Black entrepreneurs routinely tell Black consumers to “buy Black” but they must do the same. Far too many Black business owners conveniently co-opt the language of the buy Black movement when seeking support from Black consumers but forget all about it as soon as they close up shop. The buy Black movement is designed to uplift the Black community as a whole, not simply to bolster your bottom line. In exchange for support, Black consumers demand that Black entrepreneurs seek out every opportunity to do business with other Black entrepreneurs, provide jobs to members of the community and invest in Black neighborhoods.
Researchers at The New School led a study which concluded that the average white high school dropout earns more than the average Black college graduate. Racial discrimination in hiring is still a thing and that’s why it’s absolutely not helpful when Black entreprneurs aren’t too keen on hiring Black people. There may be good reasons for hiring non-Black people but there can’t be a reason why your staff is overwhelmingly non-Black. Since statistics were kept on the matter, Black unemployment has always been roughly twice that of white unemployment. Black consumers can hardly justify supporting entrepreneurs who look like them, who exacerbate the issue.
As Black entrepreneurs begin to experience success, Black consumers expect them to invest in other Black businesses. The popular soul food restaurant should be sourcing desserts from the up-and-coming local baker. The landscaper should look for opportunities to integrate other Black professionals into their business, like Black owned accounting firms. There’s no reason why the real estate firm can’t hire a Black owned janitorial service or a Black tailor, to make that “closer” suit. Yet far too often, Black entrepreneurs are demanding the loyalty of Black dollars so that they can spend them as they please. Black consumers notice the hypocrisy.
Many Black entrepreneurs owe their start to the faithfulness of Black consumers but as they grow, they forget all about them. It’s the business owner who starts with one location in a Black neighborhood but as they expand, they close that original location and seek greener pastures exclusively in non-Black neighborhoods. Others keep that original location but build better, nicer and more excellent operations elsewhere. Certainly you’ve seen a restaurant that opens when they feel like it in the Black neighborhood but they’re on point at their other locations, right? It’s downright insulting. In such cases, what distinguishes that Black entrepreneur from others who take Black dollars but obviously don’t value Black people?
If you pay attention, you’ve likely encountered a Black entrepreneur who, before they went into business, cared nothing about group economics or the buy Black movement. After they open up shop, however, they suddenly have a lot to say about supporting Black businesses. Funny how that works. If you want Black consumers to be faithful to you, Black consumers demand the same. To be sure, an astounding number of Black entrepreneurs are doing the right thing and they should be celebrated. To the others, however, straighten up and fly right.