Black Buying Power: The Importance of Supporting Black Businesses

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

I have conversations regularly about how we as Black people should support Black businesses. When the option is available, we should always choose to work with a Black business owner, especially if it’s a locally owned small business. Minority business owners seem to suffer from the myth of offering bad service and not providing as good of a quality product as their white competitors. I’ll admit that I have often had that thought in past. I have a friend that always said she never lets an Asian do her manicures and pedicures. She will always find a Black nail tech and support her first. Me, being prejudice and ignorant about the abilities of my own people [Black] would say, “I don’t think anyone can do nails better than Asians.” Please don’t judge me by my ignorance, I’ve since broadened my mind and accepted that we [Blacks] are capable of absolutely any and everything.

When referencing Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs, people tend to make comments like, “Black people don’t know how to conduct business” or “I don’t support Black businesses because they can’t be trusted.” How do you know they don’t know how to conduct business or they can’t trusted if you’ve never given them a chance? So you mean to tell me that every white business owner is trustworthy and conducts business in a proper manner ALL THE TIME? Every last one of them? Nah bruh, I can’t except that. Whenever you hear about a business man embezzling the money of investors or a Ponzi scheme, isn’t it usually a white person? I’m sorry, that’s stereotyping isn’t it? But it’s true. The term ‘Ponzi scheme’ was even named after Charles Ponzi–a swindler, con artist and WHITE man from the early 1920s. So why are Black people seen as sub-standard when it comes to operating a legit business?

Whenever we get bad service from a retailer or restaurant, or any establishment that offers a service, we are quick to submit a complaint to the manager or through the business’ online website. We sometimes say we’ll never go back again, but after a short period of time we usually do go back. Especially if it’s a place that we frequent. Or if this business has multiple locations we’ll usually just visit a different location. Unfortunately, in most cases, Black owned businesses do not have multiple locations to choose from. Especially if it’s a locally owned small business. So let’s say you decide to support a Black entrepreneur and you receive not so favorable service. Instead of voicing your concerns or dissatisfaction, we just never go back; because that’s the kind of service you were expecting to get anyway right? But let’s say you go to Chick-fil-a and you get bad service; you’re more likely to complain and just vow to never visit that particular location again. But you can go to another location on the other side of town and still give your money to chick-fil-a. You can’t likely do that with a Black business because often times there is no other location.

Despite the lack of support, Black businesses are actually thriving. A 2011 survey of business owners conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Black owned businesses increased by 60.5% between 2002 – 2007. There are multiple reasons we should support Black owned businesses. One is that they usually employ a high number of Black people, thus contributing to the decline of the Black unemployment rate. Those that open businesses in their own communities are helping to supply necessities to those who don’t have the means to venture outside of their neighborhoods and communities. We [Blacks] have a $1.1 Trillion spending power. Supporting more Black businesses contributes to the increase of Black incomes, giving families a chance to properly provide for their children and fund Black education. We should make a conscious effort everyday to buy Black. Even if we have to go out of way to do it. Other races and ethnicities are always going to stick together no matter what, it’s time for us [Blacks] to do the same. If you get bad service, which is most likely to be from an employee of that business, make it a point to talk to the business owner about it, even if you have to return at a later date. They want your business and will surely do what they can to rectify the situation. We should never think that what we are doing to personally contribute to the rise of the Black community is enough. It’s never enough…commit to doing more.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

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2016 Election Aftermath: Why I Had To Say Goodbye To Some Of My White Friends

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. ~Maya Angelou

This is probably the most commonly used quote and also the most ignored. Ignored because we let these words flow from our mouths like water flows through a stream, but rarely use a sponge to really soak it up, retain it, and put it into action. People so often display signs of their true character, whether good or bad, and we often dismiss them like a random Donald Trump billboard on the freeway. Then we have the audacity to be shocked when someone that we thought we knew does something to hurt us or something that is considered unethical or inhumane.

