Thursday, November 26, 2009

In 2010, is it still important to support Black businesses?

Several times in life you will be called upon to answer blanket general questions for your entire race. Questions like, why is it OK for Black people to call one another the “n” word, but not white people? The answer is pretty much the same for every Black person, “It just is.” For the record, don’t ever ask me how I feel about that word, you just won’t get a straight answer out of me. And it just so happens I tend to piss more Black people off than white. However, in year of Obama, two-thousand and nine, it’s time that we start revisiting some of these questions and start updating our answers. The subject of supporting Black businesses has been around for just about as long as there have been free Black people in America.

In order to build a nation, the nation must produce a commodity worth trading. It’s essential in proving one’s worth to the other nations, and important in sustaining a nation, because it is impossible to produce everything for one’s self. This is why it’s important that Black businesses exist; they create products that help Blacks exchange commodities with other races to create “civilization.” However, has our decision to support Black business sometimes come at the sacrifice of the common decision factors we use when deciding what to purchase? Cost, quality and innovation are my main decision factors. Is it a crime to say that my main decision factors do not include race?

The predisposed notion that I must support Black businesses makes fundamentally no sense and sounds like some type of quota system that I want no parts of. And also, take for example, if I’m Jewish, and so I only do my grocery shopping at a Jewish grocery store. The reason why I’m there is really two-fold, 1) because it’s someone I feel comfortable doing business with, and 2) because they offer the foods that I can’t find elsewhere. The harsh reality for me is that I don’t feel that by supporting Black business they offer products that I can’t find elsewhere. And I’m not always comfortable with doing business on the basis of color because people have a tendency to lean on that relationship.

I have two more examples that I’m going to lay out on the table for this conversation. The Black owned Soul Food spot and Carol’s Daughter.

The Soul Food spot around my way is the spot where you can get your fried chicken, collard greens, and candied yams that we all grew up on. My issue with this place is, the service is horrible and the cost is sky high. I get my meal on a plastic plate, a quarter of piece of dark meat, one spoon each of greens and yams, and the total cost is $12. Meanwhile, just a short distance down the block is the carryout where I can get basically the same food, larger portions, quicker service and the total cost is $7. Because I know that both of these places have knowledge that the other exists, the only reason why the Soul Food spot keeps its prices that high is because they lean on the strength of Black support. I do not tolerate the argument that they have higher costs because if that was the case they could simply find out where the carryout was shopping for their food and supplies. In this case, I rebuke all that say I should support the Soul Food spot “off the strength.”

Carol’s Daughter is a line of beauty products that appeal to everyone not just one race of people. You can find them in malls and you can also order online. They compete with stores like, Bath & Body Works, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Here’s the thing about Carol’s Daughter, their products are better quality, the service is superb, and although the cost is a bit more, they sustain that cost by producing a superior product. In this case, I never buy beauty products from anywhere else but Carol’s Daughter. The consolation prize, oh yeah, I’m actually supporting a Black business.

I hope I was able to shed some light on an issue that bugs me. I do not have a problem supporting Black business, but I also don’t have a problem supporting white business either. I’d like to take race off of commerce, because my money is green, not Black or white. I realize that there is a need to sustain a Black economy, and overall I believe we do a good job of that. However, the predisposed notion that I purchase Black owned goods regardless of cost, quality or innovation is absurd. I can’t do it, and won’t do it.

While, I’m here talking about food. I just want to give a shoutout to Catfish Fridays in DC. My dude, Chris runs a great business over there and people should try and support as much as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Dr. J is slowly coming back to the BlogWorld.

As always follow me, @DrJayJack – I appreciate your comments here, but I’d love to follow some of you and get good conversation more frequently.


eaglebird said...

I feel you thats real talk right there,it's all about the customer service reguardless of race gender or what ever else dividing the people out here nowadays...But on another note I didnt know carol's daughter had men products prbably got to see what tgats about'cause females I know who wear carol daughter be smelling good with it like yeah!

Up&Coming Buppie said...

I totally agree with this post. In the past many of my dealings with black owned businesses have not been positive. Therefore, I am over feeling that I must give Blacks my business. I give my business to whoever gives me good customer service and offers me a quality product.

However, there is one black business that I have a weakness for and that is black owned restaurants. This is because in most instances I love the food they serve. There is a restaurant in my hometown of Pittsburgh called Simmie's that is black owned. They are slow as Christmas, most of the women in there have serious attitude problems and the food is overpriced. But I go there at least once every few months and give them my money. SMH in shame!

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