You know the rhetoric by now: if Black people want to come up in this country from a wealth and respect standpoint, we have got to create our own and support our own.
The concept is far from new, but it is particularly reiterated in times of great social duress (like now) and around the holidays (also like now). And yet, according to The New York Times:
Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. A report by Nielsen and Essence estimates that black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years, yet only a tiny fraction of that money is spent at black-owned businesses.
That, dear friends is a problem. As Maggie Anderson, author of the 2012 book “Our Black Year,” which chronicles the 12 months she and her family spent patronizing only Black-owned Businesses, unless we spend more time building wealth within our community, we will always be behind.
What’s more, according to The Times, which asked earlier this month, should black people go out of their way to patronize black-owned business?
That means the power to create change doesn’t solely rest on the wallets of the black 1%, every single dollar each of us spends contributes to the bottom line of African-American wealth, should we decide to be more choosy about where we spend that dollar. Remember Patti’s pies?
Some, like Darrick Hamilton, an associate professor of economics and urban policy and director of the Milano Doctoral Program at The New School in New York, think it’s going to take a lot more than supporting black businesses on Black Friday. He told The Times:
“We often think of slavery as the only point of departure, when in fact it was many policies that took place after the Great Depression and after enduring World War II that created a white asset-based middle class. It was government intervention that created a white, asset-based middle class and it’s going to take government intervention to create a black, asset-based middle class as well.”
While there’s no denying discriminatory lending practices impact our ability to start businesses once an operation is in place, it is often black patrons that can make or break a black-owned business once it’s up and running. All of us know the reasons why we sometimes bypass ventures owned and operated by us — convenience, professionalism, awareness — but is it time to put those issues aside in favor of the greater good, aka the success of black community? In light of all that’s going on around us, it seems that question should be answered with a resounding “yes.”
Clutchettes, do you feel an obligation to support black-owned businesses?