The devastating video of the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officers has left many in the sports community outraged.
On Thursday, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor added his thoughts on this “unfortunate incident.” Taylor described Floyd’s death as a “terrible tragedy” in an interview with Yahoo Sports and called for the entire community to do a better job of understanding each other.
However, the billionaire owner didn’t stop there. He also addressed the unrest that has taken place throughout the Minneapolis community as a response to Floyd’s death and no charges being filed against the officers.
“We’ve had some people that have responded to this tragedy and most of them have done it in a proper way of showing their pain, but some of them have responded by doing some break-ins. We don’t need that. It hurts the community,” said Taylor. “I’m just hopeful that people will just send their message through prayer and silent demonstrations.”
Taylor’s comments come at a time when many are trying to rationalize the heinous actions of a police force whose job it is to serve and protect the community, yet continue to kill members of the black community through unnecessary force.
The protests are only an attempt to be seen and heard by the same institutions that have ignored the concerns of black community for centuries. While damaging and looting our own communities can cause more detrimental effects, the acts are based out of the frustration of being silenced for so long.
Yet, Taylor wants these demonstrations to continue to be “silent.” Yet, without the destruction and chaos, it’s easy to ignore the pain black people in America feel. It’s easy to dismiss the actions of police as just the cost of policing, or a case of poor training.
Colin Kaepernick silently kneeled and he was called a ‘son of bitch’ by the president. It also cost him his job.
Silence begets silence.
These voices need to be heard without creating excess chaos in these communities. There is a way to get our issues to the forefront of American minds without destruction.
It’s through boycotts and empowering black businesses.
Black people and others impacted by institutional racism need to start taking their money away from governmental services or white-owned businesses that are not making an effort to promote equality. According to a 2019 Nielsen report, black consumers alone are responsible for spending $1.3 trillion a year.
That’s Trillion with a T.
Video arose on social media of protesters looting a Target earlier this week. Target’s headquarters are in Minneapolis and the company pays naming rights for the downtown arena that holds the Timberwolves home games.
Target plays such a large role in Minneapolis. If black people jeopardized the bottom line of Target and took their dollars to a black-owned businesses or businesses that are responsive to the black community, it would have a substantial impact on the local economy.
Black communities have already shown that they can be self-sufficient. In the early 20th century viable communities of successful black Americans started to emerge. Arguably, the two most famous communities resided in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Durham, North Carolina. These communities, along with a few others around the country, produced numerous black business owners and allowed for the black community to create economic independence. These communities would be known as “Black Wall Street.”
In 1921, Tulsa’s Black Wall Street was destroyed by a white mob that killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands from their homes. In 1960, highway construction forced the Durham community to be destroyed.
Despite the end result of these communities, it showed the economic power the black community can wield when it directs its money back into its own hands. If black people are able to recreate this level of wealth into their own communities it will not only help the black demographic economically, but it will force many other businesses who rely on black support to listen to black issues because their dollar depends on it.
Policy changes will soon follow.
Like it did in Montgomery.
The boycott lasted a little more than a year, but it had a significant financial impact on the city’s bus company and also forced a three-judge U.S. District Court to rule that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional.
We have historical precedents.
The black community can engineer change in our society. But we have to do it economically.
This is a time where our best asset is our ability to think strategically.
Destroying our own communities doesn’t affect the privilege of the ones hurting us.
But destroying their pockets will.