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Friday, January 28, 2022

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Economic boycott takes aim at wrong target


The call to boycott white businesses throughout Charlotte, North Carolina targeted the wrong people.

“We’re calling for an economic boycott in the city of Charlotte. Don’t spend no money with no white folks that don’t respect us,” said B.J. Murphy, a member of the religious activist group Nation of Islam.

You should not boycott white people as a whole because you want to create change — especially when it’s a response to police officers of all races killing black people.

Whenever I hear “boycott,” the first thing that comes to mind is the Montgomery bus boycotts of 1956. However, it was more focused on a specific goal.

Black people in Montgomery were tired of being forced to stand because a white person boarded a full bus and felt like sitting down. The Montgomery Improvement Association, with the help of Martin Luther King Jr., planned on changing the bus policy.

To do this, they boycotted the city’s public transit. This way, they were economically affecting the entity that made bus policies in the city.

Although Murphy’s economic boycott also wanted to affect change, it lacked clarity, leadership, focus and implementation of the civil rights movement. It essentially said to “not shop at establishments owned by white people because black men are being killed by law enforcement under questionable circumstances.”

That’s not how things work.

You boycott an entity when it brings problems to you. White people are not responsible for everything that is happening. What about the white people who agree that black lives matter? Do they get boycotted, too, because of their skin color?

Targeting a demographic to bear the brunt of any negative force is wrong. There is no way around it regardless of what they look like or what they believe in.

As soon as we move past making snap judgments about each other based off what we see, the world will become better. I treat every human I meet with dignity and respect. You should, too.

Not everyone does this, but that should not force you to stoop down to their level. But it is clear that not everyone can abide by that.

King’s dream of a nation where people are judged by their character is far from being realized. The KKK and other hate groups are still working to thwart the dream, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon it because other people are not realizing it.

“Keep your money in your pocket and let everybody feel the pain economically of what we’re feeling physically when you kill us,” Murphy said.

At this point in his speech, Murphy didn’t even care who will withstand the effect of the boycott. He just wanted the people and the city to hurt.

I can understand trying to boycott certain parts of the city. There is no way to boycott a city.

Murphy and the Nation of Islam’s issue is with the city and its police department. They should focus on influencing those parties rather than lashing out at anything and everything around them.

Hurting your neighbors don’t create any change.

Assistant opinion editor Thom Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]ar.com

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