Mind Your Black Business.
Now I gave you those figures, to get to the actual point of this article.
With the kind of spending power and affluence, we have on the economy. Why is it we don’t spend more money in our own communities?
Is it unawareness? If I am being totally honest, until it was brought to my attention as a problem, I never thought about demographic spending. I did take notice at a young age, the lack of people that looked like me running establishments my Grandmother would do business with. It left me more curious than upset.
I’d hear her make comments addressing how black people don’t own any businesses in the neighborhood, I had no idea then, how national this issue was.
I read an article on Atlanta Black Star that states, according to an annual census survey done in 2014. Black-owned businesses made up only 2.1 percent of the nation’s companies with at least one employee, a majority of these jobs being created after the 2008 recession. This figure clearly doesn’t address African-Americans that are self-employed but is an important number nonetheless.
It’s Not Ralph Tho?
So is it lack of Black business that keeps us from being more supportive, or is it something different?
I had a conversation with a friend of mine one time. Another friend of ours sells concept apparel, he was selling a hat for $30 dollars. My friend thought it was too much and was going to ask for a discount. I asked him.
“Would you ask Gucci for a discount if they were selling a hat for $30 or even $300?”
“No, but it’s Gucci!”
That quick without him even realizing it, he not only de-valued our friend’s product. He pointed out the struggles Black businesses have staying competitive.
“Do you think the hat is worth $30?” I continued just curious to what his answer would be.
“Hell yea, but that’s my N**ga I’m gonna see if he’ll throw it to me for at least $20”
Again, he didn’t realize the bigger issue with his approach, especially when it comes to black business. It’s not that he didn’t think the product wasn’t worth the amount. It was that it didn’t hold the allure that a “Gucci” product would.
Right on time?
I watched an Instagram video, a woman comic (I can’t think of her name) was addressing black businesses and why she believes Black people don’t support more.
She gave an anecdotal story about her going to a black-owned restaurant for a certain fish. They didn’t have that fish and a couple of other things she’d requested and said a phrase I have heard many times before.
“This is why I don’t go to black (Fill in Blank)” in this case restaurants. Somehow this one experience discredited every other black business.
The Bigger Picture.
That shit needs to stop, yesterday. Now is a time of taking action, not pointing fingers. I wrote this to give some insight on a highly discussed problem within black communities. I don’t have all the answers. However, I do lend some suggestions.
1. Stop blaming every black business for your one bad experience.
2. Take the time to locate black businesses in your neighborhood.
3. Tell your friends about these businesses for them to pick up traction.
4. Build relationships/Rapport with businesses (honestly any business) before you request for discounts. It’s kind of insulting when you de-value someone’s shit.
5. For Black businesses, be able to take constructive criticism as your venture continues to manifest.
Lastly, let’s continue to grow and create more opportunity. Our only direction should be up and we need each other every step of the way. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism, just make sure the criticism stays constructive.