If You’re a Black Business Owner Who Wants to Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer Behind Reviewed by Momizat on . by Khadija Nassif AN OPEN LETTER TO ASPIRING AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESS OWNERS With this post, I’m talking to other aspiring and current African-American busines by Khadija Nassif AN OPEN LETTER TO ASPIRING AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESS OWNERS With this post, I’m talking to other aspiring and current African-American busines Rating: 0
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If You’re a Black Business Owner Who Wants to Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer Behind

If You’re a Black Business Owner Who Wants to Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer Behind

by Khadija Nassif

AN OPEN LETTER TO ASPIRING AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESS OWNERS

With this post, I’m talking to other aspiring and current African-American business owners. Even if you’re not in a position to comment and publicly discuss your views, please consider the points raised by this post. I want you to succeed and prosper in your business. I’m concerned about you and the other very few African-Americans who are brave enough to start their own businesses. I’m concerned because I see some flawed assumptions in peoples’ business strategies. Flawed assumptions that can unnecessarily cause you to lose every penny that you’re investing into your business.

One major flaw is that too many aspiring African-American business owners blindly assume that they can structure their businesses around African-American consumers. This generally does not work. Even when it works to some degree, Black business owners create extra difficulties and headaches for themselves when they try to service Black consumers. I would invite all aspiring Black business owners to look around Black residential areas. Look around at the wreckage of most businesses that tried to do business in Black residential areas as visibly Black-owned businesses. You’re not the first aspiring Black business owner who daydreamed of serving Black consumers. Other Black business owners had that dream. And failed.

THEIR ACTIONS SHOW THAT MOST AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONSUMERS DON’T WANT BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO EXIST

There are reasons there are few visibly Black-owned and operated businesses within the African-American collective. The primary reason is that African-American consumers don’t want to see visibly Black-owned businesses succeed. They don’t want to—and for the most part won’t— patronize visibly Black-owned businesses. The only partial exceptions to this rule were African-American owned hair salons and barbershops. Don’t be deceived by the many, many lies African-American consumers tell about their motivations. Actions speak much louder than words. Look at African-American consumers’ collective actions. The harsh reality is that African-American consumer decisions are not motivated by considerations of quality or customer service.

IF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONSUMERS CARED ABOUT QUALITY OR SERVICE, THEY WOULD NOT PERSIST IN PATRONIZING FILTHY, RUDE ARAB AND KOREAN-OWNED STORES

If African-American consumers cared about quality or service, then they would not be jam-packed in the filthy, rude Arab and Korean-owned stores that exist within Black residential areas. Black consumers will continue shopping in Arab-owned stores even after learning the Arab shopkeeper allows Black gang members to sell drugs outside the back. Even after learning the Arab shopkeeper is exchanging groceries for sexual favors. Even after learning the Arab shopkeeper is sexually harassing underage Black girls in the store. As demonstrated by the sad case of Latasha Harlins, African-American consumers will continue flocking to Korean owned stores even after a Black child is unjustly shot in the back of the head and killed by a Korean shopkeeper.

Most African-American consumers don’t care about quality, customer service, or anything else. Those are just the excuses they give for not supporting Black-owned businesses. Most of them are lying. Other motivations form the backdrop of their buying decisions. One of the many unfortunate unintended consequences of the civil rights movement is that it reinforced the African-American perception that:

“SHOPPING WITH NON-BLACKS = FREEDOM, ACCEPTANCE & PROGRESS”

So, most African-Americans get an emotional high from shopping with non-Blacks. We’ll even fight with non-Black others to make them take our money. It makes many African-Americans feel “free” to have their money accepted by non-Black others. They don’t get any emotional satisfaction from patronizing their own people’s businesses.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM—THE PARALLELS WITH DISHONEST, “BLACK LOVE” CONVERSATIONS

I usually refuse to engage in “How to Have or Save Black Businesses” conversations with people who are not engaged in business activities themselves. I typically refuse to engage in that sort of conversation for the same reason I refuse to engage Black men in the “if Black women would only do X,Y, and Z then more Black men would want to marry them” conversation.

I firmly believe that both of these types of conversations are fundamentally dishonest. Because the underlying premises are untrue. In the business context, I believe that this false premise is about denial (of how slave-minded most of us are), and wishful thinking about the true nature and motivations of African-American consumers.

“Black Love’s” Double Standards. Black men will happily marry NON-Black women that have all the traits that they claim to find so off-putting about many Black women: obesity, difficult personalities, and so on.

Masses of Black women could twist themselves into pretzels physically, emotionally, and spiritually to try to cater to African-American males, and the bulk of these males still would not marry a Black woman. They’ll have sex with and impregnate Black women; but not marry them. Also, many of these males would still choose non-Black women whenever they get the opportunity.

Dishonestly Stalling to Maintain Monopoly Control Over Black Women. African-American women are the only resource that African-American men control. They have nothing else. Many Black men will be in trouble if more African-American women start imitating Black men by doing whatever works best for them. Without worrying about the so-called community or “Black love.”

Consequently, the true underlying purpose of most “Black love” conversations is to keep Black women’s money, time, energy, attention, and efforts solely focused on supporting Black men and their issues (which are redefined as overall “Black community issues”). All while Black men continue wandering off to do whatever they want to do, without considering how their choices affect the so-called community. Which is their right. As was mentioned during the Who Else Wants An Optimal Lifestyle? post:

There won’t be any collective solution to what has been called “Black Marital Mogadishu” in the United States because 50% of the participants needed for any Black marriage—Black men—benefit from the current absence of marriage among African-Americans. Black men generally like things the way they are right now.

