From Huff Post Black Voices:
In the current national push for making black lives matter, economic support for black-owned businesses doesn’t get its fair share of dialogue.
True, social justice and political activism can help solve many of the continuous problems facing our community, but what about economic growth and stability to help heal our struggling neighborhoods? There is only so much we can expect at the federal level before we start doing our own part outside protest.
Yes, boycotting mainstream industry on Black Friday last year was commendable. But that #NotOneDime should have been a dime helping to empower a black-owned business rather than go back into your accounts instead. As an editor-in-chief of a black-owned publication, one pattern that I have noticed working with clients and associates of other sibling organizations is that our community has all the desire to support us but don’t understand how to do so effectively.
After several months of observation and serious thought, I’ve come up with five real ways one can actually support black-owned businesses:
1. Don’t automatically expect or demand a discount. When the latest technological device comes out or the hottest name-brand designer releases a product, many of us save up and don’t question the price. We do this because we believe that the item is valued appropriately. Black products matter and should not be treated as less. If you want to support the economy of your community, you should give it equal fiscal respect and not look for racial familiarity as a default coupon when making the purchase. Black business owners work hard just like anyone else in their field and should be duly respected.
2. Know that having black endorsements isn’t the same as being black-owned. When you see your favorite black celebrity endorsing a product, buying that product doesn’t necessarily mean you’re supporting a black business. While it may be fantastic for their personal careers, many black celebrities are endorsing white-owned businesses that give them a hefty paycheck because they can afford it. Most black businesses don’t get the same level of high-end buzz, and as a result, black consumers continue to flock to European fashion brands and mainstream commercial brands because we see our favorite black musicians or athletes rocking them. If it doesn’t say that it’s black-owned, double-check its source.
Read more at Huff Post Black Voices.