All Articles Tagged "buying black"
For as long as I can remember I’ve been taught to buy black. If there were a white mechanic in the neighborhood and a black mechanic 30 minutes away, who charged a bit more, in financially fit times, my father would have opted for the black mechanic. This behavior was drastically different than my maternal grandfather’s. A Jamaican living in Indianapolis, Indiana, my grandfather didn’t always view American blacks in the most positive light. In fact, his sentiments would lead you to believe he regarded them as inferior– and he might have. Though, in his defense, he’s grown over time.
But buying black was an important lesson I learned at the crib. One that stuck with me once I got a little money of my own…which was just three years ago really.
I can honestly say that I do as much, if not more shopping online than I do in actual stores. Everything is at your disposable on the internet in ways that the stores are drastically limited. And not only that, on the internet, you’re more than likely to find more black owned and operated businesses. There’s jewelry made by black women. (Earrings are my everything.) Books written by black women, businesses run by black women and unique, one of a kind clothes designed, made and shipped to your apartment or workplace by black women. It’s a beautiful thang. And I’m happy to support even if it means I end up spending a few dollars more than I would have if I bought said item from a white and or mainstream outlet.
Now, please know that my money is not long. With rent, student loans, regular utilities and other things that come up, I don’t have an extensive shopping budget. But as hard as I work, every month I have to buy myself at least one something nice.
In November it was a necklace from Peace Images Jewelry. In December, it was a Boxing Kitten dress. For Christmas I asked my sister to buy me an Ifenkili pillow and earlier this week I was looking at a $55 sweatshirt from Quelly Rue Designs. The sweatshirt featured a simple design on a plain, solid colored hoodie. I showed it to my sister telling her I was thinking about buying it. She agreed it was cute; but when she saw the price tag, her immediate reaction was, as it often is, “I can make that.” My sister, the artsy one, is probably right. But would she actually make it. Probably not. But that’s not the issue, I was contemplating buying the hoodie because the design, although simple, was still beautiful and the designer was a black woman. Historically, that’s been a good reason to spend $10, $20, even $50 dollars more than what I would pay somewhere else.
I support black women because one day I know I’ll need the same and I believe in karma. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My father, who recently started up his own business selling and installing blinds and window fixtures works with all types of people. But recently he had a client, a black man, who said that he was buying from my father, though he probably could have gotten a lower quality product for less, because he was a black man and he was trying to support his business. As a black woman with a dream, that will ultimately require the financial support of others, it’s important that I regard these women and their products as I would hope they would one day do for me.
Do you go out of your way to patronize black businesses? Are you willing to pay more to buy their products?
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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The East coast is waking up this morning to the total devastation caused by the quake, which rattled the seaboard Tuesday afternoon. The massive 5.9 quake, which could be felt as far away as Canada, left miles and miles of busted flowerpots, overturned lawn chairs and shattered glass from fallen picture frames in its path. Now the clean-up must begin. And by clean-up I mean all the great discounts and “I Survived the Great Earthquake of 2011” sales, which will probably be going on in your neighborhood soon.
But if you are black, you may want to reconsider who or what you spend your money on, according to a recent article, Black Buying Power: Watch Where You Spend Your Money. The article suggests that African-Americans have been and continue to be underestimated, underserved, disrespected and misunderstood by the consumer market. Blacks collectively have a buying power estimated at around $857 billion annually, yet car manufacturers, the entertainment industry and even the NAACP, have neglected to market directly to this powerful demographic. All told, corporations spend about $263.7 billion annually on advertising, yet marketers have a tendency to lump people into simple groups without considering individual needs and diversity.
The article concludes with a quote from Ken Smikle of Target Market News, suggesting that, “consumers have economic buying power that needs to be used better in their own self-interest. African American consumers should be asking if the brand (or store) they are purchasing from is making a contribution to the black community or investing in the black consumer market?” I’m not quite sure how having a corporation marketing directly to us particularly benefits us economically, but I will bite.
