The relevance of reading, or why this shouldn’t come as a surprise

In light of the trending “Alternative Facts” presented by the Trump kool-aid drinkers, and the accompanying societal disbelief expressed on social media, I thought this paragraph I was reading for my own studies was particularly relevant: …when people define situations as real, they are real. We shall try to remember throughout our inquiry that material facts…

Read More

Excusing the inexcusable: the perpetual violence of law enforcement officers

It just keeps happening. It’s like watching reruns of that same awful ass episode on TV, except while the storyline stays the same, the central characters change. Same story, different day, different family and community destroyed. Each time it happens it’s like another piece of your heart gets ripped out, another part of your soul gets crushed. You…

Read More

Conscious Consumerism

Keep this in mind as you go about shopping the holiday sales:

How are you spending your money?

Don’t talk to me about high unemployment or institutional racism or housing discrimination. Don’t talk to me about some big corporate giant that is making its execs wealthy off the backs of poor, working people while you spend every dime you earn with those same companies.

Don’t want to hear a thing about it until we finally realize that the African-American community has within its purse, pocket and wallet the very means to address many of the problems that plague it…and then do something about it. If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. If you will not provide the missing piece of the puzzle, you are contributing to the jumbled mess. Either we will buy our freedom or pay for our own oppression, I say.

They want to talk about affirmative action. They want to talk about corporate greed. I want to talk about conscious consumerism.

They want to go on and on about discrimination in the work place or the fact that African Americans are unemployed at an appalling rate that pales in comparison to that of Whites. And I want to know when was the last time you purposely went to a Black-owned gas station or grocery store even if it meant going a little bit out of the way.

Here in New Orleans, 50 percent of all African-American men are unemployed. And upon hearing that dismal statistic, I shake. But then I remember that according to a reputable study, if African Americans would just double the money we spend amongst ourselves and spend just 12 cents of every dollar with Black-owned businesses, those businesses could in turn provide more jobs for Black folks—about 589,000 Black folks to be exact.

To be sure, I have perfected the art of taking any argument, any tirade and turning it into an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with anyone who will listen to me when I say that there is only frontier left for African-Americans as it relates to the quest for power and fairness in America. It is not at the ballot box or at rallies, but at cash registers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Vote habitually. And when demonstration is in order, protest vehemently. But unless and until Black America corrals it’s nearly $1 trillion buying power and uses it to build, strengthen and sustain its communities, all the voting and protesting in the world will not get us out of the mess we are in.

Don’t complain about the rampant crime in your communities and others like it while you spend your money with businesses that do nothing for your neighborhood or your neighbors. Don’t complain about the horrid state of your environs when while you spend money every day with businesses whose owners get into their fancy cars and fine trucks to commute to and from gated hamlets and far-flung suburbs to set up shop on your block.

–Anitra D. Brown; editor of the New Orleans BlackBook, a directory of Black-owned businesses, Black entities and organizations in New Orleans, LA.

Our Humanity Is Worth More Than Their Bottom Line

I hadn’t planned on updating my blog yet. I’ve had something else in the works but wasn’t ready to release it yet. But in the wake of this disgusting, though unsurprising, decision not to indict Darren Wilson, I had to disrupt my plans. We all know the stat…every 28 hours a black person is killed…

Read More

The Sterling Situation

There have been so many articles written about this man in the last few days that it’s making my head spin trying to keep up with them. Then throw the Facebook newsfeed on top of that and all of the debate back and forth about each article that comes up. But in all of that, two…

Read More

The Food “Revolution” and Culinary Appropriation

I don’t often watch food shows because they either make me hungry or they annoy me as I watch people get paid to travel around the country over-indulging in sickening food contests, or getting paid to travel the world and make ridiculous and somewhat disingenuous commentaries about what they’re eating (“I can taste the countryside”),…

Read More

License to Kill: The Illusion of a Free and Democratic Society

I have a difficult time describing to people from other countries why I don’t love my country. Why I don’t uphold it to that same beacon of hope and social inclusion that it’s portrayed to be. Why I’d almost recommend that immigrants, especially of African descent, go to any other developed nation but ours, even…

Read More

Cruises, Culture, and Responsibility

So I realize I haven’t posted in a good minute. My practicum, the last requirement for my degree, really took over my life; I’m not being hyperbolic. I wasn’t cooking very creatively, I wasn’t cooking much at all, and I just couldn’t breathe a second long enough to think to take photos of anything or…

Read More