Friday, November 02, 2007


BLACKOUT...NOW WHAT?

Typically, when socially conscious people decide to participate in an effort to get the attention of the establishment, a justifiable reason has caused the ‘common’ folk to be frustratingly alarmed, oppressively upset, and/or emotionally heated. Usually, the heat from the insult committed upon these regular folk has reached an unbearable point. Almost like an extremely hot cup of coffee that puts a burn on one’s tongue. This type of burn temporarily affects taste buds. One is regulated to eating without tasting the sweetness of a Krispy Kreme donut while having to deal with an irritating tongue blister.

The circular shape of a donut is the symbol of African Americans’ attempts to tap the white man on his shoulder. We are constantly going in circles while never really causing him to respond in a way that indicates he is concerned or worried about our situation. As a result of us failing to successfully rattle the conscious of this man, blacks are forever proving to the world that we are defeated by the white man’s unconcerned posture. Giving us the reputation of being a nuisance just like that blister.

When will we learn that he does not care? He does not care that someone within our community has decided for us that we should not go see American Gangster, purchase lemon pepper wings, buy a bottle of expensive vodka, purchase a lottery ticket, buy a pack of Black and Milds, purchase the hottest hip-hop artist compact disc, or even buy another pair of shoes that we plan to wear with our Saturday night outfit. Come on! It is the first of the month! You know this is what we do! Well, those of us who are still connected to the hood know what’s up!

The infamous Blackout. Are you going without today? Did you put $10 in the gas tank on Thursday? What have you not done to confirm you will adhere to Warren Balentine’s mandate? Let me tell you what I have not done: I have not bought into an idea that does not have an official definition or an effectively communicated objective. I use the word objective because for quicker results one should understand that objectives are like milestones. It is a time for the planner or facilitator to evaluate his/her strategy. Whereas, with goals one should understand that goals are long term strategic steps. Now, ask yourself, what type of outcome/goal will come of this event that we are calling a Blackout? The rehearsed answer: ‘It will send a message to America that we are tired of the injustices.’ Well, being tired does not mean someone or something is going to change. With this simple understanding of the difference between an objective and a goal I humbly and non-narcissistically challenge you (those of you who have not cursed me and stopped reading) to ponder on this: “Nothing has really changed in America. If it has, why are we still marching, and singing the chorus of We Shall Overcome Some Day?” A 16 year old asked me this question on November 1, 2007.

Will that white man I mentioned above decide to treat us better? Will he finally hear us at 12 midnight? If we are not aware that the white man is already in the know of our complaints, we are drastically mistaken. Mr. White man is very knowledgeable of why we are dissatisfied – but he has proven to us that he does not give a damn! So, when we go without today he is just going to say to himself: ‘We have them where we want them. They are on the defensive. They are never in a proactive state of mind. We have defeated them.’

Sadly, I agree with whitey. He knows that Mookie will cop him some heroin from DJ on the corner of MLK Boulevard and Broad Street tonight. He knows that some weak black man posing as a pimp will trick-out his niece later tonight. He knows and believes we are responding to what he is ‘supposedly’ doing to us, and not responding to what we are doing to ourselves. With this state of affairs there is always a winner. An individual on top. And, we know it is not the drug dealer or the prostitute winning this battle. Those pale skin men and women are the defending champions.

The question remains to be, when will we learn? Some are saying we have learned since we are Blacking Out on November 2, 2007 with a united front. Interesting analysis considering that we have not become re-focused. We have not stopped and critiqued our situation in America collectively. No, we have not. What we have done is moved away from the unity we once had. We have been moving and moving so much so that we can’t even recognize ourselves anymore as a true united front to be reckoned with. We are what Mr. White man intended for us to be: Strangers in a foreign land.

Think about it, strangers are those people we avoid. We don’t talk to them. We don’t even acknowledge them. But, when it is time to come together we will. I recognize this. However, it is too bad that we are quicker to follow than lead. Leading and being in the forefront is when we are working to build our own communities. Spend in our communities. And, ultimately love our communities to the point we will be seen as a model for self sufficient economic development. It is amazing to me to me that we have lost the spirit of togetherness like we once had on Auburn Avenue. But yet, we are prepared today to Blackout the Auburn Avenues of America, and all because Mr. White man has done us wrong again. Shouldn’t we consider that he would have no method of crapping on us if we for once and for all: COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM HIM in mind, spirit, and with our dollars? Notice that I did not say physically. The separation I am speaking of can be done. Just ask Farrakhan about the success he and the Nation of Islam have had after they decided to detach themselves from America’s racist grip.

