For the past couple of months, black folks have been protesting any and every damn thing.They've protested for and against athletes, students, radio jocks, other black folks... the list isn't endless, but, as of today, I'm calling 2007 the year of the cross-trainer. That's how much we be marching. If we're not marching, we're wearing black, if we're not wearing black, we're not spending a dime on any white-owned businesses for one day, or we're not buying any rap music, or not watching certain channels on television. I think you get the point...
Now don't get me wrong, I'm happy anytime I see my people take up a cause. I may not agree with their cause, or may not throw support behind every issue that offends, but I'll take vain activism over apathy any day of the week. The only problem I have with this sudden resurgence in protest is our methods.
The times, they are-a-changin', and therefore, we need to update our approach when it comes getting our voices heard and making them count. Back in our parents and grandparents day, technology didn't play as much of a factor in the lives of everyday folk, and thus their response to the injustices forced upon them only had to be basic. Sit-ins, marches, and gathering in large groups were pretty much the only way a group of people could be heard.Â But unfortunately, we as a people seeem to think these methods are still the only way to be heard, and they're not.
I have to laugh at the supposed effectiviness of things like national Blackout day, which took place a week ago. Methods like these are outdated, andÂ they prove absolutely nothing. I mean, c'mon people. We're supposed to not buy a single thing for one day and expect the rest of the country to know the difference? It's like saying if every person in the world jumped up at the same time the earth would fall off its axis. What's even more ironic is this little fact I learned back in college: At no point in this country's history was the economy stronger than it was when black people were enslaved. You can look that up if you don't believe me.
If you are one of those people who still believe wel live in a system that is more against us than for us (and that's certainly a valid position), then you must think about a new way to disrupt this system. I'm not saying I can give you all the answers on how to do that, but I will give you some food for thought:
We are living in a MySpace/YouTube/Facebook generation, in a culture that is slowly beginning to function entirely in cyberspace, a fourth-dimension that doesn't even exist in reality. I, like a bunch of other people I know, will probably get two or three emails a week that ask me to forward a story about some young black men who got beat by some white cops, to, you know, spread the word.
Let's face it, the computer is the new idiot box, people. Don't think I'm partial because I'm an online columnist. Just look at the Jena 6 protests, the success of which was largely due to Internet word-of-mouth. The only reason so many people ended up down there is because they received emails about it or they read about it on blogs. Even the blind can see the world is moving away from things like the evening news and traditional TV,Â both of which played an integral role in opening the worlds eyes to the horrible realities we were faced with in the 1960's and decades before that.
The problem with marches, boycotts and various other old-school tactics, is they don't disrupt everyday life and they have lost their shock value. When the media sees a march, they don't cover the cause behind the march, they cover the march. That's how little weight it holds in today's society. Sure, the black fist is symbolic, but so is knowing how to type in homerow.
I think I've already said this in a previous post, but it's worth repeating. Muhammad Ali once said, "White people are good thinkers...It's like, okay, the airlines will give jobs to a few black pilots and black stewardesses - but by the time they're finally hired, white folks are on the moon in spaceships. So black folks stay far behind, so far behind it's a shame."
Think about that the next time you see the faces of Apple, Microsoft, Youtube, Facebook, and Myspace, because one place the revolution will not be seen, is on television.