One of the major issues affecting the net worth of the Black community is the lack of investment by Black people. In recent years there have been neo social movements regarding this matter, such as Black Out Day, which encourages Black individuals to only buy Black for one day, and patronizing Blacks to support their own community.
A dollar spends 28 days circulating in the Asian community; 19 days in the Jewish community; 17 days in predominantly WASP communities, 7 days in Hispanic communities, and only 6 hours in the black community. The Black dollar doesn’t even spend a full day in its community and this is a problem.
This means when a Black person earns a dollar it is typically not spent with a Black-owned business. 99% of our 1.3 Trillion dollar buying power is spent outside of our community. This is all according to a report done by Nielsen and Essence.
However, there are several factors at play as to why we aren’t actively supporting our own community. Convenience, How many black-owned businesses are within a 5-mile radius or even in your city? And if there aren’t any are you willing to go the extra mile or miles to support one?
Maggie Anderson the author of “Our Black Year” would travel 35 miles for gas to support the nearest Black-owned gas station until she began buying gas cards from those stations and purchasing gas elsewhere, which still was a way of supporting.
Though it’s easy to visit the Walmart that’s a mile away than your Black-owned convenience or grocery store, or even the farmers market 6 miles away. Nonetheless, if we want to see financial growth in our community, we have to take those extra miles.
Or maybe professionalism? Many rather shop white or get service from white individuals because they believe Black business owners lack professionalism. Like if you have a 1:00 0’ clock appointment to get your hair done and your Black hairdresser tells you it’s being pushed back to 4:00 o’clock. This is unprofessional and a huge inconvenience though, who else can style your afro-centric hair no other than someone in the diaspora?
Part of supporting Black-owned businesses is also holding ourselves accountable. It’s not one of Aesop’s fables, the idea that Blacks in certain settings lack professionalism and this can look bad for the community as a whole and is just not a sustainable way to run a business.
Then there’s value. Do we value the Black dollar or Black services? We’ve been taught to devalue ourselves and we do it subconsciously in different ways. Perming our hair, changing our names, and also avoiding services from our own people. Like having preferences to see a white doctor instead of a Black doctor because you automatically think the white doctor is more skilled or qualified.
This ideology has been planted in our heads by white supremacy and then it’s supported when we don’t provide the top tier service one was looking for? Though maybe there’s less compassion with Black businesses? You get bad service once you never return though is that the same mentality you have for your local Publix or Target?
At the end of the day, we are all human and making strides to live a comfortable life, but if you’re Black and you’re not spending your Black dollar on Black businesses then you’re part of the problem.
All year I’ve made efforts to support and buy goods from small Black-owned businesses because I want it to be a good habit of mine that I will pass down to my friends, family, and kids.
This issue is more than just race, it’s also capitalism and if we are to live in a capitalistic society we might as well gain profit off of it for our own community.