I am cognizant of the fact that some will tag me as a hater. A downer of the cause. A sellout. That’s fine with me. I did offer up a workable solution. Solutions should be lasting, not temporary. Sacrificing on Just Got Paid day and then going to Macy’s tomorrow to pay the minimum balance on your Rewards Card is not indicative of a lasting and intelligent solution.

Written by Muata. Inspired by the cup of coffee I will buy from a black owned bistro and lounge this morning. Inspired by the fried fish I will buy from a black owned restaurant this evening. Inspired by my refusal to buy a bootleg copy of Denzel’s movie.

Please check out the book reviews of Exposing Christianity, My Way of Sharing an Alternative to the Church’s Truth at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and http://amazon.com/. Don't miss out on being challenged:

Jesus Was a Failure
Heaven: There is No Such Place
The Bible: God Wrote It-I Believe It-That's It?
Asking for Forgiveness: Is it the Perfect Way to get to Heaven?
God: A Figment of Your Imagination?


15 comments:

Muata said...

Reader Response:

I agree with you on this matter, especially about being segregated from America and it's wicked ways.

I was able to watch the Farrakhan web-cast on October 16, 2007. He gave speech at the civic center in Atlanta. The speech really moved me as a black man in America.

The only way we can have justice, prosperity, and peace, is to have our own nation. As I have stated before, that type of move would require great sacrifice and bloodshed.

Pharaoh never released the slaves. America will never release us without sacrifice or death. Who is willing to make the sacrifice? Who is willing to die for the future of black folks?

As for financial planning, we are just removed from slavery and Jim Crowe laws. The pro athletes, entertainers of the late 1980's, 1990's, and 2000, are the first generation of black millionaires since slavery. Not to make excuses, but they were never taught how to financially plan or to make their money work for them. This a learning process for us all. I must admit that the learning curve needs to be shorten. Luckily, I had a great father that taught me a little about money and how to live within my means. Some are not as fortunate.

I would advise all people of color to watch the Farrakhan speech. He stated something that I already knew, but needed clarification on. Let's say you have a formal education, you own your business, and you financially plan. As a black person, America will only let you grow and expand so far. For example: During 1990's Walter Payton was well polished black man. He had earned his degree, very well spoken, and an all around great American citizen. Walter had financially planned and put himself in a position to own a NFL team. His team ownership was blocked! He did not receive enough votes to OK the deal. What are you to do? America might give you a small percentage of ownership, but they will not let you buy a team and or give you majority ownership. That gives you too much power. That gives you power to change lives or to really make a difference.

As for voting, black folks are getting out to vote, but Bush THUGED his way into the white house. Let's keep it real, he lost both elections. All the polls are electronic. All of us know that you can do anything with numbers.

-EA

Muata said...

Reader Response:

I agree with you 100%. This was/is a poorly thought out and planned event with no clear direction. I was a little short with my responses the other day about this subject as I was busy (and probably a little annoyed). What I neglected to add to my replies is the fact that (TO ME), instead of choosing 1 day not to spend our money, we should strive to spend our money daily where it would benefit us the most.

I used to commit myself in college to spend at least 80% of my money in the black community or where it can benefit blacks at least. Even now, when I moved here the first thing I did was google search for dentists in my area and tried to find a black dentist. I did not find one, but I was very open with the dentist that I chose that I was looking for a black dentist. They appreciated my honesty and told me although the dentist is white, he has several black employees. I’ve been there every since (3+ years) now and he has several black employees that have been there the entire time. I say this to say, even though my $$ is going to him, in a way I am still supporting my people in that they are reaping the benefits.

Muata said it best in a previous statement in that a ‘Black Out’ of this magnitude would only hurt small businesses, i.e. Black owned businesses.

