Carter G. Woodson once said,
“At this moment, then, the Negroes must begin to do the very thing which they have been taught that they cannot do.”
This statement is one that I have found to be true and can be related to a variety of issues that plague the African-American community. However, in this editorial I have chosen to correlate it to the fact that Blacks do not support Black-owned businesses nearly as much as we should.
Many members from the African-American community will yield off millions of reasons why they do not like to support Black-owned businesses, but I can think of millions of reasons why we should. In my opinion, there really is no good reason or justification when it comes to supporting your own. I suppose part of the reason why I find it hard to understand this type of mentality; is because I have always made it a mission of mine and have always chosen to embrace and support my own. Throughout the years, my wife and I have had the opportunity to host various functions. In planning and coordinating these events, of all of the services that we knew we would have to obtain, we have always considered those individuals and Black-owned businesses that are located within the community.
We MUST Understand the significance of circulating the Black dollar within the Black community. It is a sad reality that far too many our Africans living in America choose to go outside of the community to throw money away to those who do not look like us, care for us, or even have our best interest at heart. To that regard, I will even go as far as to state that if there is one thing that I have to be envious about in respect to other races and ethnicities; it is the fact that they support their own.
As it is, America has become a melting pot of collective races around the world. However, there is one commonality amongst most races throughout the nation, with the exception of African-Americans. That is, that they seek out and find members of their perspective ethnicities to support the businesses and services that they provide. I always state that we as a race of people have two of the most powerful tools that a person can have, “our money” and “our vote”. Therefore, we should be careful who we give them to, because whoever we give our “our money” and “our vote to are amongst those that we empower.
Although I am stressing the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, I do understand that there are elements associated with some of our Black-owned business owner that leave room for other Blacks not to support them. So for the sake of those who know that my wife and I have been Black-owned business owners for three decades; and would say that I am being impartial, I will address the flip side of this element. In questioning a wide variety of African-Americans from different classes within our race, it has been said that there are good reasons why Blacks refuse to support other Black-owned businesses.
One of the top reasons that several people gave for not supporting Black-owned businesses was contributed to the lack of professionalism and poor sense of customer service skills, demonstrated within certain businesses. Other reasons such as: they do not know where to go to find Black-owned businesses, they sell inexpensive products for expensive prices, there is no appreciation for the customers and a couple people complained that the business hours conflict with the actual hours that the businesses are open. I will admit that some of these reasons are good excuses not to support a business. But at the end of the day, I still believe that they are just excuses for not supporting your own. Because many of the businesses that members of our communities support are amongst those who barely even know how to speak or write English; so I doubt that there is very much customer appreciation going on there, especially when the owners can’t even speak native language of the country. But, you never hear Black folks complaining about that, because they just want the services that these businesses provide.
While, I am not justifying the operations of Black-owned businesses, I am just saying that there is never really a good reason to not support your own. At the same time, I would like to make an appeal to our local Black-owned business owners to step up your game. Just as I always write and tell our Black preachers and politicians that they must be held accountable to the tasks that they were elected to do, the same rule should apply to our Black-owned businesses. We have to wake up and realize that we must value our patrons and give them a reason to return to our establishments’. It also wouldn’t hurt to support the local Black media to let members from our community know where you are and what you have to offer.