Now that I have your attention let me explain why. As an African American there is nothing that I can do to eradicate racism. Racism is a mindset, it's a cultural philosophy. Racism is owned by those who choose to be racist. I can expose them. I can embarrass them. I can even put them in the uncomfortable position of apologizing. If I'm lucky, I can even impact them financially. The one thing that I cannot do is stop a racist from being a racist. In all likelihood an exposed racist may become more racist because they were exposed.
I'm getting a little tired of the media frenzy when someone is exposed for the racial comments they make. Don't get me wrong, I do a little happy dance every time but there are so many other things affecting us that the media could be giving a little more attention. Sometime I feel as if the media is saying "we caught one, be happy, we're the good guys".
On Sunday Africanglobe published an article titled Is Wendy’s Racist? Apparently, Their Scholarships Only Go to White Students.
Wendy’s, the third largest fastfood restaurant chain in the world, is being heavily criticized for the way they administer their scholarship program.
My response to the article was:
Although I am saddened to hear about this I think that we need to be realistic. A boycott is not going to happen and it would not be effective. To coordinate a boycott of this magnitude would require and consume a lot of resources. There would also be challenges monitoring its success. We have to get out of the mindset of asking for table scraps. Are we contributing and supporting organizations that are trying to do the right thing by offering scholarships to culturally diverse youths? Are we supporting and promoting business to create economic empowerment? While I think the idea is noble I believe that the practical thing is to look inward and make an effort to support those that are up for the challenge. We don't have time to waste energy.
This week's story is the revelation that Paula Deen made some racist comments and has been dropped by the Food Network. Let's be realistic, she was born and raised in Albany, Georgia. Wouldn't you think that if she grew up in a segregated environment she may harbor some racist tendencies? Someone doesn't have to know they are racist to be racist.
Rather than expending any more energy on people that I cannot change, I'm choosing to focus my efforts on the things I can. There's much to do, I'm committing myself to help in getting it done.
What about you?
It starts now, let's get this thing done....
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.