Let’s support black-owned businesses this holiday season

by Trinity Bland, Staff Writer

As we approach the peak of the holiday season and people begin buying gifts for loved ones, I find it necessary to address how important it is to support black-owned businesses.

Hailing from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, I always supported black-owned businesses without even thinking about it. In a city like D.C., which was commonly referred to as “Chocolate City” due to its large black population. There are black-owned medical practices, boutiques, bakeries, delis and churches sprinkled in every which way. 

After moving to California, I became socially aware of my surroundings and immediately developed a deep appreciation for black-owned businesses as they are more rare in San Diego. When I do find one, I experience a burst of excitement. I know there’s absolutely no other choice but to support and promote these businesses whenever I can.

At San Diego State, the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad are available resources for students looking to start their own businesses. 

I know several students who are black entrepreneurs — offering time, resources and services to others. They understand the position of excellence they hold as student entrepreneurs of color and how important it is to give back through their expertise, excellent customer service and a desire to serve SDSU. I am proud to call many of them friends or acquaintances, and I am even more proud to support their businesses.

It has been statistically proven that black people spend more money annually than any other race by spending large amounts on things like electronics, shoes, clothing and other novelties. We should be consciously reallocating that spending into our own community by supporting businesses owned by our brothers and sisters. 

This alone would generate more wealth in our community and the mindset to build each other up instead of tearing each other down, ultimately creating a stronger community.

Business owners are more likely to recruit their own people to join their staff, so if we value and support black-owned businesses, the unemployment rate for African-Americans could potentially see a decrease. After all, the unfortunate reality is that there are instances where black people are not employed by certain businesses merely because of their skin color or when their name on a resume provides the slightest indication that they might be as African-American.

Businesses have flourished and become wealthy in other cultures because they have the support of those within their communities. However, this is not the case for the vast majority of individuals in the black community.

Many of us tend to compete with one another rather than show love and support. I believe once our thinking changes and we realize that supporting each other empowers us all, our community will be stronger than ever.

It has been said that the most successful industries for African-Americans tend to be sports and the arts, but I know we have the competence to be successful in other fields such as engineering, medicine and technology. We are changing the world quickly, but I believe we can change the world in a stronger and in an even more effective way if we support each other.

I would like to make it clear that I am not belittling other cultures and businesses within their communities in expressing this opinion. I write this in an attempt to better my own community, given black people exist in a system that seeks to push us down. 

I am proud of the people who come from my community. I celebrate their ideas, talents, creativity and diversity. This does not mean I choose adamantly not to invest in businesses run by people who do not look like me. 

My black pride is meant to empower, uplift and contribute to creating spaces for my fellow brothers and sisters to celebrate and embrace their craft in a country that has historically not valued us, our lives or our ideas. 

Black-owned businesses matter. This holiday season, I encourage you to use your power and money to invest in them, which will positively impact the community forever.

Trinity Bland is a sophomore studying journalism. Follow her on Twitter @trinityaliciaa.