A dollar spends 28 days circulating in the Asian community; 19 days in the Jewish community; 17 days in predominately WASP communities; and 7 days in Hispanic communities.  A dollar circulates for only 6 hours in the black community.  In other words, when a Black person earns a dollar it is typically not spent with a Black owned business. 99% of our 1.3 Trillion dollar buying power is spent outside of our community. Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups.


Practically, it may be inconvenient.  There may not be many Black-owned businesses near you, whereas there is typically a Target, WalMart or Sears in most communities.  But how many Black people have even looked to see where the closest Black owned businesses are located (and what they sell)?  Even if you found a Black owned business an extra 10-minute drive away, would you frequent it?  On a recent episode of Buy Black for 30, Dennis and Numa travel all the way to Compton to buy gas from one of the two Black-owned gas stations in the country.  Maggie Anderson, who wrote the book, Our Black Year, had to travel 35 miles to get to a Black-owned gas station, so she started buying gas cards at the station and using them at stations closer to her.

But even when a Black business isn’t too far to support, why don’t we support it?  Is there a lack of trust?  Do we unconsciously think that Black is inferior?   I think about my friend’s Grandmother, a beautiful, feisty, Black woman who refused to be seen by Black doctors.  She thought that White doctors were better trained, better qualified—simply better.  Do we have an unconscious bias against our own?  Do we immediately think that a Kevan Hall evening gown is inferior to a David Meister; or that a Phat Farm sweatshirt is inferior to a Nike one?

Sadly, it’s been proven repeatedly that Americans generally would prefer to buy from a White vendor than a black one.  In a recent study where different races were shown trying to sell an iPod on sites such as Craigslist and Ebay, Black sellers got 13 percent fewer responses to their ads than white sellers overall.  And when they did get responses, they got 17 percent fewer offers to buy. And then even these offers were 2 to 4 percent lower than the average offer made to a white seller.


Some say that they don’t frequent Black businesses because they receive poor treatment from Black proprietors.  Do we lack professionalism?  Are we too comfortable with each other, so we provide less than professional service?  For instance, when you have an appointment at White service provider, they usually see you at the scheduled time.  Oftentimes, Black proprietors seem to have an automatic “ish” at the end of your appointment time.  “I’ll see you at 11-ish.” Others have said that sometimes service is given with a side of bad attitude.  True?  And if so, do black business owners treat Black customers poorly because they too are treated poorly (people always expecting a “hook-up”, showing up late for appointments, not paying fully or punctually).  At the same time, have you ever received poor customer service at a non-black business, but still returned.  Are we less forgiving to Black people?

Some have also complained that Black business are more expensive than other businesses.  If Black businesses aren’t doing the volume, it would make sense that they would need to charge more; but of course, all of us want the best deal possible.  But would you pay slightly more because you are investing in the Black community?  A study found that ½ million to 1 million jobs would be created if middle and upper middle class Blacks spent 1/10th of their dollars with Black businesses (and Black business tend to employ a high percentage of Black people).

Undoubtedly, Black businesses need Black support. It’s so tough for a Black person to start and to stay in business.  Study after study has proven that the biggest factor in determining who gets a business loan and who doesn’t is race.  And when a Black person does get a loan they pay on average 32% higher interest rates.  It’s no surprise that our business fail at a faster rate and although we make up 13% of the U.S. population, just 7% of small businesses are owned by Blacks.  Perhaps we should consider spending our dollars where they are truly appreciated. Companies spend just 3% of their advertising budgets to market to African Africans consumers, but we buy anyway.

We need to at least begin the discussion, think about our own biases, consider what we can do better because many Black businesses cannot be successful without our support.


To find some black-owned business, click here.

Randi Bryant
Passionate * Opinionated * Curious * Perpetually excited about life, Randi Bryant writes on her blog Beatnik24.com and has her first book coming out in early 2017.  When she’s not writing, she is happiest when there is a glass of wine in her hand.
  • iLoveGames

    Before I comment let me preface this with an obligatory “yes I am black”.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of times, at least where I’m from, black owned business are in the “black” parts of town. Given the cultural landscape in America, one might imagine that these aren’t the most pleasant parts of town. Many upper-middle class black families who possess immense buying power won’t visit those parts of town simply because they are known for being a bit dangerous.

    I’ve also talked with black people that I’ve known throughout my life, and a common theme is “I know how ‘we’ act”. Which basically means “I’m black, and have a lifetime of experience in the black community, and have observed the behavior of our people thoroughly.”

    Let’s not beat around the bush here. You and I and many other black people are quite civil, well off, and generally behave ourselves in public. However, there are far too many black folks out there who love to “act a fool”. You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen the videos of hordes of black folks storming a mall to get the Jordans – trampling over children and adults. Or the videos of black people, especially black women, raising hell in a store and arguing with the manager.

    A lot of black folks pretty much expect rude treatment from other black folks. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone into a restaurant owned by a white or latino business and been treated poorly, and I don’t even need half my fingers.

    Just my two cents.

  • LJMC2017

    I am a back female, and I’ve had a few challenging experiences with different nationality based businesses throughout my professional career. HANDS DOWN! My biggest pet peeve that I’ve constantly experienced, when doing any type of one on one business with black owners, consultants, etc… Is the time/deadline “no respect” factor, and NOT DOING what they say or promise they’re going to do, when they say they’re going to do it!!! To put it more directly. Once they received my deposit, or feel certain they have locked me in as a customer, they immediately go into stealth mode, and become MIA! All forms of what were initially a solid means of direct relaliable prompt communication (E.g. phone, email, video chat, text, etc), become radio silent! That is, until they find their own convenient time to speak with me, or finally decide to complete the work or service, for which I hired them to do. All the while, my business and clients needs aren’t being met on time, my valuable time and focus is wasted running them down, and my projects get severely delayed or come to a complete halt (BOTTLE NECK SYNDROME)…Yikes! As a result, my business relationships with my clients suffer tremendously, and I cannot afford to risk that!!! To say the least, I eventually end up having to start from scratch, by finding a completely different reliable resource, to get my projects or events completed on time. This is why I tend to stay away from hirining or retaining black owned businesses or services for projects, that have very time sensitive strict deadlines . This has been MY VERY OWN personal experience, time and time again! Why does this happen? I don’t believe there’s one particular reason. I do however, know of a simple extremely effective resolution. ALWAYS STRIVE TO EXCEED YOUR CUSTOMERS OR CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS AT ALL TIMES, WHENEVER AND WHEREVER POSSIBLE!!! When a business provides consistent excellent service or products, a cusumer will become a loyal repeat customer, regardless of the commute distance, and they will also help grow your business by referring other consers to you!!! #factual I will continue to support our black owned business regardless, but for projects that require strict deadlines, I’ll stir clear for now.