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Business as Usual By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

April 22, 2018

Business as Usual

By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

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(TriceEdneyWire.com) – After hearing that two Black men were arrested at a Starbucks restaurant, we were told that some Black people were actually shocked. I was not. I guess I’ve seen too many other businesses doing similar things or worse in all areas of the country—not just down South. Remember Flint and the water crisis? We’ve generally given some cities too much credit for being enlightened. We forget that our union has never been perfected when it comes to Black people.

Starbucks in Philadelphia isn’t the only place such insults have happened. Applebee’s once falsely accused two Black women of not paying for meals. Denny’s paid out $54 million for a racial discrimination settlement and recently had workers wait and then asked to prepay for their meals. IHOP has asked Black teens to pay for their meal before being served. Cracker Barrel had 40 people in 16 states allege they were denied service, assigned to segregated service, were served food from the trash and were subjected to racial slurs.

I am sure these have not been the only racist acts through the years, and many of us have been subjected to one racist act or another. Most of us can tell when we walk into a place if we are welcome or not. So, why are we shocked?

There is a solution to such racism. What shocks me is that we continue to patronize places of business that show us no respect. It would seem to me if we know in advance or if we experience racist behavior in a place, we would no longer patronize that place.

There are many great Black restaurants around the country for us to spend our money. We don’t have to go if it has already been shown that we’re not wanted and not respected. It’s time for us to cut the complaining and begin spending our money where we are respected and where we can build our businesses and create jobs in our community. I know I am not the first to say this, but it seems we need to be reminded from time to time that we do have choices. We will never get everybody to agree. Many will continue spending money to build other people’s businesses who take the money, but don’t want us to hang around. Some would probably go back to serving us through the back window again if they thought there were no consequences.

Sure, there are some good non-Black businesses, and we can tell if our business is appreciated by what others give back to our community to show that appreciation.

Let us stop being shocked by racism. It’s been with us all of our lives because we tolerate it. As Dick Gregory always advised us, let’s wake up and stay woke. Let’s do something positive to better our community by building something positive where everyone is welcome! To those who are shocked by racist behavior, patronize a non-racist business, and be proud that your patronage helped to build it.

I am sorry Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson for what you went through and that you feared for your lives but having a seat at the Starbucks’ table is not the only answer as far as I am concerned. Since you said that you are potential businessmen, why not start your own business now? How about a Rashon and Donte coffee shop? Stop even wondering if what happened is your fault. That is what racism would have you believe. Don’t succumb to that. Racism is not your fault. Dealing with it in a positive manner is your responsibility. Supporting your business is our responsibility.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. and Radio Host of “Wake Up and Stay Woke” on WPFW FM 89.3 in Washington, DC. 202/678-6788. www.nationalcongressbw.org)

 
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