Every day I hear someone talking about the importance of buying black and supporting black businesses, however, I have found that the support of black businesses always comes with an asterisk. When we say “I support Black Businesses,” why are we really saying “I support Black Businesses but…”? Why do we as a black community overall, feel the need to put so many stipulations on our support of black businesses when just circulating the black dollar should be enough?
Allow me to provide an example. I was reading some of the comments under a t-shirt created in support of Colin Kaepernick’s choice to boycott the National Anthem. A vast majority of the commenters really liked the shirt and said that they would be purchasing. However, a small few had questions about where the proceeds for the shirt would be going (i.e.: would the profits be donated to a cause, BLM or black police officers). While these are very valid questions, it lead me to think; why don’t we ask these questions with EVERY purchase we make? When you went to Forever 21 and bought the shirt you are wearing today, did you ask the store clerk where the money was going? No, you liked the shirt and you bought it no questions asked. When you went to Target, Walmart or any department store to purchase the outfit you are wearing, did you ask how much the 8 year old kid in the sweat shop got paid to make it? No, you liked it so you bought it. So, how come when you see a small business, namely black, selling a t-shirt, you feel the need to question where the money is going? Why can’t the money go back into growing the small business so that it can provide you with higher volume and higher quality product? Better customer service? A living for themselves and their family? What is with the stipulations we place on our support of our own people?
I’ve seen the same with those who want to haggle the prices of items/services from black owned businesses. Why is it that we feel so comfortable asking black business owners for discounts or for “free” things? Why do we feel so comfortable short changing each other? When we go to any other store, we don’t ask for a hook-up. When we get white-owned services, we accept their prices as is, however the more we see a black-owned business thrive, the more “free” we want. How is the Black Economy supposed to work if we don’t put into it?
I find that some of the most “woke” people can be very “asleep” in their thinking. When I say that, I mean that we have used “wokeness” as a way to be be divisive and don’t even see it. I’m not saying that you should support black business JUST because they are black, without doing proper research regarding quality, price point, etc. I am saying that you shouldn’t ask things of black businesses that you don’t ask of others, and if you are going to support — JUST SUPPORT.
In a time where everyone is against us, black people have got to stop being our own worst enemy.
What are some things you look for when supporting a black business? How do you think black businesses should improve?