engage magazine issue 005 \\\'07 - Page 50

50 BHM Black History Month It is 200 years since the abolition of the Slave Trade; it is also Black History Month (although there is still significant debate around why we should contain black history to one month of the year). It is within this context that Dr Darren Henry would like to offer some FOOD FOR THOUGHT. The following is adapted from a letter that has been circulating for some time. It highlights some key historical and current messages for black businesses in particular. The letter is also reproduced in full in Beverly Pryce’s book1. Please read and digest, but above all, let us know what you think... Dear Negroes After all these years and all we have put you through we think it’s appropriate for us to show our gratitude for all you have done for us. We have lied to you chastised you and in some cases even apologised to you but we have never formally nor publicly thanked you for your never ending allegiance and support to our cause. This is our open letter of thanks. We will always be in your debt. Although we have tried hard not to accept it, your toil and labour helped to lay the foundations of the prosperity we see and enjoy today in most parts of the western world. Upon your backs, you bore the success of our nations... We often watched in awe as you went about your prescribed chores and assignments, sometimes labouring in the hot sun for 12 hours to assist in realising our dreams of wealth and good fortune. Now that we control at least 90% of all the resources and wealth of all nations, we have you, black people, to thank the most. We can only think of the sacrifices you and your families made to make this possible. Thank you for continuing to bring 95% of what you earn to our businesses. Your superrich athletes, entertainers, intellectuals and business persons (both legal and illegal) exchange most of their money for our cars, jewellery, homes and clothing... Allow us to thank you for not bogging yourself down with the business of doing business with your own people. We can take care of that for you. You just keep doing business with us, it’s safer that way. Besides, everything you need we make anyway, even Kente cloth. You We have laughed, mocked and sometimes treated you with disrespect but you never let go. Black people you are some thing else! Your dependence on us to do the right thing is beyond our imagination, irrespective of what we do to you and the many promises we have made and broken... just continue to dance, sing and distrust and hate one another, believe us you’re good at t hat. Have yourself a good time whilst we take care of business for you. It’s the least we can do, considering all you have done for us... We also appreciate your acquiescence to our political agendas for abdicating your own economic self-sufficiency and for working so diligently for the economic well being of our people. You are real troopers. Tell you what; you don’t need your own hotels. You can continue to stay in ours. You do not need to cook all the time, because our finger-licking, burger chains fast foods and fried chicken outlets will always be there for you. You have no need for supermarkets when you can shop at ours 24 hours a day. Why should you even think about owning your own banks? You have plenty now! And don’t waste your energies trying to break in to manufacturing. You worked hard enough in our fields. Relax. Have a party. We’ll sell you everything you need. How’s that for gratitude? Things could not have gone better and it’s all because of you. For all you have done we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, black people. You’re the most loyal friends a White Man could have. Sincerely Your most trusted friends THE BLACK RACE (Citizens of God) Volume One By Beverley Pryce ISBN 978-1-906169-20-6 1 engage | uk ISSUE FIVE 2007