This is Volume 3 of my monthly column entitled Black Dollars Matter.
As I wrote in Volume 1 in May:
“Although … (this column) will light a fire under white businesses that treat Black consumers with contemptuous disrespect, it is designed to ignite an inferno under blissfully ignorant Blacks who finance that racism. I don’t mean to offend anyone by using the phrase, ‘blissfully ignorant.’ It’s actually the perfect term because, as defined in the Cambridge Dictionary, it simply means ‘not knowing (or not wanting to know) any of the unpleasant facts about something.’ The facts are that many white businesses in Philadelphia … refuse to treat Black consumers with respect. White businesses that do racist business must be exposed, not rewarded. And Black consumers who patronize racist businesses must be enlightened, not ridiculed. I hope I am able to expose and enlighten through these monthly Black Dollars Matter columns.”
And I continued by writing, as indicated in World Population Review: “The total population of Philadelphia this year is 1,585,010 with the fourth largest Black population in the country equaling, as noted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019, (a whopping) 43.6%, which is 690,652. … Despite that, many white businesses in Philly refuse to treat us with respect. … But it’s not just racism against Black consumers at white businesses. It’s also racism against Black employment applicants at white businesses that refuse to hire Blacks to entry-level jobs, refuse to promote Blacks to supervisory and management positions, refuse to select Blacks to corporate boards of directors, and refuse to name Blacks as CEOs. By the way, when I say Blacks, I obviously mean educated Blacks, experienced Blacks, and otherwise qualified Blacks. If you assumed I was talking about an unqualified Black person, you’re the problem — correction, you’re the racist.”
There is strength in numbers. And as the previous statistics make clear, we got the numbers. So what do we do with those numbers? We demand economic respect. We tell white businesses to “Get down or lay down.”
In other words, we tell those white businesses to work with us economically or get shut down economically. For more information about this effective strategy, listen to Public Enemy’s 1991 hit “Shut ‘Em Down.”
And we make sure that strategy is lawfully implemented via lawful boycotts consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1982 historic NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware case. The favorable 8-0 ruling in that case stemmed from a boycott by Black activists in Mississippi who told white business owners in Claiborne County that Black people were no longer going to allow themselves to be the instruments of their own economic destruction. They told those white businesses that Black consumers were going to stop financing their own oppression and stop making racism profitable.
(I should mention that it was an 8-0 ruling because Justice Thurgood Marshall had to recuse himself since he had previously represented the NAACP in other matters.)
We must do the very same thing in Philly. We must begin doing it in 2021. We must metaphorically take a page out of the boycott book created by the fiery Cecil B. Moore, Esq. and the relentless Rev. Leon H. Sullivan. And we must determine the facts first through meticulous research.
We must find out who’s a foe worthy of economic condemnation (i.e., boycotts) and who’s a friend worthy of economic commendation (i.e., patronage).
So how do we find out? That’s easy. We simply ask, which is exactly what I did. I recently wrote to all of the City’s largest employers and/or the employers with the City’s largest Black consumer base and/or the employers situated in largely Black neighborhoods in the City and/or employers profiting largely from Black municipal taxpayer dollars in the City.
And I should mention that, as an attorney, I decided to include the city’s largest law firms primarily because many (but certainly not all) of Philly’s law firms have abysmal hiring rates for Black associates and abysmal promotion rates for Black partners.
The local businesses that I recently wrote to include Acme Markets, Aramark, Bayada Home Healthcare, CVS, Crown Holdings, Drexel University, City of Philadelphia, Comcast Corporation/Comcast Spectacor, Cozen O’Connor, Einstein Healthcare Network, Jefferson Health System, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C.; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council, SEPTA, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania/University of Pennsylvania Health System, United Parcel Service (UPS), Urban Outfitters and Vanguard Group.
In my correspondence to them, here’s what I asked:
1. How many employees do you have in Philadelphia?
2. Of that total number of Philadelphia employees, what percentage is Black?
3. What is the employee breakdown in terms of white collar, blue collar, entry level, associate, supervisory, management, board member and CEO?
4. What are the wage or salary ranges for each of the aforementioned categories?
5. What kind of recruitment, diversity, equity, and inclusion program — exclusively for applicants and employees who are Black — do you have?
In a future column, I will publish their business names, mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers along with responses or non-responses to those five questions.
As an aside, I should point out that if anyone who reads this column has firsthand inside factual information regarding race-based hiring or employment practices of any of the listed (or other Philadelphia) businesses and wants to discreetly share that information with me so I can publicly expose it while strictly maintaining your confidentiality, please contact me at MichaelCoardX@gmail.com.
To the white-owned businesses doing the right thing for Black folks in Philly: You have absolutely nothing to worry about.
To the white-owned businesses doing the wrong thing to Black folks in Philly: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Michael Coard, Esq. can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, and his YouTube channel as well as at AvengingTheAncestors.com. His “Radio Courtroom” show can be heard on WURD 96.1 FM or 900 AM. And his “TV Courtroom” show can be seen on PhillyCAM/Verizon Fios/Comcast.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Philadelphia Tribune.