I’m amazed when I hear many of my colleagues chastise me for promoting Black-owned Businesses without including other non-Black businesses. Some have labelled me as being too radical on the issue.
Because we are living in a multicultural society, there’s the notion that I should be diverse in my support. I agree. However, many of us as African-Americans have become brainwashed into not supporting and patronizing our businesses for the sake of diversity.
I’ve written about the need to support, patronize, and value African-American business owners.
I’ve also talked about having a Black Business Challenge as follows:
•Commit to supporting a Black-owned business as much as possible. Through our support, we’re creating more revenue to be poured into that particular business which will therefore enhance and transform the community.
•Use social media to promote local Black-owned businesses. Because social media has an enormous global reach, let’s use it as a means to empower our Black-Owned businesses. Whenever you receive good service, promote it via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
•Incorporate Black-owned businesses in the diversity conversation. Unless we encourage other racial groups and ethnicities to value and support our own businesses, we will see and hear diversity as being anti-Black-owned.
•Educate our youth about the importance of creating their wealth through entrepreneurship. We push them to learn. We push them to excel in sports. We give them the newest and latest technology. Now, let’s push them to start their own businesses.
Shamefully, there’s still some resistance with many people within the African-American community to support their own. If you ever visit an Asian, Jewish, or Latino community, you’ll find people within their own culture supporting and patronizing their businesses.
Those who want to see change will oftentimes face their greatest criticism from those within their own community. However, I’ve learned from our civil rights heroes and sheroes that determination, commitment, and persistence are traits for every leader to have for change to happen.
When you own your own business, your own home, your own property, you have a voice of what happens in your community, politically and socially. Let me say it this way. If we don’t have anything in our community that’s Black-owned, how can we expect other people who don’t look like us to truly care and/or represent us? That’s why we need to understand the importance of supporting and patronizing Black-Owned businesses.
We can recommend what to drink at Starbucks, but can we recommend a good book to read that’s written by an African-American author? We can boast and brag about the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but can we boast about quality African-American doctors and dentists? Oh, we can talk about the latest cars, but can we direct people to African-American mechanics, body shops, and detail shops? There’s plenty more, but I hope you get the point.
I’m urging you to commit yourself to the supporting and patronizing of Black-Owned Businesses.
Seek out and volunteer with Black-owned non-profits who are committed to giving back to the community.
Am I saying to discredit other businesses that are non-Black? No. What I am saying is to remember what we were taught years ago: “Take care of home first.”
If we learn to take care of home first, everything will work itself out.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, writer, author, and life coach. Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey.