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There are some big problems going on in the country right now and we have the power to fix them. Gun violence, police brutality, and high unemployment disproportionately impact African Americans, and our young Black males in particular. At the same time, high school dropout rates are high and college enrollment for Black men lags behind enrollment for women.

The two most popular options we typically use to effect change are:

1. Making choices at the voting booth and

2. Lifting our voices in protest marches.

This week, the football team at the University of Missouri took the power of protest to a new level and it could start a trend that may have far-reaching impact. They stood firm collectively against racist practices on their campus that had been ignored by the school’s administration. A number of students took part in the protests, including graduate student Jonathan Butler, who even went on a hunger strike calling for the resignation of the Mizzou’s president.

But when the football team let it be known that they wouldn’t play in this weekend’s football game against Brigham Young, things began to happen and the president ultimately stepped down. I always say follow the money. The school stood to lose upwards of a million dollars if that game was not played this weekend.

Let’s turn back the clock for a moment. When Black people refused to ride Montgomery public buses on December 1, 1955, to protest segregated seating, the boycott lasted 381 days. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordered the city to integrate its bus system. Slowly but surely, the city began to feel the financial loss. 75 percent of its riders were Black.

Eventually the bus company had to cut back on bus service and raise prices from 10 cents to 15 cents. Black people began to do their shopping closer to home so white downtown merchants began to feel the financial pressure as well.

Do the math: 381 days to stop segregated seating in 1955/56 vs. a matter of hours for the administration at the University of Missouri to ask its president to resign.

I’m no sociologist but I think our community as a whole can benefit by leveraging our power the way the University of Missouri athletes and protestors did.

If one group of football players can band together with their fellow students to bring about change, what could thousands of Black fathers and men do if we stood together to force a change in our public schools? What if Black parents demanded that their kids quit playing football or basketball in public schools until there were after-school jobs and other programs that would keep kids off the streets?

What if African Americans all over this country told mainstream colleges and universities that our student athletes would not attend unless those institutions made contributions to the cities where those kids come from? What if our college athletes refused to sign with an NFL or NBA team unless they made donations to causes that equaled the playing field, literally and figuratively, at HBCUs?

We have that power! It’s the power of the wallet and we need to start exercising it more and more.

What would happen to the NFL and NBA if players refused to suit up in cities where we continue to see injustice, like in Cleveland, where it’s taking far too long for the Tamir Rice case to go to trial?

If we truly realized what power we had and joined forces to use it, we would see the kinds of changes we’re looking for in record time. There’s nothing wrong with using what we have to get what we need.

As Dr. King said, change comes when we legislate, educate and agitate! 

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12 thoughts on “Now That We Have Power, What Are We Going To Do With It?

  1. Michelle on said:

    The small “b” used for “blacks” in the mainstream press is one glaring form of racism that has gone on since the sixties. We are the only ethnic group on the planet who gets denoted in the dimunitive when talked about as people in books, newspapers, magazines basically all printed material. I say it is racism because the word Negro was spelled with a small “n” until WEB DuBois worked until he got the mainstream press to stop the practice in the 1920’s. In all our publications and websites, we use the capital B so if we know that is the proper way why do we allow the mainstream press to discredit us using that small “b”? It is blatantly disrespectful. If Black lives matter they certainly don’t matter on the printed page in the mainstream press and this makes us look weak globally.

    Additionally, Black on Black crime is not because of racism it is in large part because of our practice of having children without benefit of marriage to help guide a child in the right path (two heads and paychecks are always better than one). A overworked single mother has much difficulty in keeping her sons in line when they become teens, and whippings and threats just make most rebellious at that age. Just like it benefits girls when their puberty begins to have a woman around, so it is helpful to young males to have a live-in father who knows first hand testosterone. We as Blacks have customs that need to be re-examined because everything that happens to us is not someone else’s fault. Last year it was reported that 72% of Black children are born to single mothers…this is a catastrophe for the “Black Family” yet it isn’t discussed anywhere! If we stopped the practice of turning a blind eye to teenage pregnancy and abolished it in our communities, it would be a step in the right direction toward curbing Black on Black crime.

    • Slow down Michelle, your logical and sincere comment may be a little tough for some to swallow. Personal responsibility goes against the big government bureaucrats who want to control everything. Free thinking is not permitted by the statists on the left who have taken the Black community for granted for 50 years.

      • Michelle on said:

        Yes, I agree it maybe a little tough for some to hear, but not impossible to digest. We allow too many things to happen without honest inspection. It’s time to stop being so sensitive and see what can be done on our part instead of waiting for someone to make the changes for us.

    • Ivan Cohen on said:

      Black lives don’t need the mainstream press for legitimacy and who gives a flip as to what they print? You have 40, 50 and 60 something males hollering at these young girls, who is going to tell them that they need to clean up their act? Black on Black crime and teen pregnancy are not synonymous with each other, to infer such is disingenuous.

  2. …Tom Joyner, I love you, but Brother, the fix comes from “within”…Our folks just need to wake up and do what the hell we are supposed to do and not look for “crumbs to fall from the master’s table”…Granted, historically we have been wronged, but damn, we have cause more wrong from “self-inflicted” injuries that we commit on ourselves…Black people, no one can help us but us.

  3. Sir Charles on said:

    Tom, stop beating your own drum and tell the truth… We don’t have NO power! Just as long as they control this country, we’re just lab. rats waiting to be shoot, kill, or throw in prisons across this nation. The POTUS is a PUSSY!!! He hasn’t perform one action that would help black people, the weak speech he gave when an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a white cop, We had a chance to get 3 black Supreme Court Judges, Now, he want to go into comedy. He lost his backbone (lf he ever had one). We would’ve did better with John McClain in office, at least we know what we was getting! Stop riding Obama jockey strap and face reality. 1. Our people minds has been poisoned by the public school systems, with the wrong or lack of information. Malcolm X has been telling us the truth before he was killed: “Only a fool would let the enemy teach their children.” 2. Black people are targeted and brainwashed as the enemy of America, by the World News we watch, the music we listen to, television shows, movies, shopping, sports, education, etc. 3. Talk to your boy Obama and see if he would return the Federal Grant Programs that supported the black communities, and let us know your answer, without sugar coating it. To accept your country without betraying it, you must love it for that which shows what it might become. America – this monument to the genius of ordinary men and women, this place where hope becomes capacity, this long, halting turn of ‘no’ into the ‘yes’ – needs citizens who love it enough to re-imagine and re-make it. Get Professional players to boycott millions of dollars, l like to see you do that in person Tom. Besides hearing “Kiss where the sun doesn’t shine,” your effort is useless and make you look weak as a black man. 4. Make changes for equal and fair justice by starting with your show, get rid of some of those lame comedy acts and deal with the real social issues, instead of taking the party to the cities, let’s do boycotts,help the homeless, help the public schools with books, materials, scholarships and feed the hungry. l know your station is being funded by the same people who want to wipe us black people off this earth, if you want the professional ball players to sacrifice their pay, are you willing to do the same??? Now its time for you to be that Role Model for our people, step up or shut up!!! Let’s test the waters? Since we are the number consumers in America, are you willing to announce LIVE on your radio show to everyone who listen to your show in boycotting Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and all of Christmas holiday season? We can grab the attention of those in power to make real changes, or we can sit you on the shelf with Obama, in my storage closet. “ln a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.” – Aristotle