The collapse of the African-American family is not about a lack of jobs. It’s about African-American men generally being content with the collapse of the African-American family. Black men will complain about the aftershocks created by the mass absence of marriage among African-Americans, such as the legions of fatherless, violent Black male criminals. But other than that, they’re content with the status quo.

Anybody who thinks that this behavior is driven by a lack of opportunity should examine the collective behavior of the African-American men who do have “good” educations and jobs. Since so many Black men in that category are not marrying at all, or they’re not marrying Black women, there’s no reason to assume that Black women would gain from African-American men having more opportunities. I learned that just by watching the behavior of the Black men that went to college and law school with me. There’s usually little to no return on that investment (creating opportunities for African-American men) flowing back to any Black woman at all.

If you look at their mass behavior and not their rhetoric, it’s clear that most African-American men don’t value marriage, and are not concerned about the now-dead “Black family.” African-American men like the status quo situation of their mass refusal to marry the Black women they have sex with and impregnate. From outward appearances, most African-American men are happy with a lifetime of sleeping around without the commitments or responsibilities of marriage.

If you look at their mass behavior, it’s also clear that African-American men are also not particularly concerned about the children they produce.
These “save the dead Black family” discussions are not even a blip on most African-American men’s radar . . . unless Black women start talking about solutions that don’t include continuing to wait around for African-American men—such as interracial marriage and a focus on dating non-African-American Black men (for those Black women who must have a Black man as their husband).

This is the point that many Black men (and the Black “race women” who are so Black-male identified that they can’t see straight) enter these conversations. They do so solely to try to defend Black men’s image and the status quo, not out of any genuine concern about the already-dead Black family. This is when you hear various bad-faith assertions, such as:

Denials that the Black family and Black marriage are dead in the United States.

Attempts to minimize African-American men’s culpability for their own mass actions. (Their mass failure to protect or provide for African-American children, including the failure to provide stable, married households for their children to grow up within.)

Attempts to scare Black women away from exploring their interracial marriage options. (The “White men will just use you for sex and never marry you” rhetoric. Meanwhile, that’s exactly what the masses of African-American men are using Black women for, and not marrying them. Somehow, this detail escapes the Black male protectionists’ notice.)

Nonstop pressure for Black women to lower whatever standards they might have. They apply this pressure through incessant demands to hear Black women say, over and again, that they would date blue collar Black men.

Meanwhile, no other type of woman on this planet is required to recite a “dating loyalty oath” to include blue collar men as dating partners. Many of the same African-American men who insist that Black women swear dating allegiance to blue collar Black men also demand that Black women extend this same dating allegiance to Black male ex-convicts, Black male recovering addicts, old Black men for young Black women (see Steve Harvey), and so on.

Attempts to pretend that others are doing the same things and having the same experiences to the same degree. No, nobody else is having out of wedlock children at the rate of African-Americans. No, nobody else is trying to turn a woman having an education into a stigma at the rate of African-Americans. Others might be experiencing milder versions of these pathologies, but nobody is living like the masses of African-Americans.

Black Consumers’ Double Standards. Similarly, African-American consumers will happily shop in NON-Black-owned businesses that possess all the traits that they claim to find so off-putting about Black-owned businesses: rude service, goods that cost 2¢ more than rock-bottom prices, untidy stores, lack of selection, and so on.

Dishonestly (and Subconsciously) Stalling to Ensure Black Business Failure and Loss of Money. There’s a similar dynamic with many of the African-American consumers who engage in “How to Have or Save Black Businesses” conversations. Black-business owners could spend their last dollar twisting themselves and their businesses into having the aura and presentation of the jewelers at Cartier, and most African-American consumers would still continue their informal boycott of Black businesses. African-American consumers would still choose to shop with non-Blacks whenever they get the opportunity. When you look at the overall behavior pattern, it is an undeclared boycott of African-American businesses by African-American consumers.

When African-American consumers get off into dishonest, hypothetical “How to Have or Save Black Businesses” suggestions, many of them subconsciously want to see Black business owners fail and lose their money. That’s why they give such reality-defying, expensive, and futile advice to aspiring Black business owners. Underneath it all, they want the Black business under discussion to flop. Black business owners taking business advice from most African-American consumers is as foolish and dangerous as Black women taking relationship advice from Black men. In both cases, most of the people dishing out the advice don’t have the listener’s best interests at heart.

There’s much mutual “hateration” among African-Americans. Most African-Americans hate and resent Black people with any money. We’re famous for being “crabs in a barrel” who don’t want to see another African-American prosper. We’re only comfortable with a narrow category of African-Americans having wealth: The often semi-illiterate Blacks who are drug dealers, throwing balls around sports fields, or cursing on a microphone over some beats. These are the wealthy Blacks that we idolize.

As an aspiring Black business owner, there are some things you need to recognize. If you’re a Black person whose money comes from activities other than the above, then many of us will resent you. We have a level of envy and ”hateration” for you that we don’t feel for non-Black business owners. No matter how badly these non-Black business owners treat us, we’ll just find another non-Black business to patronize. We certainly don’t want to see you prosper and we’re not going to knowingly support your economic activities. We give lip service (and nothing else) in support of the Black person who studied and built a legitimate business to get their money.

