Here it comes… Black Friday. The biggest shopping day that kicks off the biggest shopping season in recorded human history.
Over the past few years, social media memes like this one have circulated calling for a holiday “Blackout” – an economic boycott intended to hit America in the pockets as a response to continued police violence and increasing racial hostility. Plenty of debates have broken out about the viability of such a boycott.
Although it is well-intentioned, boycotting is a tactic, not a way of life. A boycott is usually directed toward a specific target person or organization to pressure them to do (or stop doing) some specific action, and it ends once the target complies.
Assuming that retailers are even in a position to convince police, juries and judges to take Black lives seriously, at what point would the “all clear” be sounded? Do we then rush back out to the malls and spend freely with mainstream businesses? Where does that leave our community economically?
This seems like a good time to revisit the TRILLION DOLLAR buying power collectively held by Black Americans.
If you decide to shop this season, I challenge you to “Buy Black” on Black Friday. For that matter, Buy Black on Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, too. Buy Black all through the holidays.
You may not get a flat screen TV for $50, but the way those doorbuster sales are set up, you might not get it anyway.
What you will get, if you research and select reputable, reliable, and professional Black businesses, is a great product and an opportunity to invest in a wealthier, more economically stable black community. Prosperous and ethical Black-owned businesses provide jobs, charitable donations, gathering places and investment opportunities, as well as goods and services that cater to our tastes and needs.
Unfortunately, many Black folks have two deep psychological barriers to spending with other Black folk: the notion that Black entrepreneurs are shady and that Black workers are lazy.
I’m not encouraging anyone to throw their money away on sub-par products or services. Here are 5 steps to wisely Buying Black this holiday season:
- Ask your friends and family to recommend Black businesses that exceeded their expectations.
- Promote your favorite Black businesses among your social networks.
- Google “black businesses” or “buy black”; read reviews of businesses you may want to support and leave a review of businesses you’ve patronized.
- Drop a note to a Black business that mistreated you letting them know what needs to improve before you could refer others to them.
- Encourage or assist your favorite local small business to host a community event and sale on Black Friday. (In 2015, I organized “Black Book Friday” at Community Book Center in New Orleans featuring local authors, children’s story times and pop-up caterers. The bookstore was packed all day and posted great sales.)
Even if you don’t shop exclusively with Black-owned businesses, consider setting aside a percentage of your budget or specific dollar amount to spend with them this season.