Monday, October 29, 2007

Support the November 2 National Blackout

Historically, the word 'black' always meant something bad. Black cat. Black magic.

Black people.

According to Webster's Dictionary, among one of its meanings, 'blackout' means "to impose." Which is what Chicago-based attorney and national radio host Warren Ballentine has called for.

Beginning October 29 through November 2, Ballentine is calling for all Black Americans to take part in a National Blackout.

Look at the things that are happening in this country: unequal justice rapidly increasing. Black women popping up dead without a peep of media attention. President Bush commutes Scooter Libby's sentence but does not life a finger about six young Blacks -- the Jena 6.

Hate crimes, such as hanging nooses where Blacks can easily see them, are simply played of as pranks. Bush vetoes legislation to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, claiming that it costs too much, "but we can fund billions of dollars for a war," says Ballentine, who hosts a morning talk show on XM Radio (Channel 169) and on several Radio One stations around the country.

When I first learned of Ballentine's plan, it clearly reminded me of James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie. It was about the Black citizens of a Southern town who chose not to work for one day, and how it affected Whites.

Blacks spend an estimated $715 billion a year in the U.S., at least two billion a day. If we stop spending our money for one day, what impact that would make. "I want to scare the bejeeves out of the boys on Wall Street, Capitol Hill, and the lobbyists, and let them know that enough is enough," explains Ballentine. "As taxpaying citizens, we are tired of being taken advantage of and being lied to."

November 2 is National Blackout day. I am participating, and I urge you as well. I am keeping my hard-earned bucks in my pocket all week. No grocery shopping. I've filled up my gas tank so that I won't have to go there as well.

Why stop buying a few days before November 2, Ballentine was asked. "I don't want to come out and call it a one-week blackout," he says. "But if everybody gets everything by October 29 -- get your gas, toilet tissue, food, everything you need -- that means Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that you are not spending money. Now, essentially a one-day blackout has turned into a four-day blackout. That's eight billion dollars that will not be in this economy."

Almost every caller to Ballentine's show claims they will support the Blackout. But of course, there are some who don't, such as a White caller. "Do the Blackout," the person urged, "but why don't you do something else. Just stay at home so we (Whites) don't have to see you."

"I have had a death threat, but I don't worry about things like that because I am a child of God," Ballentine points out.

Yes, we know that Denzel Washington's new movie also premieres November 2. "If you go see that movie (that day), you are paying Universal (the movie's distributors) not Denzel. He already has been paid," says Ballentine.

Furthermore, if this National Blackout is to be successful, Blacks must not make a mad dash to stores in the days prior to and on the days immediately following it. If stores and other businesses, most of which are corporate owned, have a major increase in sales as a result, then the Blackout will not create the impact that those of us who are participating wants to see.

The producers of the American economy, along with elected officials in Washington, need to feel the pain, if only for a few days.

We as Blacks in this country must also realize that our money is just as good as others. That our concerns are as real as others. That we are just as relevant as other groups. We need to make Mister Charlie Economy sit up and take notice of persons of color as serious economic players -- thus far we have just been getting economically played in this country.

The National Blackout is just the beginning. "We are calling for a national march on Washington after the National Blackout," notes Ballentine. Check out his Web site for more details.

"I am trying to awaken the social conscience of the American people," concludes Ballentine. "If we don't wake up and see what is going on in this country, one day we are going to wake up and say, 'What went wrong in this country?'

"I am not just talking about Black folk, but (all) the American people," he says.


Future MD said...

I hope everyone participates in the Blackout. I'm in the UK (London) now studying, but I'm from, Atlanta, Georgia, born and breed. If I had known earlier, I would have tried to organize a sympathy Blackout in London - and I think that is something that should be done. There were thousands of Black British/African/Carribbean people totally dispondent because of Katrina, and the economy here is so good (£1 GPB is only .46 cents roughly) that a British Blackout in sympathy for what Bush is doing to destroy America (especially all the strides in Black America) would really be a poignant statement. Thanks for letting me know what's going on!

Commonsense said...

I will be doing all of my monthly shopping on Friday to offset this nonsense. I may even buy a car on Friday, what the heck!
Too bad you can't teach common sense to these "people"

Carl said...

I'm a white guy, and I'm planning to participate. I think even middle-class white Americans should be pretty fed up with the situation in this so-called "free" country. I may even fast for a few days, just so I don't buy groceries! I'm willing to go hungry a couple of days to support this!

frank said...

Commonsense, you are an idiot. "People" like you are a dying breed, and I am very happy to see you go.

You go buy a car. While you're at it, why don't you go to hell.

Frank (white man)
Atlanta, Georgia

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm with Carl! I'm really scared by how silent White America is being (and then a lot of the voices are bigots like "commonsense")-- this is about our future as a country that can work and live together, share equally, respect each other, live up to all those ideals we say we love about America. Nooses hanging all over the country are just one more reminder that racism does not live only in the South, and that white people need to be part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem.