Besides the “secretly want you fail” Black consumers who have a long laundry list of demands for Black businesses, there are the Black wishful thinkers who want to believe that most African-American consumers are rational actors. These naïve individuals project their own rational consumer behavior onto the masses of African-Americans. They like to believe that these irrational, Black consumer double standards are ghetto issues. They’re not. This attitude extends across class boundaries. The African-American professional who would not be caught dead shopping in some slum Korean or Arab store is typically somebody who—just like the Black poor—also does not patronize Black businesses. Nor do they hire Black professionals for any of their needs. Somehow, everybody these middle class African-Americans use is non-Black. From their doctor, to their dentist, to their tax person, to their real estate broker, to their insurance agent, and so on.

There’s only one difference between the middle-class African-American consumer’s unspoken boycott of Black businesses and the poor African-American consumer’s unspoken boycott of Black businesses. That is the level of sophistication involved in their rationalization for their behavior. Dysfunctions are easier to spot with the Black poor and underclass because they often lack the polish to explain them away effectively.

THE PRICE OF DENIAL AND COMPLACENCY

I’m always amazed by the human mind’s capacity for denying reality. I understand the human urge to “keep hope alive” and desperately search for exceptions to painful rules. The problem is that taking this posture usually costs more in the end. As unpleasant as it can be, in the long run it’s usually best to face harsh realities and act accordingly.

CONSIDER WHAT DENIAL AND COMPLACENCY ABOUT “BLACK LOVE” DID FOR CARIBBEAN-ORIGIN BLACK WOMEN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

Whenever these sorts of topics come up, there’s always the chorus of voices claiming that there’s no need for alarm, or to rethink previous assumptions and behavior patterns because “things aren’t that bad.”

During “Black Love” conversations, there are always those voices reassuring Black women that most married African-American men have Black wives. And that only a small percentage of African-American men are married to non-Black women. What these soothing voices of complacency don’t mention is that the statistics they cite aren’t counting the African-American men who are not married, but are shacked-up with non-Black women. Or those Black men who exclusively date non-Black women. These voices of complacency will continue singing their lullabies even as the African-American out of wedlock birth rate eventually reaches 90-95 percent.

From the comments and essays I’ve read by Caribbean-origin British Black women bloggers and readers, I get the impression that women in their communities in the UK were lulled into denial and complacency as similar trends developed. Well, now they’re at the point that West Indian Black men’s interracial relationship rate in the UK has reached 48 percent. (See the BBC Caribbean.com story from January 19, 2009, The Mixed Race March in Britain.)

I believe the UK situation is a sneak preview of how African-American men will continue their singular focus on seeking their own individual bliss while the deceived masses of Black women in the U.S. keep trying to uphold “Black love” and the “Black family” . . . all by themselves.

If you want to succeed, you can’t afford to live in similar denial as a Black business owner. In that spirit, you need to understand the following:

BLACK RESIDENTIAL AREAS ALREADY HAVE THE BUSINESSES THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONSUMERS ARE WILLING TO SUSTAIN. THESE BUSINESSES ARE OWNED BY THE PEOPLE THESE CONSUMERS ARE WILLING TO SEE PROSPER.

African-Americans have an informal tradition of buying what they want, and begging for what they need. The unflattering truth is that Black residential areas already have the businesses that African-American consumers are actually willing to support. No more. No less. And those businesses are owned by the people that they are actually willing to see prosper. And nobody else.

If something doesn’t exist in a Black residential area (such as independent, Mom and Pop-owned bakeries or decent sit-down restaurants), it’s because African-American consumers are not willing to sustain having that particular thing in their midst. It’s not about poverty. Equally poor Latino neighborhoods generally have independent, Mom and Pop-owned bakeries or decent sit-down restaurants.

DON’T BUY THE SNAKE OIL

For an aspiring African-American business owner, buying into that “if only more African-American-owned and operated businesses would do X,Y, and Z, then more Black consumers would patronize Black-owned businesses” delusion will typically lead to that Black business owner’s financial ruin. I’ve seen this happen more than once to naive African-American business owners who mistakenly believed that African-American consumer decisions were about quality. [I’m talking about quality Black businesses in middle-class and working-class Black residential areas. Not dives in slums. Over the years, I’ve seen several bakeries go under. A bridal dress store. Several bookstores. A printer-copy shop. And so on. As well as a lack of support, there were constant break-ins. And so these businesses died. I firmly believe the owners would have had a much better chance if they had set up shop in non-Black neighborhoods, and pretended the owner was White. This is part of what I mean by having a "colorless" business.]

African-American consumers’ statements can’t be taken at face value. Their actions show that they don’t want what they claim to want. And their motivations for supporting or not supporting various businesses are not what they say they are.

I’m not buying into—or peddling—that snake oil. I’m not trying to destroy aspiring African-Americans’ businesses before they even start. Which is the end result of entertaining this “if only more African-American-owned and operated businesses would do X,Y, and Z, then more Black consumers would patronize Black-owned businesses” delusion. This is why I generally refuse to engage in “How to Have or Save Black Businesses” conversations with people who are not engaged in business activities themselves.

IF YOU WANT TO MAXIMIZE YOUR ODDS OF SUCCESS, LEAVE MOST AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONSUMERS BEHIND

Again, it’s interesting to note the parallels between the dilemmas faced by Black business owners and that of marriage-minded African-American women. As mentioned on this blog’s FAQ page, Black women who are serious about marriage need to expand their dating and marriage prospects to include men from the wider world, and not limit themselves to dating Black men. A marriage-minded Black woman needs to position herself so a large pool of quality men, including non-Black men, can find her.

