MY AGENDA - Before I Go Forth
I like Derrick "Huff & Puff" Boazman.
He is an intelligent brother and he cares for his community.
I give him much leeway because I understand that drama and theatrics makes for a good radio show.
I don't need to agree with his ideological and political theories to accept that he knows how 'the system' works - and he understand that if you are "Not In The Game" - then someone else at the table is going to "get the goods" without ever thinking about YOU.
I understand this. I have listened to the man break down "public policy" and also tell his audience how "Politics Works".
My main criticism with the entire body of thought is that - at some point - POLITICS must have some ORGANIC SUBSTANCE - AN ECONOMIC BASE to leverage. Otherwise you will be forced to always "Struggle" in a more nationalized basis, pursing the "standard of living" that you argue that "The System" should be changed to afford to you, without noticing that you have moved further and further away from "The Community" that you claim to want to fix - as you do your advocacy.
When I drove down Old National Highway in College Park Ga the other day and saw that "Seafood Paradise" was out of business - my heart sank. Of course this is Derrick Boazman's "hangout" and he did his part in hyping this place, trying to get people to come in and keep the business in their community alive.
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Here is a (former) business that I took under my wings in the same way about 7 years ago.
The building to the left of "Yasin's Fish" was made into a bookstore and coffee shop on Old National Highway. Though I do not live in the community - I made a point to go out of my way to purchase newspapers, magazines and beverages from the owner, knowing that she was walking up a steep hill, after investing so much of her own money to develop the interior and stock the shelves.
The bookstore did not last for a year. The owner of the building gutted all of the furnishing and finishing and chopped the one large space up into 4 smaller parcels. (What a waste).
My goal is not to taunt Mr Boazman about the failure of (yet another) Black owned business in the community. I was as disappointed with the closure as he was. (Even though I like Yasin's fish better and returned back to my old favorite).
At the same time - I recall my conversation with the owner of Yasins.
He told me that he pared down his 6 locations (IIRC) down to 3. When he offered to sell the other 3 to the managers who worked for him at the time - all of them had a "paycheck mindset" and were unwilling to go it alone. It turns out that a Korean man stepped up to the plate and took a few of the locations off of his hands. Even though the sign says "Yasin's Fish" at the Ralph David Abernathy Blvd location - the Korean man in the back is the owner. (I am not mad at him - this is what he should be doing - filling a demand within the community and hiring people in the process)
Super H-Mart - "The Fisher Of Black Male & Female Consumers"
I am a consumer @ "Super H-Mart" so this is an inclusive statement.
I also spread my money around as much as possible.
Last Friday I made the mistake of going into "Super H-Mart" on a Friday to purchase some Red Snapper. The fish section was packed with people. I pulled "35" from the ticket machine and they were serving #15.
I waited for about 20 minutes and they were on 17 - so I left. I don't do "lines".
I came back just before closing and enjoyed a fish dinner that next night.
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The problem that "Seafood Paradise" (as well as the Black owned book store) faced is NOT due to the absence of demand within the community that encapsulate their businesses.
The problem is that the consumer base has been conditioned to do "one stop shopping" at a grocery store-type layout and as a result the "one off" specialty retailers end up "wilting on the vine" - waiting to be utilized.
Opportunity Costs Of The "Black Community Consciousness Filibuster" - "Results At Home THROUGH Your People" Is SUPERIOR To "Congregational Unity"
So how does this all relate to Derrick Boazman?
Mr Boazman is NOT at fault for the closing of "Seafood Paradise". Businesses open and close everyday. Two years ago that same building was a "SoulFood joint" (Big Daddys ?). Hopefully in a short time it will open back up as something else.
The real issue is that the people who VOICE "What WE Need To Do" did not sufficiently change their consumption and "investment" patterns to allow the Black owners that I spoke of - who put their money at risk to stand up a business for the community's benefit - to survive.
I believe that Mr Boazman would agree with me on this one: That one small fish shop called "Seafood Paradise" EMPLOYED MORE BLACK PEOPLE WITH JOBS than does "Super H-Mart".
I WILL NOT be seen outside of "Super H-Mart", however, demanding that they hire more Black people. Instead I am more inclined to note the smell of fish frying in someone's deep fryer and ask them "Where did you purchase your fish from - with the money that you had in your pocket?"
The 'violent' / angry mask above came from me listening to the radio show this week as people were heard demanding that President Obama come to Chicago to speak on the murder of the little girl who attended his inauguration. This was justified, in their mind BECAUSE "President Obama traveled to Newtown CT" when they had their "murder tragedy" - Black people are EQUAL.
The grand disconnect of this move is that 50 years ago the "show us respect" drive was at the local level. Instead of demanding concessions from "The President" the call was "Support us or we'll vote you out of city council!!!".
This cycle played through. The "favorable people" are now in power. Yet despite the fact that the same fundamental issues remain unmitigated - the "Permanent Strugglers" are now focused on the White House.
Please Accept The Exorcism Of My Anger And Frustration - As You All Made Me Yell At The Radio Yesterday
The best way to revitalize Old National Highway and College Park