#TheBreadcrumbEffect… or at least that’s what I call it. Another thing I learned as a survivor of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse was not to praise my abuser too quickly for showing me kindness or generosity – to withhold judgment until they bear CONSISTENT, ONGOING FRUIT in keeping with true repentance – because, with abusers, the kindness NEVER lasts.
Narcissism faithfully adheres to a cycle: Seduce. Devalue. Discard.
Breadcrumbs come at the beginning of the seduce cycle. After dismissing your feelings, denying your perception of reality, and treating you with contempt, the wannabe savior swoops in with a morsel of affection, to lure their target back into the cycle of false hope, deferred dreams, and unkept promises. Rinse and repeat.
The breadcrumb effect is happening all across our country, since the death of George Floyd last year. It looks mighty tasty unless you know you’re really entitled to a full course meal.
How many companies that are speaking up with words, and discounts, and funding – quite suddenly, I might add – are genuinely committed to dismantling this oppressive system? What is their PATTERN of behavior and their historical support and involvement in reforming institutions that place toxic factories in our communities; systems that drive redlining and housing discrimination? How many of them fund and engage in efforts that support prejudicial incarceration and criminal sentencing, slave labor, predatory lending, and discriminatory hiring/ salary/ promotion practices? And how many of them have the unmitigated gall to do so, while also dropping a nickel in the bucket toward equity and justice?
And where is the task force to hold them accountable and ask for receipts? What we know about this country is that plenty of companies lack integrity – advertise one thing but do another.
Please be clear. I’m not saying we should reject any contributions or support. I’m saying these sudden influxes or responses are just the beginning. If none of these companies use their influence and resources to help change the policies and laws at the root of our issues, then we are just funding programs for little black and brown children who grow up and face the same world we have now.
After what some of these influencers have generationally contributed to our continued demise, this sudden influx of publicized contributions is quite literally the LEAST they can do and legitimately questionable in its intent. It is an overdue and underwhelming start to reparations and reconciliation. When such fruit remains consistently produced over time, THEN I’ll praise them. And don’t get me started on the suddenly charitable institutions that are really just returning what they stole in inflated interest from predatory lending practices.
Businesses and corporations across this capitalist country, who’ve LONG benefited from the current abusive systems and infrastructure, have had time to reflect on the events of last year and regroup. They’ve had time to strategize and develop some semblance of a response. The question is, did they use that time to develop and implement sustainable, incremental practices that dismantle this horrifically broken system? Or did they merely develop and implement PR stunts to put us back to sleep, so they can continue to exploit the system and us?
Let us not be put back to sleep with flowers and an apology, after the abuser has blacked both of our eyes, and literally murdered us. May our boundaries demand that corporations go beyond financial contributions. Until they use their authority and resources to support policies, pass bills, and change laws in the interests of racial equity and justice, then their knees are still on our necks.
This post was written by a guest contributor that is an incredible and strong Black mother in our Cincinnati community. We thank her for sharing her voice with us.