The 2016 election campaign was very interesting, to say the least, and now that it’s over and we’re all officially doomed to hell, there are some changes that must (or had) to be made. I made a post on Facebook the day after the election stating, “Anyone that voted for Trump is racist.” While I stand by my comment and wholeheartedly believe it to be true, it sparked a flow of comments in both agreement and retaliation. One of those comments came from a colleague/friend. She first gave me a disclaimer of how she loved me dearly, and then told me she was offended by my comment, thus identifying herself as a Trump supporter. She proceeded to say the first thing a racist says in defense and denial of their racism, “I am not and never have been a racist.” I’m sorry ma’am I have to disagree, because I clearly know you better than you know yourself (is that possible?). You see my ex-friend, racism can be displayed in many different forms. For this particular person, she was big on stereotypes. For example, when she refers to one of her white employees she uses terms like ‘unprofessional’ and ‘loud’ when they raise their voice or do something out of character. When referring to one of her Black employees she uses ‘ghetto’ or ‘hood’ to describe their behavior. So what makes the Black employee ‘ghetto’ and not just ‘loud’ or ‘unprofessional’ for having the same reaction to a situation that the white employee had?

Let’s back up to her reasons for voting for Trump. She said she disagreed with what Hillary stood for so much that she had no other choice but to vote for Trump…”I voted for a platform, not a candidate.” So never mind all the racist, sexist, and derogatory remarks Trump has made. Never mind that he hates all people of color and would LOVE to ship us back to wherever he thinks we came from. And let us not forget that grabbing women by the pussy is just as normal for him as brushing his teeth. You may not consider yourself a racist, but his racists remarks were not enough to deter you from voting him in as our leader, and that’s NOT ok. A vote for him is a vote in agreement for everything he stands for, says, and does.

What I cannot continue to do is be tolerant of certain people, prejudices, and behaviors. The progress that we have made is being attacked…the well-being of my people is under attack. By overlooking some of her comments about certain people and the comments she sometimes made about the events in the news referring to another unarmed Black person being killed by police, I was tolerant of her behavior. Just like she was tolerant of me because, in her eyes, I was the stereotypical Black person. I remember her saying how she was so ‘sick’ of hearing about and seeing news stories on the fatal police shooting of Mike Brown. Never mind how ‘sick’ Mike Brown’s mother must be over losing her child. They say history is starting to repeat itself, I say these injustices never stopped. We were so distracted by the so-called progress and advancement of the Black race, that we slowly became blind to our continued state of mental and institutional slavery. White people gave us a little freedom and a few rights and we conveniently started to dismiss, or become content with, the barriers that were still stacked against us.

In order for me to rock with you, you have to stand! Stand up and speak out on the injustices that my people and any group of people are constantly plagued with. Racism has become so open and blatant and I can no longer be silent and I don’t expect my circle to be silent. If you can’t empathize because it doesn’t directly affect you then for me that equals another form of racism. She never once spoke out against the violence that have been inflicted on people of color at the hands of the very people that are suppose to serve and protect us. As my friend, anything that affects me negatively and threatens my well-being should be of concern to you as well.

I know that not all white people are racist, nor does this blog represent my hatred for white people. But to the ones that are, you will no longer be tolerated.  

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Kitta is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

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Church Questions: From The Mind Of A 14 Year Old Boy

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

There are so many questionable things that go within the church. Like the many different funds that they collect money for (building fund, parking lot fund, new baptismal pool fund, choir fund, etc.) but members never actually see the fruits of the money they pour into the church. Or the pastor living more lavishly than anybody else in the church. My now 14 year old god son recently pondered some more humorous questions while sitting in church one day…some of which I’d personally like answers to.

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  1. Why are church songs 3 minutes long but take a whole hour for the choir to sing?
  2. Why when people stomp it shakes the whole place? Exactly how old is this church and is God trying to tell me something (in my male Sug Avery voice)? Like get out now before the whole building collapses?
  3. Are all the people that sing in the church choir ‘fruit snacks?’
  4. Why is that church only last for 2 hours but it feels like 365 days? Is it time for watch service again?
  5. Why is it that one old person that looks like your substitute teacher from school?
  6. Is that swaying motion really necessary?
  7. Why do you get sleepy so fast in church? Is the holy ghost really the sandman in disguise?
  8. Why is there always one old woman in every church name Margret? What is a Margret?
  9. What is that “yeeeyeeeeyeeeyeee” sound old women make when they sing?
  10. Why does my mom clap like a crab pinching its’ claws together?

These are questions that have gone unanswered for years. If anyone has any answers for my god son please share and I’ll pass them along to ease his inquiring mind.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

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