To put it simply, yes. We need Black owned businesses because of the role businesses play in a community.
In order to survive businesses must organize people and resources to meet human need.
They must provide meaningful service in the community in which they exist.
The Black community needs businesses that are created and run to serve the needs of the Black community. This is especially true in areas where we are most concentrated.
A restaurant is an excellent example of a business that must organize people and resources. First, all people need to eat. I order for a restaurant to meet the needs of it’s customers it must organize delivery, preparation, and service of food. It also needs to provide an atmosphere that is pleasant to eat in.
Another reason we need Black owned businesses is for the impact it can have on our employment. Not just to increase the number of jobs available to Black workers, but also to improve the working conditions and the degree of satisfaction and fulfillment gained from working those jobs.
All of us need money which we usually get working jobs, but we also need to be employed in jobs whose goal is to serve our community. Most of us spend 40 hours or more at jobs that provide us with an income, however the goal of those jobs has little if anything to do with serving the needs of the Black community, or the Black worker for that matter beyond providing a source of reliable income.
The jobs we work constitute our most important project in life. You should understand that you are selling the most productive time of your life to an employer. In most cases an employer who has no interest or concern for your overall well-being. An employer who views the investment of your time, and talent as a mere commodity.
I believe that we invest far to much of our talent, time, energy, brain power, and money outside of our community. This may be a reason why some of us feel so unfilled and unsatisfied with our work. If we think about it many of us would have to admit that the goal of our work is of little or no significance to us. It’s only importance is that it provides us with income.
You may feel that your work is important. That’s understandable, we all need affirmation. However what happens if you take a moment to be honest and ask what does the work I do mean to me? Would you do it on a volunteer basis if your financial needs were already meet? If you can say yes you are fortunate, but as I observe many Blacks at work I do not believe that the sentiment would be shared by a majority.
Lack of advancement opportunity is another reason many of us have come to view our work as a necessary evil. It is not healthy for a human being to be deprived of ambition, to be relegated to repeating the same task day in and day out without learning new skills, or being allowed to advance into a greater capacity.
I believe that healthy Black owned businesses, which are dependent on the Black community for survival will be especially attendant to the needs of it’s customers and it’s employees. They would be able to provide healthy affirming atmospheres for our young people to be mentored and not just employed.
One thing that I observe is lacking for Black people in many corporate work places is a personal investment in them by their employer.
Working in corporate America is comparable to being a greyhound racing around a track. They always place the rabbit just outside of your reach while promising that if you just run faster you will catch it.
Turing our city into a place where earning a good living working for a Black owned business cannot happen overnight. Without dwelling on all of the negative stereotypes about Black owned businesses, I would like you to imagine waking up and going to work at an establishment where your culture is not suppressed, where you are truly valued and appreciated by your employer, where you know without a doubt that if you work hard you will advance. A place where your employment is not frequently jeopardized and threatened. A place where you are respected as an adult and are allowed to be involved in decision making.
If this sounds good to you then you need to join an organization whose goal is to bring such a day to past. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to hear from you. We are planning to create such an organization. Once we have enough people to respond we will setup a meeting to begin the work of rebuilding a real Black Community in Columbus Ohio. A community that supports it’s members and is in turn supported by it’s members.
If you want to get a better understanding of what I am talking about when I say real Black Community please watch the 7 minute video on the post “Integration “We got what we wanted, but we lost what we had”.