Last week, I shared a meme from The Black Upstart regarding how people often treat black owned businesses:
I couldn’t agree more with that statement. A couple of days later, a viral video (that honestly, I’m not even going to link to because it was toxic) began circulating again where a comedian describes a negative experience with a black-owned business and goes on to discuss why you can’t support black-owned businesses and brands, citing poor customer service and products with subpar quality. Unfortunately, several people agreed with her. I’ll be clear – this mentality is damaging and wrong, point black period.
While I do not believe in patronizing businesses that don’t seem to care about their own product or customers simply because they are black, the narrative that this applies to ALL black-owned businesses is anti-black. When you have a negative experience with a white-owned brand, no one ever mentions the owner’s race in their complaint. In fact, one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had was with Sweet Curls Elixirs on Etsy, which is owned by a white woman. I’ve even been called a bitch by a white brand owner on Twitter. I most definitely posted about my experiences, but race was never a factor.
But it seems that when the owner is black and there is a poor experience, people often say things like, “This is why I don’t support black businesses,” or “I try to support my people but I just can’t because they can’t run businesses.” No, that *specific* business is the issue, not black-owned businesses and owners as a whole. We aren’t all the same and shouldn’t be treated as such.
I buy from black-owned brands at least once a week, and rarely have an issue. Several of my favorite natural hair and makeup brands are black-owned and they have amazing products and customer service. So why the constant bashing? Unfortunately, in society black people often don’t have the privilege of being seen as individuals, and historically we’ve been told that we aren’t good enough. Those damaging ideas trickle down and perpetuate the notion that black-owned businesses aren’t good enough to begin with, and each time we have a bad experience, that concept is reaffirmed.
My ask is that you make a point to laud black-owned businesses when you have a good experience, and if you have a bad one, relay your experience about that business ONLY. Otherwise, you’re just not helping.
Do you make a point to support black-owned businesses?