We haven’t checked in on the Black Lives Matter movement for a while and with the Christmas season upon us, there’s no time like the present. So what’s on deck for this winter, folks? As it turns out, the Los Angeles chapter has some plans in the works and for once it’s really nothing objectionable at all. While many stations will be blaring out the dulcet strains of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, BLM will be encouraging Angelenos to go in a different direction with a Black Christmas. Well, actually they’re spelling it “Black Xmas.” (Daily Caller)
A Black Lives Matter chapter is launching a “Black Xmas” initiative to urge people to buy from black owned businesses during the holidays to “resist white capitalism.”
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles called on people to refuse to buy from white owned businesses and take that money to invest in the black community from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1. 2018. The boycott serves as an attempt to resist President Donald Trump and his ties to white capitalism, the group added.
“Donald Trump embodies White capitalism. If you are anti-Trump, you should hold back your resources from him and the like,” the organization said on its website.
Right off the bat, allow me to offer a tip of my hat to the group and applaud them for this effort. No, we don’t all have to agree with the underlying message that’s being put forward. Melina Abdullah, one of the BLM organizers, is specifically saying that the effort is aimed at ridding the nation of the, “state-sanctioned violence, that is often found in white-supremacist capitalism.” And, of course, #BlackXMas is being portrayed as a way to resist Donald Trump. (I’m guessing because this means you wouldn’t be shopping at any Trump owned properties since he’s not black?)
But whether you agree with their stated sentiments or not, there’s simply no reason to oppose this. Targeted shopping in support of something is a great way to get your message out while putting your money where your mouth is. Voting with one’s wallet is a powerful form of free speech and harms nobody. The examples of such tactics can be found everywhere. We just had Small Business Saturday where people are encouraged to turn away from the e-commerce giants and major retail chains, showing their supporter for smaller community businesses. Nothing wrong with that at all.
In times past I recall movements in New York to encourage people to spend their money in Jewish owned businesses. It was good for the community and promoted solidarity with our Jewish neighbors. There have been similar online campaigns to promote patronage of businesses owned by women. It’s all good and it doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.
Compare this to some of the previous campaigns put forward by BLM. Does anyone recall the unfolding disaster known as Black Brunch? That was when protesters went in and attempted to shut down commerce in eateries which they considered “white spaces.” I don’t know how it played in other cities, but in the Big Apple, whatever support BLM may have had in the rest of the community was seriously eroded. And, unlike Black Xmas, this was an effort designed to prevent people from spending their money, not encouraging spending in preferred locations.
Or how about when their marches are designed to shut down major highways during rush hour? Again we see a case of a time-honored tradition of exercising our right to free speech being perverted into something counterproductive. Organizing to march, sing, hold up signs and get your message out is at the heart of peaceful assembly and the airing of grievances. But using those numbers to shut down the flow of commerce (not to mention tying up commuters for hours) only serves to turn potential supporters of your message against you and damage the economy.
And of course, we can’t forget the times when they did primarily stick to marching and promoting their message, but sullied the entire thing by calling for the assassination of police officers. In terms of recruiting people to your cause you can’t do much worse than that, given that law enforcement remains one of the few highly trusted institutions in American society.
But Black Xmas is the opposite of all that. If you can encourage more people to get out there and spend some money, black business owners prosper. That means they can hire more employees (probably in the communities you most need job growth), increase home ownership and generally create the rising tide that lifts all boats. Good for you! Hope it works out well.