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Boycott This: Lots of Blame to Go Around

By Kathy Y. Wilson · April 23rd, 2003 · Your Negro Tour Guide
The stale-ass economic boycott of Cincinnati ain't never been about race. Two years on and we're poised at the threshold of a class war. The boycott's acid-refluxed up our classism.

Some blacks don't wanna be black-by-association, because siding with (mostly) black thugs bullying the city is some black shit. Not-so-black blacks move north or east, get comfy with The Enquirer and recycle the scary parts.

Who cares or accurately reports how much money is denied white pocketbooks at the behest of Prince, Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg and other beings of supreme leisure? Meanwhile, the underclasses overstand the gimmicks of poverty and the privileged few are threatened by the impending exclusion. Yeah, it sucks thinking about one day not having it all.

Hence, boycotts are designed and exist to make topsy-turvy turns of the ruling (capitalist) classes. No more more-for-us-less-for-them status quo.

Tectonic plates shift. Preexisting imbalances in opportunity, money, power, access and privilege level off a little.

The job description reads thus: Wanted immediately for life-changing work! Must be energetic, enthusiastic, wily and able to leap short mayors in a single bound. Enjoy chess-like maneuvers of community organizing, have little to no ego and nothing better to do than fire off e-mails, paint posters and get arrested? Then this job's for you! No pay.

Who wants to fuck with that? Ask the so-called "leaders" who've misstepped and otherwise led us into the crapper by tangential character assassinations aimed at one another. They're in over their heads.

The one thing that must emerge from this debacle is new blood.

We demand a new faction of progressive, proactive and intelligent folks not mired in politics clutching paid-in-full first class tickets to ego trips.

We require people who'll know that divisiveness in and of itself is mean and little but powerful is divisiveness shrewdly executed to eradicate life-threatening economic inequities.

Dear reader, stop believing the hype administered by mainstream media dripping into your apathy IV.

People are confused by the boycott. People are divided over the boycott. People are tired of the boycott. People are empowered by the boycott. People are egomaniacal because of the boycott.

Egomania Avenue is a two-way street traveled by boycott opponents and supporters alike. Under the influence of truth serum, Nathaniel Livingston, Amanda Mayes, the Rev. Damon Lynch III, Juleana Frierson, Mayor Charlie Luken, David Pepper, John Cranley and the entire wacky cast would cop to schizophrenia over this boycott.

To varying degrees they're discredited. They're alienated from negotiating with the other and we're awash in the jism of stalemate.

The basic tenet of the economic boycott is the demonstration of previously overlooked economic might by withholding said might. Once underway, a boycott must replace what it's swept away.

We've got the "swept away" concept down, but we're looking at a scorched Earth partially because even boycott backers aren't entirely convinced.

The air was weary at the lackluster April 7 Sanctions Summit II at Lynch's New Prospect Baptist Church. Outside, Livingston, Mayes and their militant minions frothed at Lynch and Frierson through an occasionally opening door. Boycotters boycotting boycotters. How cannibalistic.

Inside, the gathered could barely get it up as demands were ticked off in a (yawn) same place/same time rewound tape.

Here's one problem: the demands. Fuhgedaboudit.

Speak to and solve the systemic issues that bled like Timothy Thomas and dropped us off here in the first place.

Second, try truth-telling. It's wintry fresh.

Blacks, make choices. Choices cannot be predicated on intra-racial classism or on our unsuccessful subjugation of other minorities. No Jew-hating, and no Jew-hating on behalf of "the cause."

Was Mayes' perceived anti-Semitism on Fountain Square in fact the real-deal Holyfield or just a half-baked attempt to lance a bigger boil? Yep. Nope.

When you're not smart enough to pull off a fete of that magnitude, attempt it first at home. That move laid bare the ineptitude and divisiveness driving the boycott.

It failed because it didn't galvanize boycott detractors or supporters armed with other strategies. Instead, we all chortled and brayed.

(Bear down here for onslaught of electronic vitriolic vomit from Livingston.)

Whites, stop making the same choices. You don't get to keep enjoying lap dances to the hit, "Ain't No Black Leadership."

Get up offa that thang and do some work. Whomever "wins" or "loses" this by blinking first won't negate Cincinnati's segregation.

Our lives, jobs, children and deeds are sprinkled with the residue of Reconstruction. There's no weekend visitation on racial and cultural responsibility. It's yours as much as it's ours.

If your mayor keeps snorting he won't talk to "those people" and you -- as white taxpayers, council members, lawmakers, police brass and big-ticket business owners -- don't put a full-court press on his ass/ego, then you're all equally complicit in this city's racist and classist stagnation.

Congratulations. It's our anniversary.

Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.


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