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In the profound words (well, kinda/sorta) of the 1974 film Blazing Saddles, “Starbucks? We don’t need no stinkin’ Starbucks!”

On April 12, Starbucks showed Black folks what it really thought about them when one of its white cafe managers called 9-1-1 on two Black men who were arrested, handcuffed, taken to a police station, forced into a cell, fingerprinted, and photographed for innocently sitting and waiting inside Starbucks exactly like millions of white people do everyday. But it’s not just Starbucks that disrespects Blacks. It’s white businesses in general and that’s because America itself is, and always has been, racist.

White businesses and white America don’t love Blacks. They simply tolerate Blacks. If you disagree, answer this: Why are there laws requiring white businesses to stop being so damn racist in employment and customer service? It’s like Chris Rock mentioned in regard to minimum wage laws, “You know what your boss is saying (when he pays you minimum wage)? He’s saying, ‘Hey, if I could pay you less, I would! But it’s against the law.’” In other words, if white businesses could refuse to serve or hire Blacks, they would. And they have. Just ask anybody born before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.

But guess what? I don’t blame Starbucks or American businesses as much as I blame Black folks. The way Blacks relentlessly patronize racist white businesses is akin to what I call the “abused spouse syndrome.” That’s the condition wherein, after the husband beats his wife every Friday night, she leaves him every Saturday. But he apologizes every Sunday, so she forgives him every Monday. And she voluntarily returns every Tuesday, then he beats her again every Friday. At some point, she’s gotta fight back or leave permanently or preferably both.

And at some point, Blacks gotta stop patronizing white businesses that call the cops on them for no reason, that have them followed in stores like they’re convicted shoplifters, that treat them with disdain, and that refuse to hire or promote them. Simply stated, Blacks gotta “do for self” by patronizing their own businesses like they did before subservient integration ruined everything (just like it ruined Negro League Baseball).

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Blacks should never patronize white businesses. I’m saying Blacks should always patronize Black businesses first and if there are none for the product or service needed, then patronize white businesses — but only the ones that have a large percentage of Blacks in management, supervisory, and entry-level positions.

For example, if you want delicious coffee, first check out Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books (unclebobbies.com), owned by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, at 5445 Germantown Avenue. Actually, it’s much more than delicious coffee that’s available there. It’s delicious latte, cappuccino, espresso, mocha, cafe cortado, tea, hot chocolate, and Americano as well. Also, it’s a woke Black bookstore featuring woke Black guest authors talking about woke Black topics for adults and children. And, by the way, it has a woke Black staff.

That’s just one example amongst hundreds of great Black businesses in Philly for almost any product or service needed. For more information and to get a list of those great Black businesses, contact the Philadelphia Community of Leaders (ibuyblack.org).

Apart from that — and I mean no disrespect whatsoever to the two aforementioned innocent Black gentlemen — I wonder why they didn’t retain a large Black Center City civil law firm like the Tucker Law Group (tlgattorneys.com), headed by Joe Tucker who has skillfully gotten millions of dollars awarded to Black (and all other) plaintiffs and who, as a woke Black man, feels their pain of being Black men in Philly because he’s one of them himself. I also wonder why they didn’t hire a Black public relations firm through the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society (pbprs.com) to tell their story through the mouths of woke Black media savvy professionals who live that same story everyday.

Maybe those two gentlemen should remember that Marcus Garvey said, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”

And remember that Booker T. Washington stated, “At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.”

And remember that Dr. Carter G. Woodson pointed out, “If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he [and she] will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.”

And remember that Malcolm X explained, “Our people not only have to be reeducated to the importance of supporting Black business but the Black man [and woman have]... to be made aware of the importance of going into business. And once you and I go into business, we own and operate at least the businesses in our community. What we will be doing is developing a situation wherein we will actually be able to create employment for the people in the community. And once you create some employment in the community where you live, it will eliminate the necessity of you and me having to act ignorantly... picketing... someplace else trying to beg... [the white man] for a job.”

Black folks- meaning the nearly 50 million persons in America with annual spending power totaling $1.5 trillion- gotta stop willingly suffering from the “abused consumer syndrome” by relentlessly and voluntarily returning for more abuse then more apologies then more abuse then more apologies and so on. Black folks can stop this self-destructive insanity by protesting and marching. But that protesting must only be to announce boycotts and that marching must only be to arrive at Black businesses.

Before I conclude, I must include another one of Brother Malcolm’s quotes, this one being remarkably pertinent to the Starbucks fiasco, “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream. You make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee... It used to be strong [but now] it becomes weak. It used to wake you up. Now it puts you to sleep.”

Stay woke.

In conclusion, if you wanna discuss Black business empowerment further and just chill out in the process, meet me at Uncle Bobbie’s. I promise you won’t get locked up.

Michael Coard, Esquire can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His “Radio Courtroom” show can be heard on WURD96.1-FM. And his “TV Courtroom” show can be seen on PhillyCam/Verizon/Comcast.

(1) comment

Black Lives... Gather!!

Hallelujah! It's time to do for ourselves. But then again, it has ALWAYS been time.

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