I was watching the documentary We’re Not Broke and asked myself, what has Occupy Wall Street (OWS) accomplished? The documentary explores how corporations dodge taxes and take advantage of actual tax payers. By not paying their fair share of taxes and in some cases paying no taxes, the majority of us suffer with reduced funding for police, firefighters, hospitals, etc,. I couldn’t find any point in this documentary to disagree with, it’s clear as day. However, no matter how right OWS is, they haven’t accomplished anything except for maybe getting people involved or making them aware of the issue. That’s basically what Black Lives Matter is doing right now. How exactly do you plan to go beyond awareness and actually make it so there’s fewer police shootings of minorities?
I absolutely like that people are exercising their freedom to protest. Unfortunately, change doesn’t start from the top and trickles down. We can’t wait for politicians to do something. Politicians are aware of large corporations taking advantage of the U.S. and choose to do nothing about it, so why expect them to do anything about police brutality? Institutional racism turns a profit, so why stop the flow of money? Companies get free labor, these companies support politician’s campaigns, the justice system gets more money, and police can take their aggression out on people and feed their superiority complex for free.
At the end of the day, money talks. My biggest problems with OWS and now Black Lives Matters is that you still spend your money at these corporations that don’t care about you. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations are people, so treat them like people. Would you associate with a person that doesn’t support diversity at high level positions? Would you do business with a person who is condescending to minority customers? As a minority would you borrow money from a person that only gives minorities a higher interest rate? These are the questions that you need to think about. I support people shopping wherever they want, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t want to stop police brutality or end economic disparity by supporting the
Corporations people who use your money to keep the system as is. This is increasingly true of African Americans and Hispanics who go outside of their community to spend money instead of starting small businesses, investing, buying land, and helping those around you.
The goal should not have been to get out the hood, there should have been a collective goal to make the hood better so you’re not begging others for acceptance into their community.
Because as we’ve seen before, it doesn’t matter how you dress or talk or how much skin whitener you use, you’ll still be seen as less than to some people. So now after the begging, we have police officers working in communities they don’t understand and interacting with people they look down on. How exactly is preaching to the choir going to solve the issue of police brutality? After all the evidence presented on police brutality, if there’s people still blind to the issue it’s because they truly believe it’s not an issue and don’t care.
So what happened to boycotting? Minorities and particularly African Americans and Hispanics have over $1 trillion in buying power and yet the representation of these groups whether through employment or advertising is very low. All minority groups and even the OWS could have the best bargaining chip anyone could ask for when going up against a corporation. Representation in advertising unfortunately is tied to how people view minorities. Black Lives Matter mostly takes on the issue of police brutality and murder of minorities by cops. However, I fundamentally believe that it’s not just about the justice system and prison industrial complex, it’s about economic disparity and how minorities are portrayed as scary or less than in society.
No one has all the answers, however it’s not new. The labor union, women’s and civil rights movements of the past had plans that accomplished something. They may not have won every battle but they won the battles that allow future generations to take the next step forward. Maybe it’s too soon, but just how people predicted early on that OWS was just a bunch of people yelling with not goals, Black Lives Matters seems to be on that same track. Hopefully I’m wrong, but in the meantime I will be doing what I have always done which is be conscious of where my money is going and doing my best not to fund
Corporations people who go through great lengths to keep the status quo.