When you’re 18 years old and from a small town, it’s Spring 2001, and you’re now in Daytona Beach, FL, you head to the beach for Black College Reunion with your closest new college mates, and you post up on a wall with a Solo cup full of brown liquor and watch the big rims, asses, and lives ride by. This is the heaven you dreamed of in high school when all the girls thought you were lame. You, not me, I was cool. As fun as this is, there’s this nagging thought that something is wrong. Perhaps it’s the 10 cops every five feet, or the closed stores that should be open according to the hours posted on the door, or the 150% price increase in room rates and rental rates. Being in Daytona since August of the previous year and seeing these same rooms for only $30 per night, and sticking around through the college spring break season, you see only a small increase in price, and you’d think cops didn’t exist. So why now that Black folks are making their way to “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” and “Most Racist Town,” are these things happening?
Oh! According to “Big Bird” at the Harley Davidson Store on Main Street, Black folks are not wanted in Daytona and should be pushed out. This is evident, and I decide to divest as much as possible while still getting my education from the great institution Mary Mcleod Bethune founded so many years ago. And asking around, others knew this, too. So why were they still coming back to support this podunk town?
Why do we do it? Why do we continue to invest in these folks and places who aren’t investing in us? This is why A Different World is one of my favorite shows. Two episodes come to mind:
1. Season 3 Episode 14: Whitley goes shopping in a store with a racist clerk. Instead of leaving and flexing her financial power, she decides to buy one of the most expensive items because she feels she has something to prove, and because she wants to show the woman that she has the right to be here like the other customers. Who won here? Who lost? “I knew they were racist,” my friend said about Daytona Beach officials, “so I showed up to give them a slap in the face.” He doesn’t realize the racist officials are the winners in this story.
2. Season 3 Episode 16: Kim turns rejects a much-needed scholarship from a company investing in South Africa during apartheid. Yes! I was 8 years old and reading about apartheid and divesting, and even though this show was fiction, I knew Kim was making a difference somehow.
Why are we not divesting more? I didn’t go back to Black College Reunion. The Dominican Republic has never been on my list of places to go. Hell, my friends think I’m cheap, but I’m simply divesting in this corrupt country I’m living in. The Dominican Republic has been killing its Haitian citizens long before my friends decided to travel there, and even after I shared the information with them, they still go. Why are they not divesting? Convenience and comfort and fun are greater than revolution, I suppose.