First Kwanzaa – Day 4

I have preached sermons on the principle of Ujamaa. This post may evolve into a rant. You have been warned.

Nothing would please me more than for our community to invest in its own businesses to the level that we invest in others. It has been said ad nauseum: this entire country moves on Black dollars. Our money supports conglomerates like Wal-mart, the billion-dollar beauty industry, and every Chinese takeout restaurant I’ve ever seen in Philly (I don’t see nearly as many–if any!–in White neighborhoods as I do in ours). Would someone please explain to me, then, why Black businesses struggle to survive?

The question was rhetorical. I know the answer, because I have launched three businesses that depended exclusively on Black dollars and consequently went belly up. The answer is that Black people as a community do NOT support Black-owned businesses. Not only that, but they give the most ridiculous reason for doing so: “Black businesses price their products too high! Why buy from them when we can get it cheaper somewhere else?”

Black people are not nearly as loyal to Black businesses as they are to their own wallets. Don’t you know what that means? By keeping us poor and disenfranchised, the American economy keeps us as slaves.

I’m not willing to feed into that. I know that higher prices in Black businesses mean that the owner isn’t as well connected to suppliers as other races are. I also know that cheaper prices equal cheaper quality. Those products that you got such a great deal on were probably fished out of a dumpster past their expiration date.

I support Black businesses because I am not done trying to launch my own business. I want to see our money build our own community, like Asians have become experts at. The higher prices are worth it to me.

Anybody with me?

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