There has been several reports in the news recently of black shoppers being detained after making purchases in Barneys and Macy’s a couple of New York city department stores. In fact it was serious enough for Barney’s NY. CEO to meet with the Reverend Al Sharpton and other community leaders to discuss the issue,at his National Action Network Offices in Harlem NY.
|NEW YORK (AP) — A black actor on the HBO drama series “Treme” said Friday he was stopped by police because of his race while shopping at Macy’s — the third discrimination allegation made this week by a black shopper against a department store. Robert Brown, who sued Macy’s in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said in his lawsuit he was detained by police at the flagship Herald Square store on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/television/article/Black-actor-NYC-Macy-s-stopped-me-because-of-race-4926614.php|
Two black Barneys New York customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said this week they were detained by police after making expensive purchases. Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Barneys said Thursday it had retained a civil rights expert to help review its procedures. Sharpton vowed to put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if the retailer fails to respond adequately to the allegations.http://www.nhregister.com/african-americans/20131026/sharpton-threatens-barneys-store-boycott-over-alleged-profiling.
The New York Police Department, Barneys New York and Macy’s are all coming under fire, with lawsuits already filed or pending by the shoppers who say they were detained by authorities after trying to make perfectly legal purchases. “It’s stunning and reprehensible that black people should have to fear arrest in order to go out shopping,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/shop-and-frisk-incidents-reprehensible.
Aren’t these the same issue which were front and center 50 years ago which led to the march on Washington? Sure there is a black family in the White House. Yes blacks may now use the same elevators, eat at the same restaurants , sit at the front of the bus, and it’s okay to look directly into the face of a white man, it’s even okay for the brothers to have their trophy white woman without worrying too much about getting lynched. So what happened to black Americans, why are we still guilty until proven innocent by virtue of our skin color?
I know I will get skewered, but a $349 Ferragamo belt. Would these shoppers walk into a black-owned business and make a similar purchase? Some will argue that is completely irrelevant to what happened to these shoppers. Maybe, maybe not. You see, I believe there is a deeper problem here . Let’s for a moment allow ourselves to dream a hypothetical dream, may we?
It’s the 60’s, our people are facing an uphill battle, racial inequality, sit-ins at lunch counters, freedom rides, Vietnam ,Bull O’Connor’s , Bull O’Connor’s thugs and dogs, water-hoses, lynchings , Klu-klux-‘klan, King shot, Kennedy shot, Malcolm shot, Kennedy shot. Medgar shot, chaos .!!!! Civil Rights Act signed by Lyndon Johnson. Johnson decides not to run for Office , went back to Texas. Shouldn’t all of that cause blacks to come together? Shouldn’t blacks take a page from the Europeans who fled Hitler and seriously band together starting their own Banks, Restaurants , Social Clubs, Department Stores? Don’t tell me blacks had no money many have done great things with less than what black America had.
By the year 2015, African-Americans will be spending $1.1 trillion a year on products and services. Currently, the Black population in the U.S. has a buying power of nearly $1 trillion – a figure larger than the gross domestic product of most countries in the world. The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or more has grown by 63.9 percent in the last decade, a rate greater than that of the overall population.http://www.triceedneywire.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1018:nnpa-nielsen-release-black-consumer-report-as-new-empowerment-tool-
The truth is, black America refuses to take charge of its own destiny. Even when we earn significant sums of money we have not demonstrated the maturity and the judicious stewardship necessary to keep any of what we earn. In fact we have shown that we are a craven people driven by commercial lust. It seem we are uncomfortable holding wealth. There have been serious questions asked about this subject, I am yet to see a scientific study which explains this phenomenon. Some of you will quickly point to Oprah Winfrey Sean(JZ) Carter and a few others as proof that my statement lacks merit. Let’s see how far you get paying your bills on their wealth. They are the exception not the norm. Someone purchasing a belt for $349 Ferragamo may not seem like contributor to the problem. To me it goes to the heart of the problem. The people who detained that shopper felt correctly or incorrectly that person was not wealthy enough to make that purchase. That assumption may have been race-triggered, lets assume it was. If it was as a consequence of race, then it was reprehensible. Let’s make all the noise we can muster about the evils of that assumption. Then let us look at ourselves.
How much wealth does the belt-buyer have to have made that buy? What a serious evaluation of what I proposed reveals, is that whether we complain from now into perpetuity or not, the issue remains the same. The two issues are interconnected, because we have no wealth we get disrespected and profiled. Ask yourselves this, would a young Jewish or Asian person have been profiled in the same way? They are not white right? So maybe there was more to the assumption than just ethnicity. Could it be that there some logic that generally young black people do not have that kind of clean disposable income to be so indulgent?
Maybe Blacks need to start coming together to start businesses. We should show less inclination to purchase the garbage everyone creates. Maybe blacks need to start supporting black businesses and stop showing hatred for others who own and operate businesses. Maybe blacks need to stop trying to buy acceptance with their hard earned money. Sure they smile at you before they take your money, then they talk about you as soon as you leave. There is no real power if it has no economic backing. That is the reason we get treated the way we are treated . We do not keep wealth, we are merely a conduit for money, a well lubricated conduit.
There are no shortage of stories depicting the plight of black NBA ,NFL, Boxers and Rap stars who after finishing their careers are flat broke. In one instance an athlete made as much as a quarter of a billion dollars over the course of a decade long career. Why should anyone feel sympathy for these people who go out and buy expensive cars, mansions, jeweler, and other material things way in excess of what they need. Some throw away tens of thousands of dollars in strip clubs in a single night. At some point we simply have to stop saying that people who highlight this idiocy are haters. It is not hating, if someone wants you to keep your money.
I have heard all the excuses . ” Oh they take a lot of tax from them” Oh they never had money so they don’t know how to handle money, they trusted the wrong people” . These are nothing but excuses . Lets call stupid and reckless what they are. When you are blessed with that kind of wealth you have a duty to be a good steward of it . You have duty to set up education funds and other investments for your children. You have a duty to take care of your tax obligations. And you have a duty to make sure that you put your money in a place where you can live off the money that your money make for you.
We cannot continue to have the purchasing power of a large industrialized nation , yet invisible as a force to be reckoned with . We must stop filling America’s prisons, we must guard our right to vote, we must stop having children and refuse to take care of them. We must band together and show we are nobody’s negative caricature, or sadly we face extinction. These are the issues which should be discussed in our churches and community organizations, these are the issues we must face .We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend .