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Couple's 'Buy Black' Experiment Becomes a Movement - What do you think?

Posted by on May. 13, 2009 at 5:58 PM
  • 43 Replies

 

Couple's 'Buy Black' Experiment Becomes a Movement

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
 
Associated Press: It's been two months since 2-year-old Cori pulled the gold stud from her left earlobe, and the piercing is threatening to close as her mother, Maggie Anderson, hunts for a replacement.

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It's not that the earring was all that rare -- but finding the right store has become a quest of Quixotic proportions.

Maggie and John Anderson of Chicago vowed four months ago that for one year, they would try to patronize only black-owned businesses. The "Empowerment Experiment" is the reason John had to suffer for hours with a stomach ache and Maggie no longer gets that brand-name lather when she washes her hair. A grocery trip is a 14-mile odyssey.

"We kind of enjoy the sacrifice because we get to make the point ... but I am going without stuff and I am frustrated on a daily basis," Maggie Anderson said. "It's like, my people have been here 400 years and we don't even have a Walgreens to show for it."

So far, the Andersons have spent hundreds of dollars with black businesses from grocery stores to dry cleaners. But the couple still hasn't found a mortgage lender, home security system vendor or toy store. Nonetheless, they're hoping to expand the endeavor beyond their Chicago home.

Plans are under way to track spending among supporters nationwide and build a national database of quality black businesses. The first affiliate chapter has been launched in Atlanta, and the couple has established a foundation to raise funds for black businesses and an annual convention.

"We have the real power to do something, to use the money we spend every day to solve our problems," Maggie Anderson said recently at a meet-and-greet in Atlanta. "We have to believe that black businesses are just as good as everybody else's."

Now, the Andersons are following up with 4,000 people who signed up for the experiment on their Web site to gauge their commitment and set up online accounts to track their spending. Hundreds have also joined the experiment's Facebook page, Maggie Anderson said.

Gregory Price, chairman of the economics department at Morehouse College, said black visionaries like Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey made similar calls to action.

"The idea is a sound one, given that black Americans are still underrepresented in the ranks of the self-employed and that entrepreneurship is a key component to wealth," Price said.

There are one million black businesses in the United States accounting for more than $100 billion in annual sales, according to the National Black Chamber of Commerce. The latest U.S. Census numbers report that blacks have more than $800 billion in expendable income each year.

The Andersons track their spending on their Web site and estimate about 55 percent of their monthly spending is with black businesses for things like day care, groceries, car maintenance and home improvements.

One of the businesses highlighted by the Empowerment Experiment is Brenda Brown's Atlanta wine boutique, a shop with a growing black clientele. She said the project can help overcome the problems many black consumers lament.

"When we were a community of black folks who could not go to the white stores, our community of black stores flourished," Brown said. "When we were given the opportunity to go into the white store, it was like nothing else mattered anymore and we wanted to go to the white store, regardless of what the black store provided. We could have the same or better products if we supported (black businesses) in the same way."

Lewis Peeples, 45, lives in a black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta but didn't think to spend his money with black businesses until a friend told him about the project.

"So often, we make purchases and decisions and aren't even mindful that there is a a need to support our own businesses," said Peeples. "Now, I'm reaching out and making sure I know that I have an option when I look to make a purchase."

Two months ago, he committed to patronizing black businesses and found a black dry cleaner 10 minutes from home. Even when he was dissatisfied with his black doctor, he was able to find a new one. He suggests both to friends and refers others to the experiment's Web site, where he tracks his expenses.

Dallas Smith, who owns a commercial real estate firm in Atlanta, said mainstream retailers have undervalued black consumers. He lives in a black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta, where he tries to dine at black restaurants. He lamented the lack of quality businesses catering to black customers and said blacks should appreciate such businesses more.

"We've still got that 'the white man's water is colder' mentality," he said. "We can't take us for granted. When we go to our establishments, it's almost like we're doing a favor. That ought to be a given for us."

The Andersons remain encouraged by their momentum online and in the media. At the end of 2009, they hope to show $1 million in spending with black businesses among supporters across the country. "The response has been so huge," Maggie Anderson said. "We think so much can come out of this. We're in movement-making mode now."

Price, the Morehouse professor, said defining the project's success won't be easy, since the real barriers to black advancement are poor access to capital and lack of training opportunities.

"It would be nice to see some real, hard data," Price said. "Otherwise, it could just be an episode of ethnic cheerleading."

What do you think about the 'Buy Black' movement?
 

 





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by on May. 13, 2009 at 5:58 PM
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Replies (1-10):
sweetie00
by on May. 13, 2009 at 6:05 PM

I think they might be better off helping blacks and anyone, for that matter, start their own businesses. Also, buying local and American  is more important than singleing out for color.

angelachristine
by Bronze Member on May. 13, 2009 at 6:10 PM

I don't really care one way or the other. they can spend their money wherever they want.  I just know that the white people can't have a buy white movement or it would be called racist. Just like you can't say you are proud to be white etc....

I just spend my money wherever they have good deals or things that I want regardless of the color, nationtonality etc... of the owner.

kenlee
by on May. 13, 2009 at 6:48 PM


Quoting angelachristine:

I don't really care one way or the other. they can spend their money wherever they want.  I just know that the white people can't have a buy white movement or it would be called racist. Just like you can't say you are proud to be white etc....

I just spend my money wherever they have good deals or things that I want regardless of the color, nationtonality etc... of the owner.

yea really,if this was a white family they would be ran through the dirt for being racist!
I think this family is racist,cause why would they not buy anything from any other race and besides even if they go black store doesnt mean the store gets there stuff from black people so its kinda pointless

Godgaveme4
by Platinum Member on May. 13, 2009 at 7:08 PM

I think it is fine.  But like others said there is no way you would see an article saying "buy white".  The race card would be played and Jesse and the others would be on all of the talk shows talking babout how we are going further away from what Dr. King was preaching.  It is crazy.

I think is is kind of silly that they will put off medical attention until they find a "black" doctor.


aidans_mama
by on May. 13, 2009 at 8:59 PM

i don't care, but then again i am black and therefore biased, and the daughter of a black business owner.  seriously, what the heck is up with the 'if this family were white' comments?  for one, they aren't white...secondly, if they were they would have no problem buying from white owned businesses, they are everywhere.  you can shop at a white owned business and not even know it.  this isn't about being racist, we (my family and friends) shop at white owned businesses all the time, not because we want to, but because we have to.  most of the time, i don't even think about it.  but if there is something specific i want that reflects my culture or i just wake up one day and say, ''i want to support a black business today'', i will seek it out.  there just aren't that many black owned businesses out there.  my mama and grandmama are just like this family except they don't really seek out the black businesses, if they see two businesses that sell home goods one white and one black, they will choose the black one.  they like to support our community.  self-employment is one of the main ways to secure wealth in this country and being that blacks do not represent a large number of those considered wealthy, i don't see a problem in choosing to walk into a black owned business over a white owned business with the sole intent of helping this business attain wealth.  most black businesses are in black neighborhoods or near them, but yet most black people spend outside of their communities, keeping the money within their neighborhoods helps build their neighborhoods.  i will shop at a black owned business when i can, but being that there aren't that many to cater to my every need, i don't have a problem with shopping at white-owned businesses.  i cannot go without, like the woman in this article can.

you can choose to see only shopping at black businesses as racist, (i personally don't care if anyone thought that of me), i see it as supporting a group that is largely underrepresented in the business world and the thought of blacks (or any other minority for that matter) succeeding and owning businesses in this country brings a smile to my face.  i am able to support my local black owned businesses as well as shop elsewhere.

                                      

Godgaveme4
by Platinum Member on May. 13, 2009 at 9:12 PM

I totally get what you are saying.  I do the same with Christian business owners.  With that being said thaough you have to admit that if a group of white people said they are only going to shop at "white" businesses it would be considered racist.  In fact you would probably not see an article about it.  It is sad that it would happen but it would.

I really don't care who shops where or who owns the business they are supporting.  But there is a definite double standard when it comes to articles like this.

Quoting aidans_mama:

i don't care, but then again i am black and therefore biased, and the daughter of a black business owner.  seriously, what the heck is up with the 'if this family were white' comments?  for one, they aren't white...secondly, if they were they would have no problem buying from white owned businesses, they are everywhere.  you can shop at a white owned business and not even know it.  this isn't about being racist, we (my family and friends) shop at white owned businesses all the time, not because we want to, but because we have to.  most of the time, i don't even think about it.  but if there is something specific i want that reflects my culture or i just wake up one day and say, ''i want to support a black business today'', i will seek it out.  there just aren't that many black owned businesses out there.  my mama and grandmama are just like this family except they don't really seek out the black businesses, if they see two businesses that sell home goods one white and one black, they will choose the black one.  they like to support our community.  self-employment is one of the main ways to secure wealth in this country and being that blacks do not represent a large number of those considered wealthy, i don't see a problem in choosing to walk into a black owned business over a white owned business with the sole intent of helping this business attain wealth.  most black businesses are in black neighborhoods or near them, but yet most black people spend outside of their communities, keeping the money within their neighborhoods helps build their neighborhoods.  i will shop at a black owned business when i can, but being that there aren't that many to cater to my every need, i don't have a problem with shopping at white-owned businesses.  i cannot go without, like the woman in this article can.

you can choose to see only shopping at black businesses as racist, (i personally don't care if anyone thought that of me), i see it as supporting a group that is largely underrepresented in the business world and the thought of blacks (or any other minority for that matter) succeeding and owning businesses in this country brings a smile to my face.  i am able to support my local black owned businesses as well as shop elsewhere.


Godgaveme4
by Platinum Member on May. 13, 2009 at 9:16 PM

Quick question.

How would you feel about an article about someone saying they will only shop at a business that is owned by heterosexuals, or homosexuals?

Or someone saying they will not support any business that hires homosexuals?

Or a business that is only owned by men or women?

It is the choice of the consumer about what business that support but do you think it ever becomes an issue of discrimination?

aidans_mama
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:33 PM


Quoting Godgaveme4:

I totally get what you are saying.  I do the same with Christian business owners.  With that being said thaough you have to admit that if a group of white people said they are only going to shop at "white" businesses it would be considered racist.  In fact you would probably not see an article about it.  It is sad that it would happen but it would.

I really don't care who shops where or who owns the business they are supporting.  But there is a definite double standard when it comes to articles like this.

 

in my opinion black people can not only shop at black owned businesses, there just aren't that many in a specific area that would cater to all our needs, they would have to shop elsewhere.  there will continue to be a double standard because the differences in black and white owned businesses vary greatly...their success rates, the money they bring in, the amount of jobs they create, the amount of consumers, the actual number of these businesses, etc.  believe it or not, minorities do not have the upper hand when it comes to things like owning businesses or people supporting said businesses.  we have the incorrect perception in our communities that white automatically means better, and that just isn't the way it is.  double standards exist when the two things being compared aren't equal to begin with.

i don't see a need for a white person to come out with an article stating they will only shop at white owned businesses, you can shop at them your whole life and not even know it, most businesses in this country are white owned, there is no need to advertise shopping there.  black people are not wanting to shop at black owned businesses to shut white people out, to treat them as less than, they are not even wanting to have no interaction with them, they want to uplift a section of businesses in the business world that is in dire need of support. 

and yes, some would see an article by a white person as racist, i wouldn't, i just don't see the need of being a white person in a country where most businesses are white owned saying they are going to shop at white businesses.  to that, i kinda want to think, "duh" you can't really not shop at a white business in this country, but you can choose to not support a black one cause there just aren't that many. 

                                      

aidans_mama
by on May. 13, 2009 at 9:56 PM

 

Quoting Godgaveme4:

Quick question.

How would you feel about an article about someone saying they will only shop at a business that is owned by heterosexuals, or homosexuals?

Or someone saying they will not support any business that hires homosexuals?

Or a business that is only owned by men or women?

It is the choice of the consumer about what business that support but do you think it ever becomes an issue of discrimination?

i think you are missing the point of the article and you are comparing race and sexual orientation and those two things should never be compared IMO.  they each come with their own set of problems and their own set of standards.  i don't have a problem with supporting my communities businesses, but i can shop elsewhere if need be.  i would support a black business first, but i would not just discount white businesses.  that is how most black people are that have the "support black business" mentality. 

i think that the people in the article are maybe taking it too far with the whole "finding a black mortage lender" or "black doctor".  but i can see where they are coming from.  but if i couldn't find a black mortgage lender, i wouldn't just not get a house.  being black i can support my local black businesses and get what i need from white businesses, you don't have to just throw it all into the black businesses.  thing is, black people don't support black businesses much at all, whichis sad.  the whole "support black businesses" thing should be about  being able to give to your community without "dissing" white businesses as a whole.  the fact that most of black consumers money goes out of the community is alarming.  the govt. doesn't seem to care about these communities, at least its people should.  i think white people automatically think we wouldn't support any other business if we say to support our own. 

                                      

vlester
by Bronze Member on May. 14, 2009 at 9:38 AM

I have responded on a similar post I don't care if they buy black, brown, white, yellow, red or blue thats their money and their business. But yea what is up with the white only stuff. Whites can buy from white owned businesses and I still wouldn't care thats your money and you spend it how you want to spend it. And i know a lot of my black friends wouldn't care one way or the other is there was an article that said White family buys from white owned business, thats their business and their money and their family not mines,lol. Myself personally I am brown and I buy from everyone

Quoting aidans_mama:

i don't care, but then again i am black and therefore biased, and the daughter of a black business owner.  seriously, what the heck is up with the 'if this family were white' comments?  for one, they aren't white...secondly, if they were they would have no problem buying from white owned businesses, they are everywhere.  you can shop at a white owned business and not even know it.  this isn't about being racist, we (my family and friends) shop at white owned businesses all the time, not because we want to, but because we have to.  most of the time, i don't even think about it.  but if there is something specific i want that reflects my culture or i just wake up one day and say, ''i want to support a black business today'', i will seek it out.  there just aren't that many black owned businesses out there.  my mama and grandmama are just like this family except they don't really seek out the black businesses, if they see two businesses that sell home goods one white and one black, they will choose the black one.  they like to support our community.  self-employment is one of the main ways to secure wealth in this country and being that blacks do not represent a large number of those considered wealthy, i don't see a problem in choosing to walk into a black owned business over a white owned business with the sole intent of helping this business attain wealth.  most black businesses are in black neighborhoods or near them, but yet most black people spend outside of their communities, keeping the money within their neighborhoods helps build their neighborhoods.  i will shop at a black owned business when i can, but being that there aren't that many to cater to my every need, i don't have a problem with shopping at white-owned businesses.  i cannot go without, like the woman in this article can.

you can choose to see only shopping at black businesses as racist, (i personally don't care if anyone thought that of me), i see it as supporting a group that is largely underrepresented in the business world and the thought of blacks (or any other minority for that matter) succeeding and owning businesses in this country brings a smile to my face.  i am able to support my local black owned businesses as well as shop elsewhere.


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