The Commandant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Commandant said...

op 3 things that will be effected by this:

-ALL fried chicken stands
-Producers of menthol cigarrettes
-Wholesalers of malt liquor.

If anything businesses will show a profit for that day because all the black people won't be stealing from them.

And finally my joke for the day.

Why do black people wear white gloves when they eat tootsie rolls:????

So they don't bite their fingers off. HAHAHAHA. ITS A JOKE YOU SHOULD LAUGH

Anonymous said...

As a retail store owner I will help support National Blackout day by not allowing any black people to shop in my store tomorrow. In fact I just finished printing out a sign saying "No Coloreds Allowed".
I'm so sick and tired of hearing about the poor mistreated black folk, believe me just as many white folk are poor and mistreated we just don't any loudmouth narcissists like Al Sharpton to whine for us.

Anonymous said...

If they weren't trying to rally support for 6 black kids that beat a white kid and show that with any provocation that violence is an acceptable solution I might participate. As it is, I am disgusted by them trying to get the Jena 6 off, and not fight for the others to get punished, and punish the jena 6 as well. They want equality, then that means violent crimes should be punished as well. Enough is enough. I'm doing all my weekend shopping I would normally do on saturday on that day to help send a message.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has totally got it right, I mean, I'm white, I work 40 hours a week, I work hard, and I still can't get ahead. Its not a BLACK FOLK thing.. but my community is strong here, mainly because I don't spend my money on weed and malt liquor.

"If they weren't trying to rally support for 6 black kids that beat a white kid and show that with any provocation that violence is an acceptable solution I might participate. As it is, I am disgusted by them trying to get the Jena 6 off, and not fight for the others to get punished, and punish the jena 6 as well. They want equality, then that means violent crimes should be punished as well. Enough is enough. I'm doing all my weekend shopping I would normally do on saturday on that day to help send a message."

Its true. Equality means everybody follows the rules, you don't get off because your black and your oppressed, you go to jail, just like a white man.

Frank Frost said...

Stop making this about the Jena 6. In my mind this is about inequality in the justice system, and the resurgence of racism in this country. The Jena 6 issue is important as a side note because it highlights the fact that the white students who placed those hateful nooses were given a slap on the wrist, and the black students who retaliated had the book thrown at them.

Another time in history where a "joke" was followed by violence was when Emmet Till whistled at a white woman, and was brutally beaten by a group of white men. An all white jury acquitted them of murder, although they later openly admitted to killing him.

No, I don't think these kids should "get off" because they are black. However, the punishment should fit the crime. AND the white kids should be punished for inciting hate and fear.

Anonymous said...

So I think that anyone with half a brain can agree that both the black kids and the white kids in this Jena-6 thing should be judged neutrally and in a way that conforms to their respective crimes. I'm not getting into which parts of the whole affair were racist and which weren't, since everyone everywhere has already twisted events to fit their respective personal agendas, anyway.

But this blackout thing... It's stunning in its stupidity. Anti-discrimination actions should be aimed at people/companies/whatever that discriminate, so that they might effect actual, practical change (if only because of the media attention). But instead of that, we're organising a national Black-people-have-a-snit-at-nothing-specific-but-just-on-principle day, and we're using that to hit local store-owners and retailers because... retailers are more racist than other people? Because hurting the economy will bring the greater wealth you want? I'm still waiting for what practical, positive effect people are hoping this will have.

Honestly, does this really make sense to anyone who's actually thought this through? Do you really think this will effect change in Black people/non-Black people relationships, or are you just doing this because you're annoyed at some past slight (imagined or otherwise)?

Ask yourself : wouldn't a serious money-raising effort, for example, be capable of bringing change to your community more efficiently? Of course, that would imply putting in actual effort before we could feel good about ourselves, wouldn't it?

Frank Frost said...

I don't think this is a snit without a particular reason. Have you not noticed the resurgence of nooses around the country? Nooses are a racist symbol and reminder of the lynching that took place in this nations recent past. I have also noticed that groups like the bastardly KKK are becoming more bold during these "compassionate conservative" times.

I don't deny that the economic impact will probably be minimal. However, it will raise the awareness of the evil that is creeping it's way back into American culture.

I appreciate the fact that the last poster was thoughtful in his response. What troubles me is that this person does not think that a resurgence of racism is a reason for black people to be angry.

Let's put it this way. If you're protestant, and you suddenly saw symbols of the catholic oppression of protestants in the medieval times, would you have a "snit" or reason to be angry? I think so. This is conversly true of catholics being oppressed by protestants.

Let me make one thing very clear. Racism / facism is a threat to everyone.

Anonymous said...

If you support this form of segregation, not only are you part of the problem, YOU'RE AN IDIOT!

Anonymous said...

"I appreciate the fact that the last poster was thoughtful in his response. What troubles me is that this person does not think that a resurgence of racism is a reason for black people to be angry."