In a similar manner, Black business owners who are serious about success need to stop structuring their businesses around hopes of appealing to African-American consumers. The masses of African-American consumers are emotionally incapable of responding appropriately to any visibly Black-owned business, regardless of its quality. African-American business owners need to position their businesses as “colorless” in order to tap into the larger pool of non-Black consumers. Leave the deranged masses of African-American consumers behind. Don’t worry about excluding Black consumers. Most of them would never support your business anyway. Meanwhile, just like other consumers, the handful of healthy African-American consumers will run across your colorless business while shopping in the mainstream and respond appropriately.



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Comments (81)

  • cliff

    @keith This articles clearly states ” If You’re a Black Business Owner Who Wants to Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer Behind.” Have you read the latest neilsen report? It says you would have to be foolish to exclude African American as a consumer. In fact we are the number 2 most spent dollar in America. We spend 1.3 trillion dollars annually. If we were our own country we would be the 16th largest country in the world. It makes no sense to exclude the number 2 most spent dollar in America as a business owner. I know I will not and i currently is capitalizing on doing business with my people. I love it!

  • Anonymous

    What is this supposed to be? Some sort of silly attempt at balance? I can’t imagine any other reason why Norm Bond would reprint this tripe, and years after the incompetent, confused, self-hating, insecure writer originally published it.

    This is nothing but poison. And it is belied by all the data. It’s unbelievable that Norm Bond would perpetuate this garbage at BED, a site I’ve come to count on for out-of-the-way headlines and hard-to-find data.

    Very disappointing.

  • Solomon Burke

    Once upon a time in America, black people owned things.

    Black people owned businesses, tens of thousands of businesses. They even owned their own homes.

    Between 1888 and 1934, 134 black-owned banks were established, They lent money to people from their own community so they could build businesses there. From 1867 through 1917, the number of black businesses increased from 4,000 to 50,000. Black business owners became wealthy and successful and gave jobs to people from their own community and taught them how to work together to create more wealth.

    Outsiders called it “Black Wallstreet”.

    It was hard to find a liquor store or a gun store in the community in those days.

    Hard for some to believe but In those days black people owned manufacturing companies, banks, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, shopping centers, boutiques, gas stations, supermarkets, hospitals, bus & trolley car companies, auto dealerships, airplanes. They even built large baseball coloseums for Sunday games. They owed film production companies and sports teams. They even ran their local colleges and universities.

    All of the businesses bought from each other and all the people bought from those businesses and they all kept their money in their own black-owned community banks. Thousands of other black people were doctors, lawyers, engineers, community leaders.

    They all bought the things they needed from one another and black wealth grew and grew.

    At that time, black unemployment was lower than white unemployment. Everybody who wanted a job had a job and the people were very happy because they could take care of their families.

    Black businesses owners were so happy and successful they even helped other people who were not part of their community.

    But then something happened.

    When segregation was ended, the result was, black people in their euphoria and satisfaction with the fact that the white majority community establishment was now being forced by law to serve them, transferred their money out of black owned banks, stopped shopping at black owned businesses, stopped seeking employment with black owned companies, stopped using black professional services and instead transferred their funds into white banks, shopped at white businesses and sought to be employed by a big white company and sought out white professional services.

    Black people sowed their own economic demise by transferring their wealth out of the black community and into the white community.

    The white business community soon realized that the black dollar was huge and was all too happy to take their money but not to hire them in significant numbers. Thus black unemployment sky rocketed and the black economic infrastructure withered on the vine and all but vanished.

    White corporations chose to hire mostly “the talented tenth” from among those blacks with college degrees to facilitate the bringing in of more dollars from the black community by appealing to black consumers who looked upon these blacks in white corporate America with pride and mistakenly suffered from the illusion that this success of a relatively few individuals represented group success.

    Individual success never translated into group success. So the black community’s potential economic business leaders left and gave their talent to the white corporate establishment. Some sadly even developed the mistaken attitude of: “If I can do it, then so can you”. They thus no longer felt any responsibility to reach out to help their own community.

    They bought into the lie of “rugged individualism” as the sole and only path to success.

    If you’d like to know the solution to this problem, enail your information request to: solomonburke@yahoo.com

  • Andreas Fulcher

    Wow! I love these blogs! It’s like therapy after losing over $450,000.00 my first 5 year to blacks as a black contracter! I returned to Garland, Tx in 1995 with a fiance after living in Germany for 8 years. After a year of experience in construction with a concrete paving company, the company folded in December, 1996. With my one year of experience and no degree, I started my own construction company at age 28. In mid 1997 I entered into a contract with a black engineer to build sidewalks for the City of Dallas. I hired 8 subcontractors I billed the black engineer for $268,000.00 He only paid me $48,000.00, leaving me to max out all my credit cards trying to satisfy my subs. I was unaware of the toxic nature in black business. I paid the minimums of my maxed out credit cards going into 1998. In early 1998, I received an invitation to bid on an $80,000.00 parking lot at Plano High School. I would be required to qualify for my first surety bond.

  • Andreas Fulcher

    By 2002, my Bobcat was 5 months away from being paid off and a dump truck which was 15 months away. I became deadly ill in 2002 and became incapacitated in Sep. 2002 at the end of the project. My brother noticed my dyar condition and my bills were mounting. He insisted I file bankruptcy to protect my German wife, who had never touched the check book. I agreed as the black contractor/minister wasn’t paying me anything although my company completed the project. I filed bankruptcy in Feb. 2003. 10 days later I was admitted to Parkland Hospital. After 8 days I was released. After a few days I received a fax from the City of Dallas. It was a Subcontractors Payment Complience Form which the black contractor/minister perjured himself by stating he paid me $52,000.00. This so called Pastor never paid me a dime! He didn’t care about the blacks who lost their jobs because my dump truck and Bobcat was repossessed! Fortunately my brother did not file my company under bankruptcy. The minister filed BK the next year, 2004!