This entire concept was proposed by Warren Ballentine, in an attempt to gain notoriety (in my opinion). You want to make an impact on America and our people, Stop buying, Grills, Iced out chains & Bracelets, Rims, Cars you can’t afford, Jeans you can’t afford, Shoes you can’t afford and concentrate on spending in the black community as well as learning to how to have your money make more money.

-DM

Muata said...

Reader Response:

I'm planning to check out Denzel's movie this weekend. Honestly, I had forgotten all about the blackout, because I hadn't heard any specifics re: the blackout. And while I certainly think the blackout is in support of a worthy cause, I question whether it was planned and promoted well enough to have the impact that is hoped for. I'm all for demonstrating a united front for civil rights when the desired outcome is known, and has been clearly articulated and outlined to those whom we are trying to reach. Otherwise, the effort will have served only to provide another socio-economic statistic re: the financial contribution of African-America's to the economy. So, once the blackout is over, then what? Not trying to be flip, but I really haven't seen or heard a detailed agenda for government consideration, i.e. congressional hearing, introduction of new bills, modification of civil rights laws, etc. The stock market was down today...among the lowest of single day lows for the year. Now, if the blackout can make a similar impact, then we'll have the ear of nation. But, once we've been given the microphone, we need to be on point with our message. In my opinion, one the worst things that could come of this would be to gain a national stage, and not have a clear and suscint voice re: next steps and how we move forward in a contructive fashion.

-AE

Muata said...

Reader JW amd DM debates:

Denzel will have to wait. We are having a national “black out “on Friday Nov. 2 remember???

-JW

I am supporting Denzel. Our “Black Outs” serve no purpose except to make us look foolish. How effective is not spending on 1 day going to be when we wake up the next morning and go back to our same routine.

-DM

I agree with you about wanting to support Denzel, but I disagree about it making us look foolish. The Latinos did it and were able to get legislation changed. We can do the same. We showed up in numbers for Jena as well as the Million Man March. To me there’s no difference here.

-JW

Big Difference. One day of black people not spending their money is not going to even cause a ripple in today’s society when it comes to how our people are treated. I agree that there is strength in numbers and marching makes a difference, but as far as a financial black out, 1 day ain’t gonna cut it. If Blacks really want to protest, they need to make it a part of day to day to protest financially. When I say it makes us look foolish, In some peoples eyes it really does because they know that the next day, niggas will be back out buying Seven Jeans, Rims, and Grills.

-DM

Muata said...

Reader Respones:

WOW!!! Now that is what I am talking about. You are an awesome writer that allows us to at least say UMMMM???

-Bree

My thoughts exactly. Great article.

-TM

you are definitely speaking the truth my good friend!!! i'm forwarding this to my friends.

-BF

I don't agree with you always - but today, I totally share your sentiments. Great piece!

-FH

Interesting point!! Are you a republican?

-M

Muata said...

Reader MJ Responds:

Interesting commentary. Your sentiments echo an e-mail I got earlier this week. However, as I told the ones that sent it to me, we as Black Folk are always so quick to beat each other up. Mr. Ballentine is at least trying to do something positive. Yeah, I might agree that it's not going to make that much difference - mostly because WE won't support it. However, I would NEVER publicly put it down because I'm all about lifting and supporting someone that is trying to send out a positive message. And, actually, he said that you could support Black businesses. I wish someone would create and publish a list of Black businesses that provide the basic essentials. My sister-in-law asked me last Saturday if I knew of a Black business that she could support and buy candy from for Halloween. I couldn't even think of one. If we really want to support each other (which I am all about) and economic self-sustainabilty, then we need to make it more accessible for the community. We need to provide great services, and help each other succeed. I would buy EVERYTHING from Black Folk if I could. Maybe that's something we should work on - and stop talking about it but being about it. Let me go find my copy of the Black pages...

-MJ

Muata said...

Muata responds to MJ:

I respect those of us who actually make a genuine attempt to do something positive for our people. However, Balentine's efforts stemmed from an egotistical demeanor. It was not born out of love. I came to this conclusion by listening to him blast Michael Baisden for his marvelous work on the Jena 6 Movement. Most importantly, I can't follow a plan that does not have any type of ongoing purpose. Ask yourself, if you would follow behind an ego crazed man who does not have a plan for the next step. You would not, Michael.