That's me, and I appreciate your response. I don't consider it to be a "resurgence", you see, since it is unfortunately an omnipresent evil (not unique to the US, I encounter it abroad as well). It never went away, it just wears this incredible, sick "let's all be reasonable" polite smile these days.

And you do have every right to be angry about it. The anger is justified. The point I was trying to make, and I think that got lost due to careless wording on the "having a snit" sentence, is that you cannot solve Problem A by getting angry (no matter how justified) and trying to start Problem B. Problem A needs to be tackled straight on in order for progress to be made, and I'm afraid you'll hurt and radicalise people who might otherwise be on your side with this sort of plan. Yes, it does make your justified feelings known, but it lashes out at people who might not have anything to do with the problem.

Also, I still find the Jena-6 thing to be a strange thing to use as a rallying cause. Hence the poorly worded "having a snit" comment. The solution there should be straightforward: try each and everyone fairly, for their specific crimes, both black and white, and outline all mitigating factors for both. Personally, I wouldn't want either black or white youths to have their lives thrown away from them due to general youthful idiocy and hotheadedness in this mess of an affair. That was my point with that comment, considering our recent hisory it can't be hard to find a more clear-cut and undeniable rallying point.

Anonymous said...

This “black-out” is un-patriotic and self-defeating. Please do not teach your black children this type of reverse-racism and bigotry, make them proud, un-racist, responsible Americans.

I think I’ll boycott too. Oh wait, I'm a poor white man with limited education and this is a “Black” out. I don’t have the right, dang, yet another missed opportunity. One time…I had a chance to get up in the world, but I got robbed and put in the hospital by a gang of black kids. While laid up, I lost everything. I applied but did not get a scholarship. It went to a black with worse ACT/SAT scores and grades, solely because of the person’s race.

It sucks to be white. It’s the only race you can’t be proud of. I think I’ll blame blacks. Nah.

Kemper said...

This is hilarious. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who feel it is necessary to add their race to their comments. Right Carl? Frank? If you support a boycott what difference does it make if you are black, white, brown, yellow or blue?

And just exactly what injustice are the blacks using as the basis for their boycott? I have not heard or read anything in any of the comments made by the promoters of the boycott, Al Sharpton included, that would make me consider giving up my right to go into any business in the United States, no matter the color of the business owner, and buy whatever I wanted or needed today.

Anonymous said...

Whatever, im so sick of this stuff already. i do sympathize with slavery, it was a horrible chapter, but the majority of my family was still in Poland at this time, also ... im partially of native american decent, so talk about being screwed over. im a little bit jewish too, so god, come on. history is just that, history. lets move ahead. there is a double standard when it comes to race in this country though and i feel that lower and middle class white america is being pushed away by the black community and are beginning to get tired of it. i just dont understand why this cant be a poor vs rich boycott. never do sharpton and jackson open their arms to the white community who gets the shaft. 10% of this country owns 90% of the wealth. how about the other 90% of us boycott and really send a message to congress.

Barack Obama has a chance to be the first balck president, and he has my vote, but what does jackson say, he says barack is acting white. the racism is alive in these people that are the so called black leaders of america. saying things like that is as equally detrimental to relations between whites and blacks and is only serving to incite controversy and tension. but there in lies the double standard. if i said that one of my white friends was acting black ... id be thrown under the bus and be forced to make a public apology. i fear things will get worse before they get better until people start to look in the mirror and blame themselves instead of others.

Anonymous said...

The book of Wisdom
Greetings, it all began on June 14, 2004 the Lord had came to me and commanded, compelled, and assigned me to write these messages concerning his thoughts on his people of the earth and religious church’s of today. These messages are written to the nations of the world and all the people of earth, concerning wicked people and their kingdoms of this world. Be aware of the Pharisee’s of this world, preachers with a Paul religion. There are so many preachers and pastors that may appear to be holy, yet they ask people to do things, such as have faith, yet they are the ones that are void of faith or at the least not willing to go to God on their own. You can identify them by the way they consistently pull the wool over the listeners and watchers eyes as they lead them on a path to destruction.
Those false prophets are better known as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many come in the name of the Lord, and are greedy of monetary gain and pray on what man has to offer. At the expense of people whom are generally poor, and consequently people searching, wandering in the wilderness, and looking for the truth and the true path to, “The Great I Am”, Almighty God, and the merciful Jesus Christ. Even the ones proclaiming to be speaking the words of God are void of knowledge of the father and his commandments that are set before all men and women, freely and equally. The questions that concern me most are addressed in this book.
Therefore, the will of “GOD” is for all people that seek his grace and mercy, and the promise of “GOD”. What are the things that we should be made aware of? Why people are void of wisdom and understanding? People of religion for the most part, must ask themselves; am I serving GOD, or am I serving religion? Subsequently, characteristically they wage wars over religion, especially when they are irresolute about their belief system and untrusting of the “gospel of Jesus Christ? When men and women come unto you speaking words of the bible yet there are no gains except for the gains that are acquired by the commercialized pastors and proclaimed parishioners that appear to be holy yet are not teaching the true essence of The Father.