Isaiah Washington Posts #ACalltoAction for Black People -- but It Won't Save Us

Isaiah Washington

The Black Lives Matter Movement is what we black people have branded the new civil rights movement. It is taking place now, but times aren't much different from the original civil rights era itself -- the discrimination that motivates us, the headlines that try to villainize our community, and the growing hunger for change. I'm always excited and ready to support any positive step in the right direction -- and that's something that I so badly wanted to do when Isaiah Washington posted #ACalltoAction on his Facebook page, creating an image of our coming together by, among other actions, staying home from work on September 26.

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The first part of his message read:

Imagine if every single African American in the United States that was really fed up with being angry, sad and disgusted, would pick ONE DAY to simply 'stay at home' from every single job, work site, sports arena and government office in the United States of America.

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While confused, I continued to read, hoping that he would further elaborate ... hoping that he knew something that I didn't ... hoping that I wasn't thinking big enough ... because in my mind I couldn't understand what purpose it would serve for us to stay at home from work. Yes, black people built America on their backs, but since we're no longer physically being forced to build it and it has just about all that it needs from us as far as slave labor is concerned, this plan would simply do no good. We could all walk away from our jobs for a day, but the truth is that by day's end, we may just be contributing to the already large unemployment rate of blacks in America. 

Which brings me to pointing out that we live in a time in which the unemployment rate for blacks in the US is still ridiculously high. So with that said, gathering all of us wouldn't be much of a mighty fist of a statement, but more like an index finger pushing pyramids. All jokes aside, people unfortunately would hardly notice we didn't show up. Seriously.  

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If and only if this plan was going to work, the people who would have to really set it in motion would have to be the higher-ups within the black community. No, I'm not just talking your John Doe black business owners -- I'm talking about the black athletes and entertainers who have an immediate economic impact on the financial state of a world that doesn't seem to value our lives. Sure, they may be doling some of that money to the black community and some of it to their families, but believe me when I say a great deal of it goes to making white people more rich. 

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On a smaller level, stifling the economy that continues to benefit the same people who devalue us would call for us to discontinue all business ventures with white people (on a consumer and producer basis), a point that Washington does make in a second post, stating that "on Monday, September 26, 2016, we are shutting down. No work. No school. No shopping for 24 hours."

Although he mentioned not giving our business to white people, he only intended for this to last for 24 hours. He planned for change in one day, but from my experience, change takes a bit longer. Change takes consistency and more involvement (and 21 days, from what they tell me). 

So for me, it's not that his plan required us to miss work or that he wanted us to take action and throw caution to the wind as far as our financial livelihood goes -- because I'm here for the risk factors. That's what creates change. It's the fact that his plan lacks consistency and continuity and a rational thinking process; this plan was built on anger and frustration (totally understandable), but in doing so he completely forgot to make sense. 

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Our goal is to get white people to value us for more than the money we continue to invest in their brands, their businesses, their comfortable lives -- while they disregard that our lives are being ruthlessly taken. The goal is to get them to see that blue lives aren't real because people are not "blue." And we need them to see that black lives matter just as much as white ones. But, his plan sadly won't do that -- not in 24 hours and not by simply calling off work. Without Washington further elaborating, it seems that his plan has potential but is incomplete and thus not incredibly useful. 

If we're boycotting, it has to make sense. If we're risking our jobs, it has to make sense. And without consistency, we can't even begin to do that. We need consistent involvement and dedication from everyone within our community, rich and poor. We need consistent thoughts and plans. And, there within lies one of the major differences between today's civil rights movement and the one that took place in the '60s. This is a start. But we need more to effect longevity and real change.

 

Image via Splash News

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