  • Andreas Fulcher

    After 16 years of seeing our culture hate on each other I’ve come to the conclusion the demon of “Pride” is the reason for our folly! Envy, jealousy, covetness, ego and greed; all these characteristics sink into one funnel and its called Pride! In the book of Proverbs it states God detests the proud! We blacks fail because we fail to incorporate Godly principles into our business practices. We have a long way to go!

  • Elaine

    It sounds so much better to say that the writer of this article is a self-hating bla bla bla than to deal with the truth of how we as Black people treat one another. But, regardless if you want to be an ostrich with your head in the sand or one who preseveres in the face of opposition, the truth hurts. What we need to do is recognize the truth about who we are and make concerted efforts to change self destructive behavior. If we don’t do this collectively, we will all be SUGAR HONEY ICE TEA out of luck.

    God Bless.

  • prentiss belton

    To the lost man that said if you want to make money….leave the black community behind…….my comment to him %^$#@!!@#$(%^# DROP DEAD YOU DUMB FRUIT CAKE.

  • Mr Willaims

    Home Money Buying Power Black Buying Power Continues to Rise
    Black Buying Power Continues to Rise

    SUBMITTED BY: Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Director of the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth
    BLACK BUYING POWER: Recession and Resiliency

    Despite the severe impact of the Great Recession, Blacks’ economic clout continues to energize the U.S. consumer market. The Selig Center estimates that the nation’s Black buying power will continue its dramatic rise — $316 billion in 1990 to $600 billion in 2000, to $947 billion in 2010–to $1,038 billion in 2012, and a projected $1,307 billion in 2017. The 73 percent gain from 2000 to 2010 outstrips the 60 percent increase in white buying power and the 67 percent increase in total buying power (all races combined) for the same period. In 2012, Blacks’ share of the nation’s total buying power will be 8.5 percent, up from 8.2 percent in 2000 and 7.5 percent in 1990. And their share is expected to rise to 8.7 percent by 2017, accounting for almost nine cents out of every dollar spent.Several critical factors account for the gains in Black buying power. Beyond population growth and inflation, one of the most important and enduring forces is the increasing number of Blacks starting and expanding their own businesses. The 2007 Survey of Business Owners, released by the U.S. Census bureau in June 2011, shows the number of Black-owned firms grew 61 percent in just the five years from 2002 to 2007, more than three times the gain in the number of all U.S. firms (18 percent). Also, compared to the previous five year period, the overall rate of growth in the number of Black-owned firms accelerated (as did the rate of growth in the number of all U.S. firms). Between 2002 and 2007, the receipts of black-owned firms grew by 55 percent compared to the 34 percent increase in the receipts of all U.S. firms.

    Still another positive factor driving the group’s buying power is its steadily rising levels of educational attainment, which should allow proportionally more Blacks to enter occupations with higher average salaries. Census data show that the percent of Blacks 25 and older who have completed high school or college rose from 66 percent in 1990 to 79 percent in 2000 and to 84 percent in 2010. Also, the 2010 Current Population Survey indicates that 20 percent of Blacks had a bachelor, graduate, or professional degree. The percentage of Blacks who had completed college in 2010 (20 percent) was higher than in either 2000 (17 percent) or in 1990 (11 percent).

    Favorable demographic trends help, too, since the Black population continues to grow more rapidly than the total U.S. population. From 2000 to 2012, the nation’s Black population grew by 16 percent vs. 7.6 percent for the white population and 12.2 percent for the total population. From 2012 to 2017, the Black population is projected to grow by 6.9 percent, exceeding the 5.7 percent growth estimated for the total U.S. population. Also, the Black population is younger: The 2010 Current Population Survey put the median age of Blacks at 31.4 years compared to 38.2 years for the white population and 36.7 years for the total population. Indeed, nearly 30 percent (29.4) of the Black population is under 18 years old (vs. 23.3 percent of whites and 24.6 percent of the total population). Because blacks are so much younger, it’s no surprise that they’re increasingly setting trends for youth (and young adults) of every race and ethnic background.

    The youthful profile of the Black population does have its downside, however. Compared to people who are either more established in their careers or retired, young people, regardless of their race or ethnicity, are more exposed to job losses in economic downturns. In this regard, Black buying power is vulnerable to the effects of economic recessions, but over time the above-average growth of Black buying power has more than compensated for that high cyclical exposure.

    Due to the unusual severity of the Great Recession, employment growth can no longer be cited as one of the main forces behind the above-average gains in Black buying power. From January 2000 through January 2012 (the most recent data available as of this writing), the number of jobs held by Blacks had increased by only 235,000, or a paltry 0.1 percent per year. And, from its pre-recession peak in July of 2007 (when blacks held 16,307,000 jobs) through January of 2012 (when blacks held 15,512,000 jobs), the number of employed African Americans dropped by 795,000, representing an . unemployment rate of 14.2 percent (up from 8.9 percent in July ’07). In January 2012, the employment to population ratio for blacks stood at only 52.2 percent (vs. 59.3 percent in July 2007).

    This recession was the worst since the Great Depression, and it erased a decade’s worth of job growth for African Americans. At the time of this writing, it appears that the period of job losses is over, but the labor market is recovering very slowly, especially in states hit hardest by the housing bust.

