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  • Camara Kelly

The Importance of Black-Owned Businesses

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

I initially thought that writing a piece about the importance of black-owned businesses would be easy. As I sat down to write and got my laptop ready, the scenery was hitting, and everything was ready to go. As the cursor began blinking, I realized that I actually did not know why it was important to support black-owned businesses.

As much as I had read about race inequality in the past months, I still had no clue as to why choosing one store over another was integral to black success. I began researching and found that the black dollar is powerful.

In this world, especially in this country, the dollar is king. You simply can not survive without it, let alone succeed. The road to financial success and stability is paved by ownership. This is why the promising of the forty-acres and a mule to freed slaves was so significant, and when that promise was broken and reparations for slavery were never received, many black families struggled tremendously.

Through segregation, Jim Crow, and the War on Crime, this country has thrown everything at black people and people of color to deter them from achieving financial stability. But even so, many have found a way to establish businesses and grant themselves the financial freedom that they have been denied.

The story of success in the face of hardship is a good enough reason to support black-owned businesses. But there is even more significance behind black business. Minorities have been held back from financial success, so that they can be forced to remain in oppression.

Black people are this country’s largest consumers, and if we allocated half of our spending back into our own communities, then we could push for more representation in government, fair housing, and better living conditions. The black dollar is powerful, if we use it wisely.

Choosing to endorse a black-owned company instead of a white-owned company, allows the black dollar to stay in the black community. This helps to keep our power away from companies that do not represent us nor support us.

Not all white-owned companies are actively supporting racism and white supremacy. However, the chances of those companies having black faces in positions of leadership are extremely slim.

Although a company might not be blatantly racist, it can still support racist narratives, and it can still contribute to the negative image of black people and people of color. Allocating spending towards black-owned businesses, forces these white-owned companies to face their own internal, structural biases and to give more people of color opportunities.

Black-owned businesses and companies are more likely to hire other black people and people of color in positions of power. They are also more likely to appropriately represent the people that they are targeting. This not only gives jobs to black people, but also allows black businesses to be in charge of the way black people are perceived in the business’s sphere of influence.

Representation matters. Posing black people and other people of color as intelligent, beautiful, and multi-faceted human beings has a profound impact on the black community. Black-owned businesses are more likely to portray black people as people and not tokens, criminals, animals, or fantasies. Keeping the black dollar circulating in the black community upsets the racial hierarchy and demands that black people be represented often and appropriately.

I can honestly say that I support black-owned businesses, and I know why they are important. The pride that washes over me when I think of my people going from being owned to owning is insurmountable.

Keeping the black dollar in the black community magnifies the voices of black people, forces non-POC owned companies to face their racism, and destabilizes the racial hierarchy. My black life, my black voice, and my black dollar matters, and there are companies out there making sure that those facts are evident. So, go support a black-owned business today.

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