In my Race Relations workshop, Teaching Stereotypes, I use a flyswatter exercise to demonstrate how we desensitize systematic destruction of anything that gets in the way of our success, like swatting flies. Throughout the history of Black chattel slavery and in every decade since, the hand with the flyswatter has come down hard and fast to control progress that contributes to wealth gaps today.
Who Holds The Swatter?
It seems fair for non ADOS citizens to say “I was not there during slavery and own no slaves.” But, it is disingenuous to entertain no fault in the continued fly swatting of Black Americans.
Much has been written about the history of abuse of slaves and ADOS, therefore I will not repeat it here. I will offer a very brief outline for your further research to identify specific areas of injury to ascertain truths of systemic racism.
· 1600s Free Africans farm owners – repatriated – SPLAT
· Slave inventions stolen – SPLAT
· Post Slavery Business Empires – Burned - SPLAT
· Reconstruction – elected Black politicians and voters - Removed – SPLAT
· Black Codes, Convict Labor and Sharecropping Fraud - Abuse - SPLAT
· Wilmington, NC, Tulsa, OK and hundred of properties across the country – Taken – SPLAT
· G.I Bill mostly to white soldiers and Redlining – SPLAT
· Affirmative Action for ADOS mostly to immigrants, other minorities, white women - SPLAT
Today, a quick drive through any Black community will expose how flyswatter use continues with the Move Over Movement. This happens when whites and ethnic groups take over livelihood services or industries previously dominated by ADOS. Most often this is seen when businesses enter offering the same services that Blacks once owned. We saw this in the mid 20th Century with the catering industry. It's also prevalent when Blacks are not hired at businesses and service centers that once exclusively hired them or they may now be required to know a foreign language for the positions.
My Durham Black Business Success research highlighted extraordinary economic empires that warranted Durham a Black Wall Street designation. One industry was Black owned Gas and Service stations. Between 1920 and 1960, Durham could boast 32 Black owned stations. Today there is one. Who owns the stations now and how do they afford the franchises?
This well known industry take-over is seen in every quarter of the nation. Nail Shops. Since slavery, Blacks earned their living grooming feet and hands. Now, they are customers and though trained as manicurist in Black Beauty Colleges, are unlikely to be hired even in shops with predominantly Black clientele.
A mainstay business in the Black economy has always been Black hair care and grooming products. Our earliest Black female millionaires built huge global hair care businesses. Today, the Black Hair Care industry has mostly been bought out by non-Blacks.
Move Over Movement and Wealth Gap
Reasons for wealth gaps become easier to grasp when the flyswatter history and current Move Over Movement targeting ADOS businesses is understood. This phenomenon is not isolated to non-Black immigrants. We see similar take-overs from Black immigrants as well, creating tensions among ethnic Black groups. We read about this occurring in South Africa among Black inhabitants.
In the interest of Race Relations we must seriously ask, Is this take over behavior fair to any Homeland group member?