Black people have value. Black people have a rich history. Black people have a thriving culture. But, are black people really unified? It is debatable whether or not integration helped our community or hurt us. Some will argue that integration helped us by making resources available to us that weren’t available before the Civil Rights Movement.
We have equal opportunities to receive quality education and climb the corporate ladders alongside our Caucasian counterparts. We have the opportunities to occupy spaces that were, once before, prohibited. However, it is also debatable that integration hit us where it hurts: our pockets. As a segregated community, we invested our dollars back into our own economy, supporting our entrepreneurial brothers and sisters. Are we really unified if we are not even supporting each other anymore?
As a community, we must be aware of how we are functioning as a collective. We are united by the various complexions of our skin, the various textures of our hair, our shared experiences as people of color, and our culture, but we’re not unified by our dollars. In order to thrive as a community, we must work as a team and support our economy. We must support black business owners. We must support our people. According to “The Andersonville Study of Retail Economics” by Civic Economics and Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, for every $100 spent at a small business, approximately $68 goes back into the local economy versus $43 or less from a corporate business. In the study, “African Americans: Still Vital, Still Growing,” released by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the African American purchasing power is estimated to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. This is important!
Does it make sense to invest in our own demise?
With our dollars, we have the power to empower black entrepreneurs and the economic status of black people, by simply purchasing products and services from black-owned businesses. Furthermore, building our economy means providing jobs to our people. When business is thriving, more help is needed. Thus, providing a need for a larger staff. This also sparks a need for more entrepreneurial-minded individuals to supply needs where it is needed. As stated by Milton Berle, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Instead of waiting for jobs to be handed to us, let us create them! Partnerships between black-owned businesses not only promotes profit, but support and unite as a whole. This is how we dominate; by being active team members in our community and by supporting each other both economically and socially.
The reality of life is that money is associated with power, in order to make an impact we must be empowered as a community financially. We can be a community full of talent, intellect, and potential, but it does no good if we can’t support and promote the talents and creativity of young people in the black community . But failing to encourage and inspire black youth to become successful will lead to a generation of frustrated youth. Does it make sense to invest in our own demise? By no means is this a call to revolt and segregate ourselves. This is, however, a call for a revolution. We must be conscious of our actions and how they affect us as a collective. If we are not helping each other, then we are hurting each other. If we truly believe that #BlackLivesMatter, then we need to prove it by investing in ourselves.
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