I am not putting Balentine on blast. I am reminding us that we need to think strategically for the future of our children. Not buying the things we would on today and then going to the mall the next day spending all the loot is not an effective approach to REALLY get the attention of those who are laughing at us.

How much longer are we going to stay hush-hush? Just because one is black it does not mean you get a pass for planning something that is poorly planned. Believe me, while we are being tight-lipped we are continuing a cycle that is defeating.

When will we really 'call' our leaders on the carpet? When? We won't do it now because we should not do it "publicly"?? That is illogical to me. White people already know we are doing the wrong things to REALLY step our game up. They know! We need to speak it and then rectify the problems.

-Muata

Muata said...

Muata responds to a group of people via email prior to writing the posted commentary:

First, those of us with financial planning, accounting, budgeting backgrounds/skills need to be volunteering to educate those of us who lack in the area of planning appropriately for the future (financially). This way we may be more inclined to spend money wisely. Instead of spending it on rims, cars we can't afford, overpriced and cheap looking jewelry, big oversized t-shirts, hats with a big A on them, metal teeth, basketball sneakers, and all the other stuff so many of us waste our money on. And, the folk who buy these items need to practice some RESTRAINT! Then we just might save for a home, put away money for our children's tuition, invest, and all the other stuff RESPONSIBLE people do. Now, understand that this does not mean that Muata has made all the right financial decisions. I have not, but one thing is for sure I have been in a decent financial position because I think PLANNING first when I am able to financially plan. Second, why in the hell would we support a 'blackout' when this type of blackout will affect small black owned businesses? A black owned business will lose huge profits from one day. HUGE. Why would we support it when white 'sympathetic' people are not even on board? Remember, this function is for all people. And, finally, we are not making no kind of damn stand by not spending our money on one damn day. Do we really think the system/government will be affected by this? We are constantly making asses out of ourselves. Here we are participating in a blackout when we fail to appreciate education, when we treat each like shit (kill each other too), and all the other crap we do to each other. The white man is laughing at us.

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader MJ responds and then Muata responds:

speaking of Denzel's movie...I guess because of the 'blackout' which happens to be on the same day his movie comes out...Denzel our "black actor" will not have the record selling movie of the year!! So looks like we have just hurt our 'black man' trying to support a black cause??? Somehow that just doesn't make sense!!

-MJ

Well, if the Blackout was properly planned we would not have this issue of debating: Go see the movie or not. An effective leader would have done his/her research. For one, why at the beginning of the month? EVERYONE spends more money then. Secondly, why on a night when one of our most accomplished actors has a movie coming out? This is like boycotting a Sydney Portier movie back in the 50's/60's. Who in thier right mind would do that? Thirdly, why didn't this planning start at least six months out? We can't expect black people to adapt in a way that does not meet them halfway. It does not work this way. It is like when we have a community function where we desperatley need our folk to come: At least offer a free meal. Then they will come. This is the way it works. Asking ALL black people to sacrifice when some of us don't even have a bank account is stupid. Why not plan a lenghty series of financial management classes throughout the hoods? This way we will be impactful! Really impactful!

-Muata

Muata said...

Reader Responds:

Now, I don't really like to listen to Frank Ski...cause he irritates me, but that is besides the point...He pretty much said the same thing you said, AND that makes SO MUCH SENSE..let's try and plan this thing out accordingly...months in advance. To give us all time to get on top of our game. To drop this ball even weeks in advance, is just not enough time for us to prepare ourselves. Like he said, alot of the elderly get there checks at the beginning of the month..and they need to buy some daily necessities today! now you are saying don't!!?? because of the black out? Doesn't make sense. Frank also said, it would make more sense, if we did the black out state-by-state (month-by-month) instead of across the US like we are trying to do, so that WE can then see the impact that it has caused. If not, how do we really know if we made an impact?
Now i am all for a cause, if it makes sense and is planned accordingly.

***

Muata said...

Reader response:

You do come across like a hater. Why can't you support the activity, and be quiet!

-MC

Muata said...

Muata responds to MC:

Believe me, I would support anything that's properly planned, and did not stem from envy and jealousy.

