Blacks Are Challenged to Buy From Black-Owned Businesses to Close Gap
CHICAGO — Should black people go out of their way to patronize black-owned business?
Maggie Anderson says they should. In 2008, with the economy in the middle of the worst downturn since the 1930s, Ms. Anderson enlisted her husband and two daughters in a yearlong plan to consume goods and services exclusively from black-owned businesses. The journey became a basis for her 2012 book, “Our Black Year,” the subject of several TED talks about how to increase wealth in the African-American community, and the narrative behind a current cross-country tour aimed at spreading her gospel.
Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. A report by Nielsen and Essence estimates that black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years, yet only a tiny fraction of that money is spent at black-owned businesses. Unless black people devote more attention to building wealth within the black community, Ms. Anderson and others contend, they will always be behind.