    In 2012, the 10 states with the largest African-American markets, in order, are New York ($95 billion), Texas ($86 billion), California ($77 billion), Florida ($74 billion), Georgia ($73 billion), Maryland ($63 billion), North Carolina ($48 billion), Illinois ($47 billion), Virginia ($45 billion), and New Jersey ($40 billion). Of these, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia are the only ones that did not rank among the top 10 markets for all consumers.

    Unlike the Hispanic and Asian markets in the U.S., the African-American market is not concentrated in a handful of states. This vibrant consumer market is very widespread, making it an attractive customer segment in many of the states.

    Due to differences in per capita income, wealth, demographics, educational attainment, occupational distribution, geographic distribution, and culture, the spending habits of Blacks as a group are not the same as those of non-black consumers (e.g., white and other races combined). Thus, as African Americans’ share of the nation’s total buying power expands, business-to-consumer firms can be expected to devote more resources towards developing and marketing products that meet the needs and match the preferences of black consumers.

  • VannDigital.com

    hate to bring the chick that done wrote this madness back to Earth but nobody (Black, White, whoever) dont want an African-American owned business to make it…

  • Solomon Burke

    I find it disappointing and disturbing that Black people still keep talking about Black buying power without the first clue as to what exactly Black buying power is. Power to do what?

    Currently, Black people are doing nothing more with their so-called “buying power” than giving it away to the white mainstream business establishment. Black people giving away their economic rescources to the white business community while the Black community becomes weaker and poorer.

    How is that power? Black people need to wake up to the simple fact that group success is acheived by group economics, meaning that most of Black peoples money must be kept in the Black community. How? Transfer your money into a black owned bank, patronize Black owned businesses for most of your needs, seek out Black owned professional services like doctors, plumbers, stores etc, then Black people can eliminate the unemployment gap by providing jobs for their own community.

    When are Black people going to realize it is unintelligent to continue to depend on the mainstream business establishment to provide them with job opportunity when the track record is a dismal failure? How long will Black people be content with accepting the crumbs off the mainstream communities table when the Black community can set their OWN table? It doesn’t make sense for black people to continue down this same tired path of dependency.

    Wakeup Black people to the fact that all other successful ethnic groups in America are successful for the simple reason that they all practice group economics! Jews practice it! Asians practice it and nobody calls them racist. Blacks are in fact the only group that don’t practice group economics!

    Is there any wonder why we as a group are a failure in every category? It is not racist for Black people to do the same. Don’t people realize that the reason the mainstream establishment IS the mainstream establishment is because whether whites realize it or not, they do most of their business with each other. That’s why it’s concentrated in their community.

    If Black people are going to succeed not just a few individuals but as a group, then they too must start practicing group economics and thus provide jobs for more of their own.

  • Dana

    I agree with Solomon Burke %100! The problem is we that we as a people don’t support our own. Now where I live I don’t know of any black owned banks but there are black owned businesses such as restaurants. Its just that most are very pricey or to far out for me to drive to and very pricey. But when I can I try to go there and support them. I’m currently attending a HBCU. Speaking of HBCUs, all HBCUs need to cut all ties with the government, we should not be state run and operated because then we have to obey their rules and regulations or we have to hire people outside of our race.

    I don’t believe that any teacher or department head or employee should be white at a HBCU they already have their schools where they can be in charge, HBCUs should only have Black people in all of their employee positions, none should be white. How can someone white teach me about being Black? The only area that I’ll give leave way is say if they have a history class on Jews or Asians or some other minority that the ones of that particular race could give a better history on than we as black people can. Also I believe that we should live in for the most part the same community like the do in Georgia, I heard its real nice down there with the blacks supporting each other, living in the same community, helping each other out and all. We should not stop supporting each other but support each other more. we need to figure out a way to come together and buy what we need to make this possible.

    Oh and I wanted to tell you all that Hip Hop is NOT a black culture. It was started by a white man in the 70s, he came to some black artists during that time told them what he was looking for and after that, as they say, the rest was history. I found this out when I was taking a class on the History of African Americans. I had to go to the library and find out the history of hip hop from a book and low and behold, a white man started it in the 70s. Why do you think that 80% of the people who buy it, ( I’m speaking of rap and all that) is white?

  • black puma

    I’m a black business owner and I can honestly say if blacks were my clientele I’d be out of business for lack of support. Blacks make up less than 2% of my customer base although I’m located within the community

  • Reggie

    I totally agree with the article for the most part if want to succeed as an African American business owner you cannot center your business around the African American community. I know this first hand because I am an African American male in Indianapolis and I have my own computer business that I run out of my home and do mobile service as well and most of my best customers are non African Americans. I believe that many blacks in America still even to this day have a slave mentality! Thats why they will patronize other races and cultures businesses instead of their own people.

  • Justin Parker

    Are you serious? This article is clearly devoted to the Divide and Conquer tactics of those who aim to oppress. The blabbering of one seriously confused Black Man or the trickery of a White Man pretending to be Black…. It happens!

    I couldn’t even read through the first section without the feeling of Vomiting! I just want to say to those Black Americans in Business and Aspiring to be Entrepreneurs, Don’t listen to that Crap! Definitely Market yourself to the Black Community and the General Public Abroad! Every other culture and race of people here in America and all over the world support their own. Whether they intend to do it or whether it is instilled i their culture. It’s called Cooperative Economics. The reason most Black Owned Businesses fail within a few years is lack of Support from the community. That in it’s self is due to poor Marketing and Advertising. People have to know you exist. More than the ones that Walk or Drive By.