-Muata

Muata said...

Someone shares a text correspondence with me:

so after having lunch with my friends, another black friend of mine sends a text and i ask if they have eaten lunch yet, they replied "no remember its black out day" - and i said, "hmm, oh so black out day means you don't eat?" and, i didn't get a response on that one.

%%%%-***-%%%%

Muata said...

Reader Response:

I commend you on yet another great article. When I first heard of the Black Out, I asked myself “what message does participating REALLY send, and what goal does participating truly accomplish?” In my opinion, it sends a clear message that overall (we as a people) own NOTHING and rely on others for everything: grocery stores, gas stations, movie theatres, malls, places of employment…..the list goes on and on. We barely produce any of the products and services that we rely on daily. What happens if the tables are reversed, and Whites decide to “black us out”? How would we survive? Which leads into the answer to the second part of the question that I posed. I believe “blacking out” today with no long term plans of overall change is pointless. I’ve heard that Blacks not spending on one day takes 2 billion out of the systems, but did it really? How many people purchased everything they’d normally the day before, or plan to the day afterwards? So all we may accomplish is a one-day-advance/delay of the same cycle. I maybe young and inexperienced, so correct me where I’m wrong. As you’ve stated, we need to COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM HIM in mind, spirit, and with our dollars. In your mind know that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind too, ANYTHING! Don’t talk about doing it, DO IT!!! In spirit don’t accept slavery-embedded truths about GOD, Christ and religion and SEEK GOD FOR YOURSELF. GOD made you so you are a part of the Creator. Seek to understand your purpose in life, and know that GOD is there to guide you, strengthen you, and love you along the way. In your finances (the immediate target of this “black out”), begin to do more business with Black owned establishments (and Muata if you have a list of establishments around the ATL, email them to me because Glady’s and Ron’s is getting old). Take that initiative a step further, and begin to view yourself as a business and not as a merchant (successful businesses provide good products/services, reduce cost, invest and expand). Examine what goods or services you could provide. You could be the next Ford, Kroger or GUCCI (ie: Roca Wear, Starbury, Malcolm Cunningham Ford)!!! Yes I know a business is a HUGE undertaking, but so is college, marriage, raising children and many of us take on these challenges throughout our life. And you can’t finish what you never start, so why not work towards goals that will make you more independent, self-confident and able to help others along the way? I’ll stop here because the overall disposition of Blacks in America can be so overwhelming that I lose my thoughts attempting to address (and not overlook) the issues (and I’m on the ‘Indian man’s time”). Good article, even great points, and I’ll be purchasing your book this weekend (didn’t know you had one, CONGRATS man!!!).

-RM

Muata said...

Another Blogger's Take on the Blackout:

Ok, I might make some individuals mad with this but here it goes.
Ya'll should check out my man Tommy Bottoms poems on the subject
matter of Economics. No one says it better.

I will not purchase anything on Friday but only to show my daughter that we have to start doing something.

Ok, here's my two cents on this whole blackout thing.

We obviously need to start somewhere at attempting to change
how "The Powers that be" don't respect the black community.

BUT a one day boycott does absolutely nothing to the machine called Amerikkkan Capitalism.

For the few of us that's conscious enough to take the money out the
system for one day, what happens on Saturday? Everyone and their
momma spends all the money they didn't spend on Friday, on Saturday, thus bolstering sales over and beyond what the system is used to making on that day, thus defeating the whole purpose.

If the black community is to make any kind of economic impact to
this Capitalistic Beast, it has to be done long term. We have tried
this petty one day boycott for years and it's done absolutely
nothing.

Let's see if the black community will stop shopping for X-mas and
going in debt, thus continuing to be the second largest spenders or
contributors to the very economic system that is enslaving us. How
many of us know some of our folk who go stupid crazy borrowing money and charging credit cards to buy gifts but can't afford to pay their bills?

The key is longevity. Taking our money out, leaving it out and
putting it in ONLY black businesses. That's economic power but we won't do that. Well, we haven't.

Remember, in order for the machine of Capitalism to thrive, it has
to have someone to Capitalize on. Who better than the poor and
uneducated, thus they stay enslaved to the system.

-Unknown