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By BWSTimes Staff
“The Dollar’s General” by Chad Tootle
As a black person, I’m perturbed when one of our own makes unhealthy choices that affect all of us. Despite an active and engaged black community, the capitalistic demon is always elevated, usually in the form of an egotistical black man, who sits with closed eyes and plugged ears reveling in the minuscule amount of privilege garnered from his master, money. This type, dreams he has a seat at the dining room table, but in reality, he works in the kitchen with the rest of us. This type of brother has forgotten who he is and his shared duty to preserve and protect the tribe.
He’s the type of brother who thinks other blacks are crabs in a barrel trying to pull him down. He doesn’t see that we are his brothers and sisters; and that we hold on to him because we hope he’ll pull us up and away from the claws of systemic oppression.
Brothers like Tulsa Development Authority Board Member Julius Pegues disregard the social, economic, and psychological impacts that his decisions have on African Americans, individually, and as a community. Some decisions affect our community for generations. Pegue’s indifference to Tulsans’ legitimate concerns as humans, regardless of ethnicity, shows his lack of compassion for humanity and his disconnection from the working class.
In November 2016, Pegues voted to approve the Rupe Helmer Group’s building of a Dollar General at 744 East Pine Street.
The pathology of greed is prevalent in seats of power. To awaken from this hegemonic dormancy, our leaders must show a love of humanity, cultural pride, and a genuine concern for black life. Pegues must understand the damages inflicted on American society by the powerful majority, which are the same forces that elevated and transformed him into the caricature he is now.
Mr. Pegues, Tulsa Development Authority, Board Member:
Tulsa City Councilwoman, Vanessa Hall Harper, has articulated to you on several occasions that District 1 in north Tulsa, Okla. does not want or need another dollar/discount store. She and her constituents have legitimate concerns about the health of their children and the value of their properties if the newly proposed Dollar General is completed. Harper has informed you that north Tulsa already has 14 dollar/discount stores, and two are within walking distance from the Rupe Helmer Group’s newly approved site.
North Tulsans are in the middle of a crisis; food deserts contribute to an 11-year difference in the life expectancy between north Tulsans and south Tulsans. The demographic differences between north and south Tulsa are well known, which means that this gap isn’t only geographic, it is also racial.
Why would you subject your own people to more economic oppression and health disparities by voting to approve this development, while the black community vociferously opposes it? Your controversial approval makes it easy to assume that under-the-table factors are at play.