Today is International Women’s Day and millions of women will not show up for life in an effort to strike back against gender inequality, gender-based violence and attacks on reproductive freedom.
Known as “A Day Without A Woman,” the move will drastically impact America, including its economy. In fact, a new analysis by the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds that each year, women’s labor contributes $7.6 trillion to the United States’ gross domestic product or GDP. That means that by their statistics, if all paid women took off a day of work, it would cost the country almost $21 billion in GDP. Needless to say an absence of women is pretty much an absence of life as we know it.
But what if we had #ADayWithoutABlackPerson? How much of an impact would we have on America—arguably the world—if we just didn’t show up for life as we know it? Here’s a list of ways the world would be impacted by the absence of African-Americans.
1) #BlackTwitter wouldn’t exist.
Black Twitter is powerful. It is informative, influential and meaningful and it takes White supremacy, bigotry and oppression to task on a daily basis. It is humorous, entertaining and a space for us. I can’t imagine a world without it. Twitter would be boring and we’d have to look to other sources for breaking news and much needed comic relief. Trump, along with others who seem to not have a vested interest in the well-being of minorities, would be free to go and say whatever they wished unchecked. In other words, Twitter would be a bowl of whackness.
2) The federal government would lose 20 percent of its workforce.
If we had a day without Black people, the federal, state and local governments would suffer. According to BlackDemographics.com, more than 20 percent of the Black working population over 16 years of age are employed with the government. That’s a little more than 5 percentage points higher than the national average.
3) White bigotry would have a play day.
The premise of “A Day Without A Woman” is for women to disengage from paid and unpaid work, to avoid spending money and wear red in solidarity. If we did have a day without a Black person, racist bigots will be left unchecked by activists and community leaders. We are our strongest voice and the silence will have a ripple effect throughout the land.
4) Educational sectors would also collapse.
As of 2016, Blacks made up 29.5 percent of the educational services, health care and social assistance sectors. That’s 6.3 percent higher than the national average for all employees in those sectors. If Blacks collectively decided to opt out of working, these industries would be drastically impacted. Children, including ours, would have fewer educational instructors, guidance counselors, etc. to educate them. Patients and citizens needing health care services would undoubtedly suffer from a lack of treatment and support. Social service workers’ absence would be felt in a myriad of ways. There’s already a lag in welfare resources, food assistance and subsidies for other basic services.
5) The economy won’t collapse, but it would take a hard hit…
In 2015, Nielsen reported that Black consumers experienced a “tipping point” in their “unprecedented impact” across a number of areas, especially television, music, social media and social issues. Black buying power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to a report from the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. According to The Atlantic, in 1990, Black buying power was $320 billion. African-Americans are the largest consumers of color in the marketplace, a trend that is projected to continue.
Sometimes, the best way to show the world how valuable you are is with your absence. Maybe #ADayWithoutABlackPerson is just what we need to get things done.
Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY. She moderates various events centered on love, relationships, politics and wellness and has appeared on panels throughout the country. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available now. Keep up with Shantell via her website, Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.