  4. Timekeeeper on said:

    Power! What power? In numbers perhaps, maybe even in the economic dollars we represent. But real power comes in unity of which we have none, zero, nada! While no one expects, nor should we be monolithic as a people, the amount of dysfunction people of color have is at epic proportions. Which takes away most of the power we could otherwise have. Politically, socially, spiritually yes we should all have the ability to th
    But when Ben Carson says healthcare is “worse than slavery” and some of us still want to jump on his bandwagon, Or when Donald Trump’s claim to fame we being the president and chief assassin of the Obama “birther” movement and again, some of people of color still want to jump on that bandwagon, it lets me know while we may have power in numbers it certainly is not in reality. There are just some things black people ought to be in solidarity with. And racism, slavery and disparaging bigotry ought to be some of them. If we cannot get together on issues so obviously distorted, how in the world can we handle or address the more complex issues we face. The “I got mine, you gotta get yours” mentality, and the bouji type of folks who think they are above it all are a few areas of contention where our critical divide takes place. And, oh yeah, let’s not forget those negroes who think some magic bridge of equality was constructed for us to pass over some years back. The Jews, like any other ethnic group have many factions as well. But I dare anyone to speak Ill about the holocaust.
    It just doesn’t happen. Blacks are the only group of people who are told to forget about everything that was done to them, and too many have bought it. Problem is It’s Still Happening.
    Tom Joyner raises a good notion, a great one in fact. But it is based in theory, not in practice. We just don’t do it. There just oughta be one or two areas of solidarity that might actually generate and turn this power on. Because if that happens, then yes we do “potentially” have it.

  5. Chris — Oh bla, bla, bla. Don’t get angry because these young people took a stand and it worked. Black on black crime comes from systemic racism. Read your history. All Black people need to do is stop spending their money on worthless junk and subsidizing the lifestyles of those who don’t care anything about our economic empowerment. In some cases, that may be a Black person/business as well. Keep that money in your community and make it circulate as least 5 times before going outside of your own community. It shouldn’t be that difficult. If we don’t like the businesses we run because they are substandard, insist that we raise the bar. If we don’t have community, let’s make establishing one a priority. Don’t waste time on nonsense anymore. Time is limited and are children and counting us to do something worthwhile.

    • OMG, playing the race card for the gazillionth time. What does playing that worn out card get you? Nothing. So that gangbanger who missed his intended target and hit the 6 year old girl, shot the gun because of racism. Freeda, you are the problem if all you do is cry “racism.” Racism has been around for thousands of years. Did it stop Ben Carson, Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice or the phony in the White House from achieving anything? Until you accept responsibility for yourself and WORK to become somebody, all you’re going to do is whine. You said it yourself, the children are counting on you to do something worthwhile, is playing the race card worthwhile?

      • Oh please. I don’t need to cry racism, because I understand what it is. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, please don’t talk to me. Nothing in my comment cries racism dear. I stand on principles, not on historical wrongs. What I said is that it is caused by systemic racism. When people don’t understand why they do certain things, they continue to perpetuate them. Ignorance is prevalent in most, if not all of these situations. I’m not negating personal responsibility, but that same old story of yours is wearing thin. I’ll leave you with this — each one teach one something worth knowing. I’m out.

  6. Tom you phony hypocrite. Tell us how voting is going to end black on black crime? What good will voting in Chicago do to stop daily shootings? Police brutality, how about simply listening when someone in authority ask you do something, instead of keeping it real. BLM was created under the false pretense that Michael Brown was the college bound angel who had his hands up and was cooperating with Officer Wilson. The DOJ under it’s racist boss Holder tried every which way to get an indictment. We’ve had a black POTUS for seven years, what has he done for black unemployment? What has he done for black high school dropouts? What’s he done to help black people to get into college? In fact, what has he done for black people in general. He was interested only in his legacy, Obamacare, which is turning out to be a disaster. Black fathers ( I will not go there) and men forcing changes in public schools? How about getting their kids an education and reducing dropout rates? Black parents demanding their kids to stop playing football or basketball? Are you high? After school jobs, you probably want 15 bucks an hour, to keep them off the streets? That’s their parent’s responsibility. How about the kids go home and do their homework, study for test and learn something. NFL and NBA players refusing to suit up, and forfeiting tens of thousands of dollars, OMG, do you hear yourself? Give LeBron a call and see what he does.
    “I’m no sociologist but I think our community……..” You are a race baiting hustler. You don’t care about the black community. You only care how you can profit from grievance mongering. Tell us, what did the President at Missou actually do to be forced out of office?

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