Editorial: Do we have the wherewithal to respond to injustice?

Memorial In Brooklyn For Recent Victims Of Police Violence, Eric Garner And Michael Brown

By Be Moore

In 1991, Howard University rested squarely in the hood.

Now, the university hasn’t MOVED, but think of the hood as a sort of tide that rises and encompasses areas, and other times recedes, leaving traces like flopping fish on the ground after a tidal wave. We we’re under water.

Along with hood, comes hood fixings. Familiar things that you’ve surely seen before: bad graffiti, low grade food, and trash that rolls like tumbleweeds. Another key element to the hood is an ever present lack of respect for it’s residents.

Up the street from Drew Hall lies the closest source of “food”, a Chinese carry-out named Howard China. One night, while broke and starving as we often were freshman year, a couple friends and I ventured up the block to this incredible oddity where they served gigantic fried chicken wings over fries, all smothered with an, at the time, unfamiliar hot and sweet red sauce. It was absolutely delicious and even better it was CHEAP.

wings mambo sauce

After we placed our orders and of course paid in advance (ref: hood rules), another young customer who presumably lived in the neighborhood walked in to pick up his meal. Whatever the issue was, he was unhappy with the service or his meal and a conflict began between he and the woman working the register, in which they yelled at each other through the dozen holes or so drilled through the bullet proof glass. The shouting match ended with the customer storming out with his food, and the cashier yelling…

“Nigger, you’ll be back TOMORROW!”

I know she wasn’t talking to me, but I heard her message loud and clear. She believed that because her business provided a necessary service that it didn’t matter how she treated people. She also believed that her value was higher than the that of the people she served.

She was wrong on two counts, about me and my boys at least: 1 – we weren’t niggers, and 2 – we would NEVER be back.

This all comes to mind again today, more than 20 years later, as America responds to the deaths of American citizens at the hands of police with no inditement (Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Sean Bell…) What will be the SUSTAINED response of the people? Do we have the wherewithal and patience to affect change?

Will we go back?

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5 Comments

  • PJ

    Reply Reply January 20, 2015

    I totally agree with you. I had a similar experience at Sally’s. To make a long story short, the cashier/clerk was very rude to me and told me, “You can’t talk to me like that.” I was appalled at the rudeness and disrespect. Needless to say, I will never step foot in a Sally’s establishment again.

  • Samuel Burnham

    Reply Reply January 20, 2015

    Good afternoon. B Moore has the spiritual values to provide the proper response to this injustice he spoke of. Brother Moore, I believe we spoke by email briefly, though you probably have a few hundred a day to worry about. I hope I can add the One Million Conscious Black Voters (OMCBV) movement to the Rattler Roundup community: http://www.amefika.com

    The one million out of the 45 plus Million Black folks in this nation that we are seeking will have the SAME response to injustice that brother B. Moore and his friends did!

    • Samuel Burnham

      Reply Reply January 20, 2015

      I apologize for my mis-typed “Rattler Roundup”…I meant to say “Alumni Roundup”. Either way, we are glad to find a brother of like mind as the OMCBV(One Million Conscious Black Voters) Movement!

  • Stacey

    Reply Reply January 20, 2015

    Here is my question, did you and your friends demand your money back? Change could have started then and should have made them go out of business. Because if this is the place I think you are talking about, they were still in business when I graduated in ’94. When situations like this happen, we tend to turn the other cheek. Meaning, we witness situations, say, “Oh, they are not talking to me,” let these establishments keep our money and never go back. We should demand refunds and then never back and make a fuss to people we know to spread the word. When we stop fighting each other, then we can make a change. It is sad that black people do not realize how strong and powerful we can be when we stand together and not spend our money. The black dollar is way more powerful then what folks think.

  • Christine

    Reply Reply January 23, 2015

    In the past all Blacks (Negroes) lived in the “hood”. I believe if you check the history of the locations of Historically built Black colleges, you will find that the majority of them are in the “hood”. You built where you were allowed to build (in your neighborhood). Integration did not make the colleges relocate. Given the mind set of racists, you are more safe where you are.
    A lot of foreigners call us what they hear us calling each other and are mystified when we object (get angry). There is a language barrier.
    Remember, foreigners, and especially Asians, have been trained to sell products that Blacks want or use. These products, as you have mentioned, are usually cheap and sometimes of low quality.
    Did you know the relationship between the Black guy and the Asian owner. Based on her comments, they have a past and he did not object to her calling him a nigger (they might have it like that). If you feel like you have been disrespected, do not do repeated business with the company. But do remember that old saying “You get back what you give”.
    We need to know the power of the vote! That’s one way to fight injustice. God is in control. So just listen for what it is that he wants you to do. That rising tide you spoke of, with the flopping fish.. it’s from these places that all our Black heroes from the past, and some from our present time have emerged.
    CY

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