Like everything else, we have a political analysis around this issue. As we never tire of telling you, the capitalist system was financed and continues to be bankrolled on Africa and African people's backs. White supremacy is the propaganda system designed to justify this terrorism against our people (and other oppressed communities). It teaches everyone in the world to view Africans as inferior and needing paternalistic direction to guide our lives. This is true even of the African masses who, whether we wish to admit it or not, uphold this backward and tragic behavior with the best of them. What I'm saying is everyone in the U.S., including brown and other people of color, learn that to make it in this country, you have to adopt the values of the people on top. And, that means spitting on the African masses. So, there's no question that these Asians that own these businesses in African communities often criminalize us and treat us with contempt. There are stories like the tragic shooting of Lil Latasha Harlins in Los Angeles in 1991 everywhere. This is of course unacceptable because we provide the profits to those businesses so their disrespect for us is salt in the wound. And, the wound itself reflects the institutional racism that locks us into the bottom of this society. We don't get the same types of opportunities for business loans to start businesses and the never ending list of predatory lending class action lawsuits (racist lending practices) give clear credibility to this perspective. So, you can certainly understand our anger and frustration when we are disrespected in businesses in our neighborhoods that take our money, but don't treat us as full human beings, especially when we don't have the opportunity to own those businesses. Nor, would we ever be welcomed to own businesses in Asian communities.
Where we drop our analytical point of view into this discussion is in honestly acknowledging that there is no great respect for African people exhibited by Africans who do own businesses in African communities. Often, their treatment of us isn't much better than that meted out by non-Africans. I remember growing up in the inner city in San Francisco and having an African owned grocery store on the corner. The owner, an African man, called my sister and I the n word every time we came in that store. Capitalism is capitalism and anyone who opens a business in a poor neighborhood is deciding to consciously participate in the exploitation of that neighborhood. The only way someone could do that, regardless of who they are, is by buying into the white supremacist narrative by dehumanizing the inhabitants of that community. This is all par the course for the capitalist system. And, our people are not blameless simply because we continue to display illogical faith in this system despite its continued exploitation of us. After a while, we have to bear some of the brunt for the suffering we experience when we refuse to come together and organize to stop it.
Capitalism is an anti-African system and everyone participates in the subjugation of African people. This is true, but saying that in no way suggests that we support in any way situations like the hundreds of Africans storming into Asian owned nail salons in New York City over the last couple of days, demanding the Asians treat us better. We definitely reject those of our people who are chanting for the terrorist Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE) agency to come in and harass employees of those Asian shops. Most Africans lack any class analysis so we have no tools to properly decipher what's really going on in any business. On the surface, it looks to us like Asians are taking care of their people by hiring them in these shops. This isn't the reality. What's really happening is many of the employees in those nail salons, massage parlors, restaurants, cleaners, etc., are undocumented immigrants that are ruthlessly exploited by the owners of those businesses. Whether people wish to believe it or not, this is the common exploitative model in the capitalist system. in other words, this is how you make money in this type of system, by being ruthless and anti human in your treatment of the people who work for you. So, understanding that level of ill refutable class analysis, its shameful that any of our people would side with the capitalist system and its oppression enforcement agencies against any people for any reason.
Instead, if those salons are disrespecting us, the actual solution is pretty simple. Its not like well to do Europeans are going to come into African communities to get the services they need. So, if we are being disrespected on the block, maybe its time for us to refuse to do business at places that disrespect us? Is getting your nails done that important to you to sacrifice your dignity? Frederick Douglas was absolutely correct in saying power concedes nothing without a demand. If you continue to frequent those businesses despite being treated poorly, you don't have any reason to wonder why they treat you that way. You are telling them that they can take your money and treat you anyway that they please. Boycott, picket, demand respect, but understand the true degree of respect we are looking for isn't going to ever happen until Africa is free. We cannot be confused that seeing our mother as a losing place means we can never see ourselves as winners no matter where we live, but for now, boycotting, etc., is an effective way to stop the disrespect. And, we can do that while maintaining our dignity and not assisting the capitalist system in repressing other communities. Particularly segments of those communities who are exploited and often worse off than we are.
Finally, we have to properly understand our relationship to this so-called country. We are not citizens here. We are the children of former slaves and they don't need us to pick their cotton anymore. That makes up completely expendable. As long as we act like we don't have the sense God gave a mule and that someone is going to respect us just because we have a pulse, we can get comfortable with generations of disrespect. Instead, let's get serious about acknowledging and understanding who we are here and that we must be on a mission to get free. And, in doing so, we must have a clear analysis of the forces in our way and the forces who in many ways are with us in the overall struggle for justice on the planet Earth. We have to channel that anger that leads us into the streets in NYC to organize long range plans that bring our people together with a clear analysis of who our enemies are and why. That plan has to keep us focused on achieving dignity and victory. Until we become ready to do this, we will forever be upset, frustrated, and on the losing end of our existence here.