It’s 2021. Are people really still shocked when they receive excellent customer service at a Black-owned establishment?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Many of us, if not all, have been conditioned to view Black-owned products or services as inferior, even when they hold up to popular name-brand products and corporations. And this is the problem with stereotypes and, most at large, systematic racism.
Even Black people begin to believe the lies that say Black employees are lazy or rude and that Black businesses are subpar because these ideas have been shoved in our faces all of our lives. It might not be great to admit it, but if I’m honest, even I have to check my subconscious from making snap judgments about Black-owned businesses.
These stereotypes are what keeps mainstream companies ahead and Black business owners several paces behind. Just look at how Black people spend their money, and that’s your cue that our community has internalized society’s negative values. Even though Black spending power has reached $1.2 trillion, only a tiny percentage of that is spent at Black-owned businesses.
The sad truth is that many of us are willing to give our money to major corporations that don’t care about us while we let the businesses in our communities fall by the wayside. But it’s time for us to wake up and actually put our money where our mouth is and reclaim our buying power. It might seem like it’s harder to support Black brands, but the truth is Black-owned products and services are accessible. We just have to commit to buying Black.
How long will we perpetuate the belief that Black-owned businesses don’t meet the standard when in actuality, successful Black brands are a rule of thumb? We view successful Black businesses as the outliers, but really we’re just not paying attention.
Black service does not equal poor service. And the sooner we take this message to heart and follow through with our actions, the sooner we can build up our community and strengthen our collective power.