The Importance of Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
By Jay Black
I have studied this issue for some time now and have come to
the conclusion that we will not solve the economic and
social problems that have plagued our community for the past
few generations unless we change our thinking and behavior
relative to supporting our businesses.
Why, you might ask?
When we don’t have control over our own commerce we are at
the mercy and control of others. Have you wondered how
non-black -wned businesses (white, Middle Eastern, Asian)
dominate the small businesses in our community while at the
same time knowing that they would never allow this to happen
in reverse in their communities?
It is called the control of commerce.
Have you wondered why every other ethnic group supports it’
own except us? Perhaps they understand this concept more
than we do. I must add that it is not possible at this time
for us to spend 100 percent of our discretionary income with
black-owned businesses because we are not in every business
discipline locally. For instance, there are no black-owned
new RV dealers in this area so there is no opportunity to
buy a new unit from an African American.
The good news is we can begin to reverse these adverse
trends by consciously changing our behavior and by spending
some of our money with African Americans on a
consistent basis. I challenge you to make an effort to
patronize a black-owned business at least three times a
month for starters. If you need help with finding quality
African -American businesses call the TAACC office. Listed
below are just three benefits of supporting our businesses
on a regular basis.
We have greater control of what goes on in our community.
For those of you who are old enough remember the days when
Dorr, City Park, Division and Collingwood streets formed the
core of our communities’ business district, there was a
tremendous sense of pride in knowing that we “owned
something.” Our children saw black business owners on a
daily basis and could more readily aspire to be one of
them. We had control over who worked in those businesses
and our dollar turned over multiple times before it left our
community. The unemployment rate was much lower in our
community then than it is today.
Unemployment Rate. We will begin to reduce the
unemployment rate in our community if we can help our
businesses grow. Go into any African-American-owned
business and you are apt to see African Americans working in
them. There is a large and growing segment in our community
whom no one will hire (except us). These are the ex-felons,
and Bobos, Junebugs, Shykondas and Aquacenas in our
families and churches. There are approximately 2.0 million
African-American owned businesses in America and
approximately 1.9 million unemployment amongst African
Americans. If we would help our businesses grow by
patronizing them on a consistent basis we could conceivably
solve the unemployment problem in our community.
Crime Rate. We can reduce the crime rates in our community
by helping our businesses grow. How? When Pookie is
gainfully employed he doesn’t have time to get with the
wrong crowd and consequently get into trouble. We could
also drastically reduce the recidivism rates for those who
are currently in the system if they had access to gainful
employment once they exit the system.
Ed Note: This column is reprinted from our 11.22.2016 issue