All Black Everything-- Why You Should Support Black Owned Businesses
It’s February. It’s Black History month! This month Afros and Ovaries is asking that you take on a simple task… somewhat of a “Black History month challenge”. This month, I would like for my readers to support Black owned businesses.
For my actual job, I look into economic development and whatnots. This summer I was given the task of researching minority business development. While I'd already known that the Black economy was struggling, I had no clue that it was in such poor condition. To give an example, the Back dollar doesn’t even circulate one full time within the Black community. This is compared to around 9 times for Hispanics and about 13 for Asians. You can get where I’m going with this.
We can’t keep our money in our community long enough to impact the Black economy positively.
About a month or two ago, I posted a facebook status calling for Black folk to begin supporting Black owned businesses. I noted that within the Black community we have people that don’t look like us exploiting our lack of wealth and constant poverty. They do so by owning establishments within the Black community without hiring those from within the community. From there, treating the customers of the establishments in a very rude manner and refusing to reinvest monies received by the community into the community. Now I understand that this doesn’t apply to all, but it applies to most and that is the reason for the poor condition of the Black economy. Many agreed and began to suggest Black owned establishments for me to visit. Then there were those folk who didn’t understand the issue. One person even commented “This is why I only support White businesses.” After taking a deep sigh, I tried as best as I could to explain that by supporting Black business I am not discriminating against other races. As I’ve noted before, I don’t do well with internet dumb asses, so after a few comments, I stopped responding and decided that I would blog about the issue.
See, it’s like the Black Lives Matter movement. When we say that, we’re not saying that all other lives don’t matter, but we want to call attend to the issues within the Black community as it pertains to law enforcement and the justice system. We understand that there are bad things that happen to everyone and we too are upset about those things. However, at this very moment, we’re trying to give CPR to Black lives because if we don’t the inequality, institutionalized racism, and tainted justice system will kill them. Because of the critical state that Black lives are in, it is an issue that must be addressed urgently. Much like in the emergency room. If you come into the emergency room with a broken finger, the hospital will still care and attend to your injury. However, the issue of a broken finger isn’t as extreme of an issue as a 16 gunshots to the body.
It’s the same thing with the Black economy. Blacks have very little wealth compared to the overall wealth in the country. The average White household has 16 times more wealth than the average Black household-- let that sink in. That means if a Black man has $100, a White man would have $1,600. That the difference between a pair of fresh Air Force Ones with a pair of socks from Foot Locker and a Gucci bag!
I want to see the people that look like me build wealth. We all know and understand that the only way to build wealth is through ownership. Therefore, I want to invest in the Black community as much as I can to see the community flourish. By owning our own and hiring our own, we build wealth and allow others the opportunity to earn capital. With that earned capital, they can go into the Black community and reinvest in their communities...that is how the dollar begins to circulate. Let’s review what I just said. So, by Blacks owning establishments within their community, they build wealth as the owner. Then they employ members of that very community, which are more than likely Black, they provide income to the employee. From there, the employee will leave work and find ways to spend the money within his or her Black community. Repeat. Now, I must admit, the process can get and is much more complicated, but I’m trying to give you all the TLDR (too long;didn’t read).
I’m assuming that the reader also understands that lack of wealth is attached to overall poverty and that poverty impacts home ownership, education, debt ratio, etc. I’m also assuming that the reader understands that those things ultimately affect business ownership. in addition, I’m assuming that the reader understands that all of these things cripple the Black community’s economic system and lands us right back at needing to find genuine sources of wealth. If the reader doesn’t understand these things, the reader can click HERE for more information.
Knowing this, I want to give to Black owned businesses as much as I can. Because by supporting them, I am (in a very small way) helping the issue of the racial wealth gap. What I would like to think I’m doing when I call Blacks to support their own is calling for Blacks to improve their community’s economic issue. This is in no way discriminating against a group of people that doesn’t look like me. Trust me, I live in America. When I pay my taxes, I’m partially funding other races to open businesses. Some of those businesses I won’t even be able to work at because I have natural hair that they will see and say it is not professional and unkempt. Therefore, I have no way of getting around “buying White”.
My fiance and I have made it a mission to find as many Black owned establishments and try them at least once. If they are good, we make them our “go-to” spots within the city. He majored in economics while in college and my minor was African American studies so combined we both understand the push to support folks that look like us. For the rest of the month, I am calling you guys, my readers, to take on the challenge of finding a new Black owned establishment and supporting it at least once. This is something that my fiance and I try to do often and I thought it would be nice to extend the challenge. In many cases, it will cost you an extra 85¢ in gas simply because you might have to pass up a few movie theaters to arrive at the Black owned Harper Theater in Hyde Park, Chicago, IL or take your time to stumble upon a small, appointment only nail salon in the Pilsen area of Chicago, but it’s worth it! In other cases, you may have to simply ASK. Questions like “Hey, do you know a Black owned makeup brand that I can use?” That is how I often come across many of the gems that I “stan” for today.
You don’t have to be Black to understand this issue and take on this challenge either. This is for everyone! I am hoping that if you participate in this challenge, it will not stop at 11:59PM on February 28, 2016. Instead, I expect that through the month of exploring new options, you find establishments that tickle your fancy and you’ll become a “regular” and even suggest it to others.
If you have a favorite Black owned spot that you want to share, feel free to leave the name and location in the comment section! (I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite establishments throughout the post… just click the links)
Afros and Ovaries
A day late because of C.P. time…