Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Buy Black Movement Going Nationwide

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.



While I have no problem with how these people spend their money, and what businesses they chose to patronize (that should be a freedom that all Americans have), I do question how this might have played in the MainStreamMedia, if the word "white" were substituted for the word "black" in the story. My guess is that their web site would be shut down and they would be castigated as racists and supremacists.

1 comments:

Southern Drawl May 13, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

The word substitution would have killed it. However, I am glad for their observations and wish them well. I don't think the black community understands that we want them to succeed, we want them to have pride, not only in their community, but also in America. We are Americans first and we need to all work together to improve our nation. All anybody (the nationalist media)does any more is name call and criticize people who have the brains and brawn to disagree.

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