“I wouldn’t want to belong, unless I belong.”
I was recently reading a story regarding Hollywood actress Gabrielle Sidibe’s visit to the high-end Chanel retail store. While in the store, Sidibe said that she experienced racial discrimination while seeking to purchase a few items. And it wasn’t until the other Black employees in the store saw who she was, that the tone of the store clerk changed. She then began to act in a much nicer manner. But my question is why didn’t she leave the store? Why would you want to shop at a store if you feel they are discriminating against you based on race? Well, I have a few theories on some of those reasons.
One of the views I have on people who patronize places where they are not celebrated, but tolerated is because a self-respect issue. Your self-respect comes into question when you are willing to belong to a place or spend your money in a location where you are not accepted. Purchasing items in this business actually reinforces a feeling of your lack of self. But more so, the individuals treating you in this manner know that you are willing and able to deal with it. A way to show people is to not patronize, not to add to their growing business. Your actions speak louder than what is being said out of your mouth. So you can’t demand respect and go to people where you are disrespected.
But to me, this is a bigger problem than just racial concerns in America. We as a collective love being apart of something that is perceived to be this great thing. And would love to put emphasis on the word, perceived. Perception is a big reason why we seek to be a member of a group that doesn’t accept us. You see it in school where the kid is ostracized from the group. But instead of hanging around kids who want to be your friend, we want to hang with the kids who don’t like us. It’s because the ostracized at times tend to be the people who ostracize others themselves. Now we want the respect that we are not willing to extend to other people. Yet there is still another theory I have on wanting to belong to something that rejects you.
And that reason is lack of self-actualization; not realizing your true wealth. You have very financially wealthy people who command more money than the businesses they frequent. Yet they act like the business is doing them a favor. It comes from not knowing your true value and what your money can do for you. If you really did know what your money does for you, you don’t go back to the business. You think if Bill Gates walked into a store and they mistreated him, he would make a fuss. He most likely wouldn’t return because he knows the true value of his dollar. He has shown this through the various initiatives he has been apart of globally. My money growing a civilization is more important than buying trinkets. So when he does walk into a store, it’s festive because he doesn’t need you. You’re not doing him a favor, he’ knows he’s helping you.
In the end, you will always have people who want to belong to something. And like I said before, it has to do a lot with perception. We perceive something to be great and yet it really is not. But we hold things up in society to be special that are not. Food, water, air, shelter are important, not tote bags and cars. But that is the power of perception in our society.