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"I'm going to tell you what to do with your money!"

A Black family decides to shop only at Black owned businesses for a year.

I'm saddened but not surprised at the difficulty. I'm also not surprised at the backlash against them. I think nothing incurs white anger faster than POC making open declarations of attempting to build their own bases of power from which to operate.

The backlash they got is ridiculous and yet so revealing; it's a society-wide abuse dynamic. You might be able to yell, or even hit an abuser in return, but anything that smacks of leaving the relationship, of achieving an option of NOT needing them, whether that's a career, life, or relationships outside of it? That's the kind of stuff that earns the harshest reprisals.

In this case, suggesting they were going to spend their money, how they wanted to? WHITE RAGE. I mean, for the same folks who tell us Affirmative Action is a bad idea, are now telling other people how to spend their hard earned money... that they're now no longer willing to trust in competition, meritocracy, and the market forces to handle it... suddenly THIS is a threat?

Leaving = Hating, or something

This backlash isn't a new idea to me- I've encountered it many, many times before.

It says a lot about someone when they react negatively to this statement, "Here is a (business, community, organization) where I am treated poorly and receive poor service. I'm going to go elsewhere, or, if the means are available, to build an elsewhere, where this doesn't happen."

I mean, they babble around the issues a lot, but ultimately it comes down to, "No! You can't do that! Why are you so full of hate and rage? Why do you want to harm these people?"

Last I checked, "I'm leaving" is usually the least harmful and least hateful way to respond to negativity.

Fascinating that it is now considered an act of aggression. Of course, if you know how abuse dynamics work and how abusers get when you try to leave... well, there's that backlash right there.

I think what is happening when people make these arguments is that they're desperately trying to defend their world-view that this situation isn't actually what it is. That they're not participating in a system that's treating some worse than others (which might be their role as perpetrator, or person acted upon by people they care about, or both).

The abuser and the abused are often both deeply committed to maintaining the illusion of a functional situation, because otherwise, things need to be recognized about what's going on, and then choices have to be made.

Which is why, of course, for the family in the link- the backlashers never stop to ask, "Where are the Black businesses?" in the first place . Because that would entail recognizing the real problem, which is totally not how -this- particular family spends their money.
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November 2012


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