The Pioneer

Combating capitalism through social justice

Photo courtesy of Brook Ward via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Brook Ward via Flickr

Britney Yarbrough,
Contributor

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The issue of racial inequality is nothing new but contributions such as the civil rights movements have influenced each generation to date. The rising discomfort for people of color has unmasked itself following the election of Donald J.Trump. Unfortunately, racists have chosen to act out against people of color after they have been oppressed and brutalized by police. It is aggravating to say the very least.

As an African American woman I understand first-hand the frustration circulating in my community. We live in constant fear of not making it home if we’re pulled over, or not making it home from school. Nooses hanging from trees were found on the campuses of Duke University in North Carolina and American University in Washington D.C. The issue of racial inequality beginning with, but not limited to America must be fought against with solutions to end it.

Recently, rapper J.Cole who is well known not only his music, but his advocacy for equality took to Twitter to express his thoughts concerning what has been taking place in the NFL. Below are a few of the Tweets that were the most impactful:

“God bless every player that finds the courage to kneel today. But the real power comes from you deciding not to watch.”

“Your eyes translate to advertising money for the league and its owners”

“You and me have the power to deny them our attention ($$ to them) until they make a wrong situation right”

“Every day they stay quiet on this they’re saying that they condone what’s happening to Kap and the message it sends”

“Well you have a choice on how you respond to that. You can choose not to watch”

“That’s when the magic happens. And sadly, in this capitalistic world we live in, that’s when your voice is heard. When you hurt the pockets.”

These particular tweets prompted a reflection on a theory I learned about,  known as Cybernetics. Cybernetics is the study of how feedback affects social systems. For any system to function properly, the most important parts of the system must be fully functioning.

In this case J.Cole directed his audience to attack consumerism . His suggestion was to stop watching football games or financially contribute to the NFL. For some it may be a big sacrifice, but in 1955 a much larger sacrifice was made.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which Cole also mentions in his Tweets, was proof that combating capitalism with consumerism can work to the consumer’s favor. “Some of us have grandparents who walked miles to work instead of riding the bus, just to show the bus companies that they won’t tolerate racism” he wrote. African Americans refused to ride the bus due to segregated seating and harassment.

Instead, they chose to walk to their destination rather than be treated any less than a white person. This boycott lasted for an entire year, which contributed to a large financial hit to the bus company’s bottom line. This loss of business forced the buses to abide by the requests of African Americans. It was a huge victory!

Those brave participants chose to walk miles to their destinations as a unit to get what they asked for. Although it took time, it was not the end of the world.

As human beings it is our moral and ethical responsibility to treat one another with respect regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual preference. Unfortunately, that is not the reality that we live in today. Anyone who tolerates oppression is no better than the oppressor.

To turn off a football game and save your money doesn’t seem that bad after all. Just as Kap was shunned for supporting what he believed in. The NFL should be held accountable for its lack of support in relation to the injustices taking place in America.

Hit them where it hurts, their wallets, and watch how the tables turn. We have the power. We should use it.

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California State University East Bay
Combating capitalism through social justice