Radio host Warren Ballentine called for a day of no spending on Nov. 2. The boycott was scheduled in response to a recent string of racist incidents in the United States, including Louisiana’s infamous Jena 6.Could this be the civil rights movement of the 20th century? Some say that it is, and history may truly be repeating itself once more. With all the recent racist accounts across the United States, Black America had decided to stand up.
Last Friday marked the official “Blackout Day.” It was an event organized to show the nation that African Americans are responsible for an estimated $2 billion spent every day, even though they are only approximately 12 percent of the U.S population. It was felt that one day dedicated to not purchasing anything would be economically shocking to the rest of the country.
It first began with the recent controversy that surrounded the Jena 6 case. Thousands went by the busload to rally together in small town Jena to prove the injustice of teenager Mychal Bell. The event made history as it impressed the world that African Americans in this day and age could stand together for one cause. The media publicized the march, but failed to shed light on other recent unfair racist treatment all over the nation. Not only has the South shown its true colors, but other regions have as well.
A few months ago, a young black man was shot down and killed by NYPD in New York City the very night before his wedding. In California, a young girl’s arm was broken by a school security official after she refused to pick up something off the floor. Elsewhere was a teenage girl who was sprayed with Mace after missing curfew. We mustn’t also forget about all the nooses being found everywhere we turn.
Civil rights leaders such as Ballentine and Al Sharpton believed this boycott was well overdue, that the time is now to prove once and for all enough is enough.
So how effective would one day of spending absolutely any money really be? The information spread by word of mouth. The story didn’t receive much publicity but used technology to its advantage with chain text messages and e-mails. But many students on campus were unaware what the “Blackout” meant, let alone what it was for.
“I read the signs around campus and realized that the $2 billion spent every day was my money too, ” said junior Arneil Brooks from Little Rock. “I needed a battery for my car, but I didn’t buy it until the next day.”
June Wilson, a senior from Monroe, said, “Yes, I did know about the Blackout and I participated because I feel that Black people should come together like this more often. “Even though every day is really a blackout for me . .”
Another student, April Montgomery from Shreveport, said she and her roommate weren’t too sure about the cause of the Blackout, but did wear black in support.
Overall, the day was a success even if the results weren’t what were expected. It was another way to show the world that Black America is unifying to prove that we must not ignore the prejudice in America today. Just as in the 1960s, Blacks too can make a difference.