White privilege plays out in the justice system, education, entertainment, politics, opportunities, healthcare and…shall I go on? An area I didn’t really think about until about a year ago was the world of business. But it turns out that while black people make up 13% of the U.S. population, only 7 percent of businesses are black-owned. At the same time, black buying power is growing to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020. We’ve already reached about $1.2 trillion. Think of how much of an impact we’d have if the black community decided to not shop for a day. This county’s economy would not be the same without us.
If you’re startled by these numbers – hi, there, stranger. Welcome to the U.S. Let me catch you up on how folks do things over here: despite black people’s effect on American society, we’re still not viewed as equal. That even applies when black business owners are kept from receiving small business loans from banks. Don’t bother asking why. You know the answer.
I love that we have an impact on the market, but it feels like the relationship is unbalanced. Look at the beauty industry. Black women spend $7.5 billion per year on beauty products yet the standards society set for us are white skin and eurocentric features. Also, the black haircare industry will reach $761 million in 2017. However, my hair is still looked down upon as “unprofessional”. These mainstream companies take advantage of us and live off of it.
Learning about this makes me turn to black-owned businesses. Hardworking black women and men who don’t get looked at enough should get more business, especially knowing our economic power. Helping out these businesses is a way for us to come together. We as a community need to remember we’re on the same team. If one member is falling behind, we’re here to build them back up again.
There’s no better time than now than to start supporting black-owned businesses. I put together a quick list of shops I’ve bookmarked or bought from, but this is barely a fraction of the plethora of amazing black-owned businesses that exist — so I suggest you also start keeping an eye out for more shops.
Not convinced? Well, I know for a fact that makeup from black-owned beauty stores actually offer more than just three shades.