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Teaching our dollars to make sense

James Clingman | 10/2/2015, 9 a.m.
When Donald Trump first spoke about his intentions to run for president and called out Mexicans and Hispanics in general, ...

When Donald Trump first spoke about his intentions to run for president and called out Mexicans and Hispanics in general, here’s what happened. Yes, there were protests in the streets by Latinos who felt they had been insulted by Trump, but further action was taken, not by Latinos but by corporations.

According to an article by Sarah Berger, with the International Business Times, “[Macy’s] said they would no longer carry Trump’s menswear collection, which featured shirts, ties and watches.” Further, “Macy’s is not alone: NBCUniversal, Univision, mattress maker Serta and other companies have also cut ties with Trump…The broken deals point to the growing influence of Hispanic consumers in the United States. As the Latino demographic in the United States rapidly increases, so does their buying power, and businesses are starting to realize that value.”

Economics raises its head again, doesn’t it? Macy’s was not boycotted or targeted by Latinos in any way. Why did they feel obliged to cut ties with Trump when he dissed Hispanics? A better question is: “Why haven’t we seen companies take any corresponding action on behalf of black people? Remember the Indianapolis incident earlier this year, when corporations threatened to move their companies out of that city if the law that “discriminated” against gay people was not changed? It took about 24 hours for it to be changed.

John Crawford was killed in a Walmart for holding a BB gun, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed in two seconds for holding a toy gun, Eric Garner was choked to death on national and TV after saying “Why do you keep bothering me?” and Sandra Bland was arrested and died three days later because she failed to signal a lane change and was smoking in her own car. Did any corporations make threats against anyone on their behalf?

Macy’s and the others punished Trump without being asked to do so, because they respect the $1.5 billion buying power of Hispanics. That’s it, plain and simple. “But annual black buying power is $1.2 trillion, Jim; why are we ignored?”

Major corporations with whom we spend much of that $1.2 trillion each year have, a “depraved indifference” to our plight, as Bob Law says. They do not respond to our issues in the same way because there is no price to pay for not doing so. We get slapped upside the head by politicians and our big bad NAACP tells us to take a 1,000-mile walk. One of our children gets shot down or beat down and NAN says “Let’s ‘maach’ on Washington.”

A young black man is killed in a Walmart and our “leaders” rally in front of that store—for a day. Our unemployment is at an all-time high, despite the “great economy” they say we are in, and the National Urban League writes a report each year telling us how bad things are for black America. Our voting rights are being discarded, our HBCU’s are losing millions because of Parent-Plus Loan changes, we are ignored and taken for granted by both political parties, and black politicians like John Lewis tell us to vote our way out of our problems.