and hesitate to return to share my ideas and hear yours. Why risk that?

          Alas, as I write this it seems that I have come around to your side, at least in terms of respecting our differences. #WellDoneSir

          • Oluseyi

            First of all, I apologize. Black pathology rhetoric gets me heated, but the target isn’t you. I was too lit coming back at you, and I’m sorry for that. Friends?

            Here’s the thing about characterizing what someone else called a “Black Enterprise seminar” as chats about dialects on the slave ships: we’ve always been in grave danger. Our error is in thinking that we can protest and boycott our way to a stable, secure situation. We can obtain concessions, but we can not aggregate the sort of economic and political power that gives us genuine leverage without systemic interventions that liberate us from essential dependence on the oppressors.

            Or, “nobody is ever going to pay you to become wealthy.”

            The black dollar is a lever, yes. Building a parallel black economy, capable of greenlighting international cultural product and exports without non-black permission, of financing the growth of SMEs that will provide jobs and economic resilience to our community, is a bigger, better-positioned fulcrum. Not shopping at Target for one day a year doesn’t mean anything; who is that supposed to convince, and of what?

            But what most irked me is the narrow disregard for all the real, vital, physical activism, organized on social media and consistently translating into physical spaces, and then further amplified by social media, because a couple of people bought crockpots or some thing. It smacks of butthurt, of Jesse Jackson (Sr) mad at Obama finding resonance through direct engagement rather than obeisance to an outmoded orthodoxy whose primary claim to relevance is having “marched with Martin” and spitefully saying he would “cut the n!gga’s nuts off.” The game changed, game recognize game, and nobody checking for these chumps.

            Participation in the Civil Rights Era is now wildly overblown, with the assumption that everyone who could was marching and getting firehosed and having dogs set on them, but somebody had to be Robert Freeman, showing up with a raincoat. Somebody opted to join the armed forces, or say “yes, sir” and get a subservient job because they had responsibility, and those were likely the 90%. And their not physically being on the front lines doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to reap the benefits of the activism.

            So I’m just not here for this sort of highly nonspecific, intra-racial, mostly cross-class sniping. I’ve been very richly blessed in life. I don’t have the audacity to think that entitles me to berate the less fortunate for trying to save $22 on a crockpot, or whatever.

            We Gots To Do Better! (lol)

            • Erica Nicole Griffin

              Friends? Of course. #TeamNewFriends

              My response to all of what you said is: Yes. We need you. We need you to keep pushing for change in your (enterprising, think global spend local; Black Wallstreet etc) lane. I don’t disagree with wealth building. The trouble with us (and this is kinda my broken record. My husband hears this speech twice weekly) is that we think we must all be doing the exact same thing for progress. To me that logic is flawed. We must all only agree on a shared goal. And then be willing to acknowledge that specialists get the job done. Teachers should teach. Be good at that. Researchers should study and be good at that. Leaders should inspire and so on.

              I agree with boycotting certain businesses to one of two ends: 1. Until we find other local, Black businesses to take our money and use that money to create our own local jobs or, 2. They give in and bend to a greater, social demand. The bus boycott served an entire country and generations after that – it was a really good plan.

              I also believe in wealth building but that’s not my skill set. So me championing my thing is really me saying, “I’ll be in charge of that.” Never, “We shouldn’t do anything else.” I have no problem showing up to a meeting, being told we are executing a well-developed wealth building plan. As long as it spurs local jobs I have no motions, points of privilege or abstentions. And I wonder these days if we could all benefit from just that point: You do you. I will do me and we all need to report back with the recon.

              I worry, however that we are all so concerned about being the one who coins the secret to success that we spend all of our business hours debating on the right plan of action. Get the specialists lined up and let’s do all of it. They have the training, trust them to do their jobs. On my mama, I swear that we have to be brave enough to dissect ego-related stalling before we can make any moves at all.

              Lastly, your point about bashing people who are low income and thus bombarded with predatory advertisements and lures to spend now and use materials for gratification is well put and duly noted. Criticizing someone out of context is dangerous and breeds arrogance. Case study: My brother is special needs and used a stroller until he was like 5 years old. He couldn’t walk well and when he did it was hard for him. Today when I hear people criticize strangers for having big kids in strollers I remember that context matters too much to conclude anything without it.

              • Oluseyi

                I concur with your points, with just a few refinements. We absolutely need complementary skill sets wielded by specialists, acting in concert toward a specific goal. And I agree with the select, specific boycott of services and products as an effective means of creating leverage within the producing/supplying organization for change. But I am wholly unclear on the point, the demands and the specific goals of a Black Friday boycott. Who, exactly, is that speaking to? For what purpose?