Do corporations respect us as consumers? Well that answer is subjective and based on how much they spend in marketing dollars. If a corporation who markets directly to black folks has a record of racial discrimination in their company or sells a product which might be unhealthy and downright bad for the community, I don’t see how putting a bunch of black folks in a television advertisement is a sign of respect. If anything this counter-productive message of catering to the black consumer market, also known, as black buying power, sounds more like a clever marketing ploy to make black folks feel empowered through further exploitation.
Back in 2008 Jared Ball, contributor to the Black Agenda Report, explored this topic in an a series of essays, in which he suggested that, “Myths of Black America’s “buying power” continue to confuse just how bad things really are or how this ‘permanent recession’ is an economic and social necessity. This myth is meant to shift the blame of poverty onto the poor and suggests that economic inequality is more an issue of pathological behavior than a scientific inevitability.
For decades many articles, particularly in black publications, have been pushing this myth of the almighty black dollar. Recently, several articles have begun to resurface around the subject, many asserting that by the year 2012 black folks will have a buying power of $1.2 trillion dollars. As huge as that number sounds, the reality is that there is no collective $1.2 trillion we as a people can choose to spend. If so, in which bank is this money located and can I get a copy of the account number?
In fact, the average married black household’s income is around $48,000 – less for a single parent household. Moreover, in terms of income, the gap between whites and blacks has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, mainly because blacks typically earn 68 cents for every dollar whites earn. Add to this the above average unemployment rate among African- Americans and the fact that the housing bust wiped out whatever equity black folks had been able to accumulate, and you should start to see the full picture of economic power the collective black community really has.
As consumers, African-Americans typically spend on telephone services, personal care products and services, electricity, natural gas, children’s apparel and shoes. Blacks typically spend a higher proportion of their income on groceries and housing. According to one study, blacks in lower-income neighborhoods are more reliant on smaller grocery stores which carry more expensive goods. The same could be said for housing, transportation and car insurance. This should let us know that there are plenty of other barriers in place, including racism and classism, which seem to prohibit blacks from capitalizing economically on so-called disposable income. Likewise, the growth of black businesses has yet to be allowed equal access to markets where black folks tend to shop for phone service, electricity; natural gas and groceries. So it is inevitable that the “black dollar” will always find a route out of the community.
It is important to debunk the illusion of the black buying power because it asserts the fallacy of affluence over the tide in which the market travels. If our collective influence really mattered in this country then blacks would have power over the Democratic Party. The reality is that collective buying power is just a catchy slogan for us to engage in more conspicuous consumption. Which is why you have people like Souljah Boy, trying to buy a $25 million airplane and the guy up the street rocking $500 Louis Vuitton sneakers. Kanye West said it best, “we trying to buy back our forty acres.”
However, $743 billion is a lot of money in aggregated income and we should not be fooled into believing that corporate America hasn’t long realized this. It is the reason why Newports,Old English Malt Liquor and predatory loans are popular brands in the community, which only goes to prove that having the ability to make choices between one exploitative product and another can’t be confused with power.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
by Selam Aster
Ever since Groupon popped up on the scene, there have been tons of copycats. Most recently, a culturally targeted copycat has emerged by the name of Black Biz Hookup – a very welcome addition to black business owners. Black Biz Hookup offers daily deals via email to customers from Black-owned businesses in major cities.
We give the company an A for concept as this offers a wonderful solution to the whole idea of “buying black” and reinvesting in our communities. But we must give it a C, for now, for organization. Amidst news of their launch, their site has been periodically going down, preventing many from signing up for their daily deals. Also, when you search for the company, the first search result you get is that of its facebook page, with its company page nowhere in site. Most black people know that poor execution and infrastructure plagues many black businesses, unfortunately, and we would have liked to see Black Biz Hookup get off to a proper and professional start. Visit their website to learn more about the company and sign up for their deals.
(Empowerment Experiment )
I have no will power. Well…at least when it comes to shopping. I’ve tried shopping “black” a hundred times, but always lose the gumph! Having lived in D.C. and Brooklyn, one would think it’d be easy. Unfortunately, Koreans don’t have a drop of black in them and the Pakistanis on the corner accept card and cash.