7.03.2006

Boycotting BP

Whenever I see a call for a boycott I usually file it under waste of time and go about my business. Not because I disagree with boycotts, I've been conducting my own personal boycotts for several years, but because I don't believe my people will follow and do what is necessary to make it successful.

For several years, I have refused to give my hard earned money to anyone who doesn't want it, meaning anyone who discriminates or voices disapproval of me and mine. If you make it hard for me to give you my money or you sneer at me while delivering service, you won't see me again, ever.

Every Black person has heard it before....repeat after me...."if you want to hurt a white man, make him a poor man..." We say it, but we don't really believe it.

The problem with boycotts is that they are inconvenient and we don't want to, or simply refuse to inconvenience ourselves in order to make a point. It's called lack of conviction, and white people know this about us.

Lack of conviction is why we can't lose weight, won't vote, can't get people to listen to our complaints. They know that most of us won't go along in the first place. Further, they've insulated themselves by moving out of the cities and neighborhoods where we still live.

They don't sell to us, anymore. All the little food stores, pony kegs and drive thrus are owned by foreign born people of color. And now there aren't enough Black owned businesses to pick up the slack if we ever do decide to stage a real boycott.

When was the last time you saw thousands of people take to the streets for a common cause? Immigration reform right? The last time you saw us take to the streets it was called a riot, and with good reason, We were tearing up our own neighborhoods, hurting our own people and stealing everything not tied down. Not to make a point but just to be doing it. Doing it just to get more stuff.

In Cincinnati, at least, two boycotts worked for a little while. Not from the inside out, but from the outside in. People horrified by the image of raging Blacks in the street refused to patronize Cincinnati. A boycott called by gays and lesbians about discriminatory laws, since repealed caused the city to lose convention business and our city fathers were forced to do something.

Inside the city there was no boycott, nothing has changed, except now we have a Black mayor. Bill Cosby came back a year after refusing to cross city lines honoring the Black boycott. So I guess it is now officially over.

Another boycott that worked was when the LGBT community boycotted Coors beer because company owners discriminated against and gave money to anti gay organizations. Gay bar owners refused for years to serve Coors beer. That one really worked. Coors changed its practices.

Well, now comes word that the Reverends Jesse and Al are calling for a boycott of BP. They say because BP has no Blacks in upper levels of management or Black owners for that matter. The Revs say we need to do this to send a message to all the other oil companies.

I'm on board with that. Not because I worry about how many Blacks they have in management but because I think BP sells a lousy product.

I stopped buying BP gas a long time ago because my car's performance seemed to drop every time I used their petrol. I could always tell when my sister borrowed my car and filled it up with BP. Every time.

I'm in favor of boycotting every company that attempts to dump shit into my neighborhood under the guise of providing service. Let's start there and see what happens.
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