                Assuming that the boycott is a reaction to the historical weight of the name “Black Friday” moreso than the idea of discount shopping the day after Turkey Genocide Day, I suppose the instructive analogy is Thanksgiving itself. People opposed to its name don’t boycott it, but rather propose and advocate alternative names such as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Offering a useful alternative name would probably be more effective and meaningful, as it would provide excellent conversational openers for explaining to people the problem with the current moniker.

                What you said about wanting to be the one who cracks the code, though? That’s some real sh!t. I’ve had to come to terms with the role of ego, ambition and desire for notoriety and recognition in my “developmental” and advocacy efforts. Letting go of them is tough, and very much a work in progress. Pray for me.

                Peace and blessings.

                • Erica Nicole Griffin

                  I hear you on the boycott question. My own hubby (a Black police officer who wants police reform) wonders about the ultimate effectiveness of a Black Friday Boycott. That’s true. It doesn’t have real impact. BUT that’s because we are not engaging the true methods behind these boycotts. Abernathy, King and the ilk did not start anything with boycotts. There were political negotiations and standoffs long before the boycott was launched. And then the boycott was not one day but indefinite. Until change came or people found new outlets for their dollar. Plus the people who boycotted had already made arrangements in the event of injury or arrest. There were monies collected, shoes donated, taxi cabs who stood by etc. There was much more administrative and strategic work behind the scenes that we don’t see in the news coverage or hear about in famous speeches. Not including this is where we go wrong.

                  We need thinkers to complement our doers. Millenials are doers – completely unafraid to stand for their ideals and to engage modern tools for power building. It is pretty exciting. We probably need more thinkers, writers, researchers to help them to scale effectively and ground the work in theories that prove effective.

                  • Oluseyi

                    But what is a Black Friday Boycott supposed to change? What is the discriminatory action on the part of retailers slashing year-old stock by upwards of 30% that we, as a collective, can not abide?

                    The only plausible coherence to a Black Friday Boycott is to force them to change the name, with its purported connotation of discount slave swaps. Except that origin is false.

                    The bus boycotts were action against a specific service sector with a specific and overt discriminatory policy. Black Friday Boycotts are undirected, imprecise, indiscriminate and unfocused. Let’s move on.

    • Epsilonicus

      “We are not a monolith, particularly not nationwide, and I’m not here for extrapolating from localized if coordinated regional service boycotts to undirected nationwide insistences coupled with shaming mostly poorer or harder-up folk who step outta line.”

      Thank you

    • JamesInstagram

      And can we stop ignoring the last 60 years like NOTHING has been happening!?!?! Like, a bunch of moves toward progress have been happening at every front, all in the name of justice. And sometimes we lose. But we also win. And don’t ask me what has been happening. Google is free.

  • Pinks

    I think the activism of today just looks different than it once did. For as much ish as people talk about “keyboard warriors,” social media is one of the biggest tools in social justice today, and there are some young people really out here pounding the pavement and doing the work. With that said, there are too many of us, myself included, who are content to think we’re not cut out for the demands of actually talking the talk. We be like “If so and so happens, I’m moving out of the country,” and then so and so happens time and time again and we still be here, checking VSB and Tumblr, creeping through our exes’ IG accounts, and trying to avoid that she-devil Sallie Mae.

    I was so riled up after Mike Brown was killed. I took my son to rallies, we watched the footage, I had a serious talk with a family member who is NYPD about my feelings, I marched, I attended protest after protest, and then when the officer got off I was like “welp – I’m emotionally taxed. I’m done.”

    Priorities have changed since back then. Rosa ‘nem could work a job for a certain number of years, buy a house, and sometimes even retire with a pension. Now, we’re scrimping and saving to just make it to next week, and what’s going on “over there” that doesn’t mean as much as trying to just keep our heads above water over here.

    • Welp! I see no lies, boo!

    • Oluseyi

      In fact, it’s very likely that the erosion of the middle class has been a deliberate ploy to reduce economic security, breeding insecurity and dependency that makes for compliant masses. Social media is powerful for its ability to cut through the wall of misinformation at near-zero cost, resetting the economic basis for protest.

    • -h.h.h.-

      i agree that the activism has evolved to match the more insidious types of bias and police brutality cases that have been coming out the woodwork, but i think there is an ….segment of this sjw’s that utilise shaming/silencing tactics…an excessive amount.

      • Oluseyi

        That was just as true in MLK’s day.

        • -h.h.h.-

          which is i stay off of twitter…my train of thought is a trigger warning lol

    • cakes_and_pies

      The charge,org petitions have gotten out of had and made some of us lazy.

    • JamesInstagram

      You also can’t beat yourself up either. History is never good at telling the full story, so imagine that in the late 1960s and early 1970s there are comfortable, middle-class people of color who fighting the good fight, simply by being “the only one” in their corporate division. Justice happens on many fronts.

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