Eliminate demeanment

Dr. E. Faye Williams | 5/3/2019, 6 a.m.
Black women in Houston and across the nation began preparing to use our political power during a recent event held ...

Dr. E. Faye Williams

Dr. E. Faye Williams

Black women in Houston and across the nation began preparing to use our political power during a recent event held at Texas Southern University. Presidential candidates attended to begin a conversation with black women regarding what’s important to us and what we’re looking for from candidates in 2020.

Isn’t it time for us to begin using our economic power, too? A few months ago, the Black Leadership Alliance, Clear the Airwaves and the National Congress of Black Women began the campaign, “RESPECT US,” to urge corporations that spend millions of dollars advertising on radio programs that play hate music that disrespects our communities, and in particular, black women and girls, to end their support for such broadcasts.

We’ve made every effort to get the attention of the guilty parties, but it’s as if they don’t care and relish making it possible for stations to play the degrading, hateful music that worships murder, illegal drugs, shooting up neighborhoods and misogyny.

We recognize there are black franchisees of McDonald’s and Subway restaurants, but that’s not a good reason for accepting the disrespect of our people. Franchise owners should be the first in line influencing their corporate offices to spend their advertising dollars on programs that uplift us. Franchise owners don’t get a pass just because they want to earn a dollar off the very community they should be uplifting. Some franchise owners make modest donations to certain community activities. That’s all the more reason they should want to clean up the filth their corporate owners are paying for.

We’ve made every effort to communicate not only with McDonald’s and Subway corporate offices, but have been ignored. We’ve taken the same step with other heads of corporations that disrespect our community, but the time has come for us to move to action.

Juneteenth has some meaning to us so we’re asking you to join us on the weekend of June 21 through 23 to join with brothers and sisters in Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Chicago to support our effort on this Juneteenth Economic Withdrawal Weekend. Don’t shop at McDonald’s or Subways because when you do, you are supporting these offenders, and disrespecting the communities some try so hard to clean up and protect. It’s the duty of all of us to support events and projects that are in our best interest.

We oppose vulgar hateful rhetoric that encourages the killing of black people and the abuse and degrading of black women and girls in particular.

Below are actual lyrics from current rappers: “Wet your mamas house (meaning to spill blood) wet your grandmamas house. Keep shooting til somebody die. Spray your block down, we not really with that rah rah sht. Glock cocked now, I don’t really give no fuk bout who I hit. Coupe got the missing roof, your boo come up missing too Poof, I just stole your boo, now ooh, she got to eat the whole crew. We done with her come and pick your bch back up.”

Many more rappers are putting out this same kind of filth. In the words of the late Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: “We’re the only people on this entire planet who’ve been taught to sing and praise our demeanment (calling ourselves bithes, hos, dogs and nias)…If you can train people to demean and degrade themselves, you can oppress them forever. You can even program them to kill themselves and they won’t even understand what happened.”

McDonald’s and Subways are major sponsors of these disrespectful songs. They’ve chosen instead to continue paying to sponsor this hateful rhetoric. No other group has to ask sponsors to withdraw from offensive media. Sponsors do so willingly. Respect yourself, and demand that all others RESPECT US.

The writer is president of the National Congress of Black Women.