    There are millions upon Millions of Black Americans waking up every year to the Importance of Cooperative Economics. The way I see it is that we as Black Entrepreneurs need to Saturate the Whole Market of Commerce from Making Cars and Trucks to Launching Satellites in Space for Communications. We need Black Owned Toilet Paper Manufacturers. Basically when you go to Walmart and buy products….. Do you fine Products Manufactured by Black Owned Companies? There is the Problem. We are not saturated into the market. But we are on the way.

    Please join our Movement to Liberate Black America from Mental slavery and Self Oppression. Please Support your Black Owned Businesses. Visit http://www.FirstBlackAmerica.com and if you are a Business Owner…. GET LISTED!!!! We are getting Thousands of Brand New Weekly Visitors looking for Black Owned Businesses to support. Our Nationally Top Ranked Directory for Black Owned Businesses and Organizations is here for you! We have FREE Listings as well as Sponsored Advertising starting at just $5.00/mo or $45.00/yr.

    Oh…. The new findings are that we spend over 2.2 Trillion Dollars Each Year not the 1.6 estimated in the 2007 US Census Reports.

  • fan fan

    Like it or not this is a acurate article…Alabama is a slave state to this day. The white man is not the opresser its the black doing it to each other in many ways: murder. Hate. Giving your hard earn dollars to any community other than your own..

  • Wyatt

    Can the author of this please reply with her Net Worth?

    Clientele pays for business’s initial presentation, loyalty-oriented service iniatives, and fair price-point.

    Let the payee enjoy your company culture.

    If gross sales are unsatisfactory, employ systems focusing on Net Profitability. Support local community charities and iniatives. My around the marketing dollar

    Host a focus group to learn about the client’s experience. Their perspective is invaluable.

    Please respond to my post. Need to understand this if actually true. Again, can the author provide her profession resume.

    Thank you.

  • Franky

    I believe this because my mom has been telling me this for years that black people will step over other Blacks to get ahead or will not support them in some way. I am from Georgia and I have seen more racial tension between Black people than I had seen between Black and White. It always the Black and White thing, like the Hebrew and Phillistian. Now it the Hebrew and the Hebrew, hyphothetically speaking. Excuse my spelling. Some people took this into offense because they know it is true and they are a strong Black Pride person…awesome to be a strong Black Pride person but that will lead to issues.Pride come before fall. I didn’t say it…the Bible did. I am a Black business owner. A Black customer tried to discredit me by saying his wife cleaned the carpet better than I did. MMMMMM, maybe if you clean it every 6 months not 4 years, it wouldn’t be so tough to clean. I did the grunt work and she came behind me 3 months later. He was speaking all out loud at Walmart, so,I held my composure. A Walmart cleaning machine for $200 against my $3000 equpiments, you must be out of your mind…I let him have his say bst know, I will succeed. I will take more than one year to get off the ground running. I love Black people with they chocolate, creative, high loving spirit-self…BUT stop being racist against your own PEOPLE! I hate racism of all kind! Peace and love ya’ll, peace and luv!

  • Franky

    Now I currently lives in Rochester NY!

  • JWilliams

    I kind of understand what the writer means…although it sounds like she is writing out of anger/frustration. I am a business owner of 5 years and my business is doing very well…but I can honestly say it is so hard dealing with my own people…I have 24 employees and 21 African American and 3 non-African American…I have the most problems out of the AA ladies than the others they are always late, always calling out for some reason, have more issues than the law allow and expect to be paid for their short comings….the 3 Non-AA ladies always on time, never call out and if they have issues I do not know about it and it never show on the job. The clients that are African American late paying their accounts and some of them I have to threaten to take them to court to get my payment…the Non-AA clients very few issues…I just can’t seem to understand our way of thinking or the logic behind our practices. All I can do is try to make a difference and even in that it is very difficult to reach our people.

  • booby 2 chin

    What trash! Arabs Asians and others open up business in the BLACK community, don’t even employ us and make a fortune but yet we should neglect our own?

    We need to stop hating each other come together as a community and support our own, every one else seems to manage it.

    Blacks are consumers to other races, they target us all the time with lightening creams, fake hair, trainers, music and all sorts of other things but yet we can’t target our own according to this person. What garbage….

  • booby 2 chin

    @jwilliams 21 AA employees out of 24, and the AA gives you more trouble, well guess what? if i had 21 men and three women i am very sure most of the trouble will come from the men.

  • Gman

    As a black business owner. I deal with all types of consumers; black, white, Mexican, Chinese etc. For the seriously business minded person, the only color they see is Green (Money).The only language they speak is cash. I couldn’t in good conscience, refuse to do business with one race just to satisfy the racial tension of another. Black people, white people, red people, yellow etc. There is only one thing that causes hate or jealousy among any racial group, when it comes to business. The individuals that practice hate, more and likely, hate themselves, because either they didn’t think of it first, or they know they will not get off there lazy behind, and do it themselves. Don’t hate on the person, just because they have goals and the will, to see them through. Everyone has something within themselves, that can possibly make them wealthy, but making money takes a valiant effort which most people are not willing to take. Hating others is easy. You can hate, without lifting a finger. I don’t live for you. I don’t have that kind of energy, but if you willing to make that valiant effort, like minded people will help. It’s not a race thing, it’s a money thing. They don’t have it, and they won’t go out and get it but you they dog you out do.

