There’s always lots of talk about “buying black” but few people actually do it. A few years ago, Chicago mother Maggie Anderson made her family put their money where their mouth is and for an entire year they only bought black—which she says wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
“What we found was when we went to the West Side, yes, there were some black businesses, but they are all concentrated in the stereotypical black industries: soul food restaurants, barber shops, braiding salons,” she told Fox news. “We could not find those basic things that every community needs to survive: a grocery store, dry cleaner, department store, general merchandise, mom and pop shops.”
Going beyond the lack of retailers. Maggie said most of the businesses she did find weren’t owned by people in the community and they didn’t employ people from the community either.
“We have all these consumers with hard-earned wealth spending money at businesses, and that money exits the community and goes to empower other people’s communities when our communities need that money.”
To bring about awareness of the struggling black economy and encourage consumers to follow in her footsteps, Maggie detailed her experience in the book, Our Black Year. Now that a couple of years have passed since the experiment, she says “It’s turning into a movement.”
“This came out of a conversation that happens among a lot of African American middle class households. We remember a time when we didn’t have these problems because we had local businesses that kept our communities strong. Those businesses are gone.
“We figured maybe if we did something extreme to bring that issue into the national dialogue, we can get folks to start supporting the few great businesses that we do have and maybe inspire economic empowerment.”
Check out Maggie’s interview here. Have you ever tried to only buy black?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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