(Todd A. Smith)
There is a saying amongst some that once a company or person goes woke, then that person or company will go broke.
Many will justify that notion by pointing towards Bud Light in their plummeting sales after the brand sent a transgender woman some product to promote or something like that.
Woke is a term created by members of the Black community as a word that meant staying conscious and aware of all the racism and discrimination still facing members of the community.
Now, the word is basically whatever conservative politicians want it to mean at any given time and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems unable to form a complete sentence without mentioning his version of the term woke.
But with money leaving the state of Florida because of his racist agenda, a new saying should be coined by those who disagree with the once you go woke, you go broke foolishness.
With the enormous buying power of the Black community, it is not wise for businesses to alienate the Black consumer base.
And seeing how important the Black vote was over the last presidential election, politicians should not ignore the power of the Black vote either.
Therefore, I have come up with a new slogan, which I hope the Black community and those on the political left take and run with.
If you go broke for going woke, then companies should never be in the black if they disrespect “the Blacks,” as the former guy likes to call us.
It is very true that conservatives and people of other races and ethnicities have buying power.
Therefore, companies should know their consumer base and what that consumer base wants because it is impossible to appease everyone.
Consumers have a choice and if they do not want to support a product because of the companies’ political views, so be it.
As a result, a company might lose some money by taking a stance.
However, if a company is adamant about making a social or political stance believing it is moral or justified, who cares if they lose a few consumers because all money ain’t good money.
But Black folks have money too.
And if companies or politicians offend us, we can take our consumer dollars elsewhere too.
As a result, organizations like Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) have pulled upcoming national conventions from the Sunshine State.
The Alphas said that their 2025 national convention would have generated $4.6 million.
The fraternity has over 200,000 members from 700 chapters across the globe.
In a statement, the general president Willis L. Lonzer III said, “Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis.”
The NSBE, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary, cited safety and “membership experience” for moving their convention to another state.
“We made the decision that the environment in Florida is not the backdrop we want for that 50th annual convention,” said national chair Avery Layne.
The NSBE boasts a membership of over 18,000 with approximately 800 chapters globally.
The NAACP also issued a travel advisory for Black people considering traveling to Florida.
These organizations hope that their efforts will result in real change in the state of Florida.
“It is our hope that the outcry and loss of revenue will force legislators to repeal the terrible bills that were passed in the last few years,” said Miami civil rights and criminal lawyer Melba Pearson. “We hope that voters will make solid decisions in the upcoming elections, based on knowing the impact these negative laws have on their neighbors, friends and communities.”
I have been a part of national convention discussions with the board members of the National Association of Black Journalists about the City of Houston and how the city treats its Black residents because that is important when deciding whether to spend our Black dollars in a city or state.
And personally, I have decided against going to see my beloved Southern University Jaguars take on Bethune-Cookman University on the gridiron because I do not want my hard-earned dollars going to a state that does not respect my Black skin, culture or history.
If you cannot respect my people, do not expect my people’s money.
My pastor Ralph Douglas West of The Church Without Walls once told the story of how a group of Black preachers gathered for a meal at a fancy restaurant.
If my memory serves me correctly, they were in Florida.
He told of how rude the waitress was.
The service got so bad that he pulled the waitress aside and told her who each man was and what church they preached at.
He told her that might not mean anything to her.
But he then told her how many members each pastor had at their churches.
West told the waitress it would not be a big deal if the pastors told their tens of thousands of members not to patronize that business because of her mistreatment.
If memory serves me correctly, my pastor thought the bad service was because of the color of their skin.
With the respect I have for West, if he told me he experienced racism at a Houston restaurant or any other business then they would not get my business going forward.
I’m sure the other tens of thousands of The Church Without Walls members feel the same.
So the political right needs to know that if they anger their Black customers, their states and cities can suffer the same fate as Bud Light because if going woke means going broke, then disrespecting Blacks, will guarantee you won’t be in the black, as in you won’t make a profit.