The common questions among American consumers today are: “Where is this product from?” “Is it a white or black-owned business?” These are Black people tend to spend less money on black-owned businesses and unless this changes the black community is likely to lag behind compared to other racial groups like the Asians and the Hispanics. To some people they might argue that this is promoting racism but it is not, this is a call to empower the black community.

If you want to create more jobs for the blacks then there is a need to support those already existing black businesses. Do you know that most black-owned businesses have employed most black people compared to other races? Then, the big elephant in the room is why do black people not patronize these businesses that benefit their people directly?  According to the National Geographic Study COVID-19 has shut down 41% of Black-owned firms compared to only 17% of white-owned enterprises. Why there are many big poster issues that explain this, let’s explore four reasons below which are within Black control. Read along!

1. Poor logistics

Photo credit: Black Enterprise

“Just then I noticed an American family sitting down a few tables away from us. Two of the African waiters immediately sprang into action, both of them smiling from one ear to the other”

Barak Obama, Dream from my father, 312

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Black people believe that black people’s owned businesses have poor logistics. It takes quite some time for a product to be delivered when you purchase from a black owned business compared to the duration for other businesses owned by the whites. For example, let’s say you purchase from a black owned business and you get it in one week’s time frame. A friend of yours also orders online from a white owned business and gets it within  two days. The next time you want to purchase a similar product or different one, who will you go for? The one doing delivery in two days or one taking a week’s time frame because it is owned by black and you are a black nationalist? Well, we all know the answer.

2. Stinking customer service

Black customers asking for attention from servers who are interested in white customers. Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi

Former US most popular leader, President Barak Obama in his book, Dreams From My Father, narrates how the service took long when he went for lunch at one Nairobi city restaurant with his sister, Dr. Auma Obama. At first they thought perhaps the waiters had not spotted them only to realize that the delay was due to their skin color. “Just then I noticed an American family sitting down a few tables away from us. Two of the African waiters immediately sprang into action, both of them smiling from one ear to the other,”(Dream from my father, 312)  writes Obama in his book. 

If you are observant, when in restaurants or other black-owned businesses this is a common trend: servers tend to give quick service to the Whites because firstly, there is a wide assumption that they tip waiters more compared to blacks. Most waiters have confessed that blacks are often stubborn and not usually good-tippers. Pay attention if you are Black, you’d observe that the cashier who disregards you and gives that “military salute-style” service to the white person standing behind you in line is black. So, what are you going to do? Cry discrimination based on….? Secondly, try going to a black-owned restaurant, not all, but the majority, in the company of a white person, whether a female or a guy, and take a random poll of how many restaurants staffers will give you the bill if you are a black, even if you ask for it.

I’ve worked in the service sector and am writing from personal experience. Zero sensitivity to the issues of race and discrimination plus age-long stereotypes that are ingrained in the subconsciousness of many Black owned business are reflected in their business culture including the kind of customer services they render. Will you patronize a business where you are treated as second class – let alone that business is Black-owned?

3. Stereotypes are enemies to black-owned businesses

Photo credit:BBC

There is a notion out there that a black-owned business is synonymous with poor service and lazy workers. You’d often hear that stereotypical phrase even among fellow Blacks that “poor environment and poor quality is killing black-owned businesses.” But, the fact is there are no truths to these stereotypes. Generalization is doing more harm than good since I know of various black-owned businesses that are top notch. We should stop the reverse racism and respect Black owned brands. Just like in hotels you can have a memorable experience in a three star hotel compared to what you’d get in a five star hotel. Brand perspective is key.

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4.High prices in black-owned business

Image credit: Youtube

I care so much about black power and I try as much as possible to go black whenever I am shopping. But one thing I have noticed for sure is the high prices associated with black-owned businesses. For example a product will cost almost twice as much in a black owned enterprise compared to the price of the same product in a white owned company. Why though?? Could this be because their counterparts are benefiting from the economy of scale compared to a black business competitor that might still be facing a struggling start?

The four reasons stated above are for sure not exhaustive. There are many others especially during this time of COVID-19 as people are careful with their finances and spending. All this been said, I’m a firm believer that black lives matter and so does black’s prosperity. We should build our own community up and support one another. Waiting for another incidence of police strangling before we do what’s generally right is landslide hypocritical. That one dollar you have is very powerful. It is your choice. It is your voice. Spend it in a black-owned business, and you will have made a statement. If you spend it in other community you are indirectly electing to concede your power. The ball is in your court!

YOUR  TURN: Are you a black shopper, green shopper or a blind shopper? What other reasons have you observed killing the Black owned businesses in your community? Share your comments.

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