  • Reggie Thurman

    Well as one of the individuals stated above nowadays it is not so much the white man oppressing black people think about it they do not have to because black people do a good job oppressing each other!! You would think that with all that we have been through in the past with slavery and racism from white americans throughout the history of this nation that we would be more motivated to band together, support, and love one another as black people so that we can rise as a people unfortunately this is nowhere near the case at all!! Even though I have experienced racism first hand from white people on many occasions, however it is no comparison of how badly I have been treated by my so called own black people!!! Again I have just recently experienced from different individuals in my own race a lot of deception where they approach me and say I heard you work on computers and they act as if they are going to really patronize my business, however there is always some deceitfulness involved with black people if it is not one thing it is another. If they are not attempting to undermine me by calling me to get some free info then they will call and try to manipulate me on my prices!! Black people love to play evil mind games with you I am completely convinced that the average black consumer has no love at all for black owned businesses!! And then black people wonder why other races and cultures of people really do not want to have any affiliation with our people I do not blame them at all I am for the most part fed up with black american people myself!!!

  • Marc Johnson

    Reggie Thurman and other responders. Question: Are these Wealth African-Americans ,Affluent Upper Middle class African- Americans ,Middle Class African- Americans, Working Class African – Americans or Poor Working Class African -Americans that each of you have trouble doing business with? It’s 2013 there’s a big difference between the different classes of African – Americans in the United States Because i have never met a Affluent African- American that does business in a negative way. Unless that Affluent African- American went from the hood to having money.These types are real easy to spot.

  • Reggie Thurman

    Point well made Marc Johnson. I would have to say it is a mixture of Affluent Upper Middle class-African Americans, Middle Class, and some poor Working class African Americans. Now I believe I may have mentioned before I have had exceptions there are a couple of individuals in my church who have patronized my business and always have paid me well one is an older African American male who owns his own business perhaps that is why he does not mind supporting my business and the other is an African American female who is a Registered Nurse who I would say is a Middle Class African American woman. I must say these two wonderful and inspiring individuals have given me great business and have given me repeat business! I definitely love them as my brother and sister in Christ and not just because they have patronized my business, but because of the real genuine loving people that they are! So once again you make an excellent point sir that the environment and individual comes from has a whole lot to do with their mentality.

  • Ghostwriter

    As a Black business owner, if I never stopped dealing with B2B Black business owners I would not be in business today. I’m sorry, but Black B2B consumers exist, but not for tangible, lasting services. Black B2B consumers are SO there for purchases like hair weave, expensive cars & custom clothing to “front” a flashy lifestyle, & liquor.

    Black B2B consumers (in large numbers) don’t purchase lasting & quite necessary services like Content (web/sales/collateral), PR/marketing strategy, brand reputation management, business coaching, etc. A great deal of Black B2B consumers want free or cheap strategies, so much so that a lot of online marketers rightfully inject that into their sales copy (of who services are NOT for.)

    It’s a shame. It’s like a great deal of Black B2B consumers are wearing mommy’s heels & pearls, and their daddy’s suits …. with business cards. That hardly makes you a business owner. SMH

    Get mad all you want, but the indictment still stands: Black people Talk. White people DO.

  • Justin Parker

    @GhostWriter…… Please come on over to http://www.FirstBlackAmerica.com We need good People like you to join the Movement!

  • jay g

    I a middle class blackman with a black wife and I own my own property I would do business with blacks but I would never hire blacks for professional services due to bad experiences when White’s and etc have never let me down.

  • Darnell

    @ jay g: I have a difficult time believing that Whites have “never” let you down in terms of providing you with professional services. Also, if you are a black professional, ask yourself: if you were providing me (a black man) with professional services, would you let me down? If the answer is no, then surely there must be another black man that would provide the same level of service as you? Hence, your logic – that you would “never hire blacks for professional services” is questionable.

    On another note, while it may hurt, the article makes some very good points, especially the discussion of the double standard. I too think there is some truth in that many blacks “secretly” want to see black owned businesses fail. This is sad. It’s a deep subconscious anger toward people that look like us, sound like us, and most likely remind us of ourselves or family in some way. Black entrepreneurs are fighting an uphill battle. Thus, the best solution for the problem, (as the article states clearly) is to avoid having a black owned business front.

    I agree that there is some level of psychological gratification for the “successful” African American who is finally capable of doing business with non-blacks (even if this “business” involves his being a consumer and actually getting a bad deal – i.e paying too much and getting too little in return). 90% of the successful mom and pop shops in my community are owned by Asians and Arabs. Sadly, the community is at least 95% black. The Asians and arabs mainly own and operate carryout stores, beauty supply stores, and are quick to franchise. Its just sad. I know they can’t stand us, but they make thousands a week selling us things that will eventually kill us and further perpetuate unproductive behavior. I should do something about this. And to put the icing on the cake, they install bullet proof glass and shove your food in a little rotating compartment because they are afraid of you. Meanwhile, we continue to consume their garbage making them richer by the day. This goes for large chains too!

    Lately, my goal has been to look at upper management (board of directors, high ranking officers, and in house counsel) within any company in which I shop frequently. What I’m looking for are people that look like me. If I see none, then I’ve been more inclined not to shop there unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. For me, it’s not enough that these major chains have hired a few minorities to work part-time because everyone knows part time shift workers are treated poorly. What I want to see is more blacks on the board of directors and as high ranking officers, attorneys, and accountants. This makes me comfortable to shop in these places. Otherwise, I think we should stop supporting ANY business that does not think that we amount to anything other than a stupid consumer. The real sad news is that the African American that gets voted to the board of directors, will not look back and will not hire another black because he either hates himself, or thinks that no one is as talented as him, or because he thinks that his association with another black will ruin his/her reputation in front of his/her white colleagues. We are really screwed up…

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