100 and 6; 6 and 100. Do You See What I See?
Fact: Black families have $6 in wealth for every $100 in wealth White families have.
That statistic almost knocked me out of my seat. The wealth gap seems to keep getting wider and wider. I can remember a time when that figure was at least $8 or $9—still paltry sums; but now it’s down to $6, and it’s sickening. It’s saddening.
I want to call my senator, my congressman, the President, even. Something must be done about this alarming and depressing disparity, I say.
But then I think of another statistic with identical numbers—identical. For every $100 Black Americans spend, we only spend $6 in the Black community with Black-owned businesses.
The similarity is glaring. The coordinating numbers are no coincidence.
There they are in two separate statistical evaluations: 100 and 6; 6 and 100! Do you see what I see?
For every $100 we spend, we only spend $6 with each other. And for every $100 of wealth a White family has, a Black family has only $6.
We spend our money making other folk rich; and by comparison, we are getting poorer and poorer.
Pretty pathetic for a group of folk with a buying power of $1.1 trillion, don’t you think?
Those numbers become even more disconcerting when I realize that Blacks in New Orleans—despite the shifts in demographics since Hurricane Katrina—still rank in the top 10 cities in Black earning power, coming behind New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Memphis and Washington, D.C., and outpacing Dallas, Atlanta and Cleveland. Black New Orleanians earned $9.2 billion and spent more than half of that ($4.9 billion) in every category imaginable, according to the 2014 Target Market News report The Buying Power of Black America.
No matter how you look at it, it still adds up to trouble for our communities. But we are the only ones with the power to do something about it. We can CHANGE this thing!
So I collect myself and redirect my call to action. There is no need to call President Barack Obama or U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond about this one. And I wouldn’t even waste my precious time trying to get either one of my United States senators on the line.
Instead, I am calling my friends, neighbors and family because the CHANGE we need is right in our pockets.
How, where and why we direct our considerable buying power holds more promise for improving our community than any political action.
That is why this and every edition of The New Orleans BlackBook is so important. There are no excuses. This is the city’s most comprehensive guide to Black-owned businesses, services providers and professionals. Black business owners, professionals and services providers are listed right here doing business in just about every category you can imagine.
And no, we are not talking about buying Black just as a matter of principle. We are talking buying Black because it makes a difference. Black-owned businesses hire Black employees at a rate higher than others. They support our neighborhoods and communities with resources and assets that spur transformation and growth.
The New Orleans BlackBook is not just a call to action for Black consumers to support Black businesses when and where possible, but to also do your homework when patronizing majority-owned businesses. Take the time to research and learn which ones actually value your dollars and your communities. How do their supplier diversity and corporate philanthropy programs compare? Do they take the steps to directly market their products and services to you through Black-owned media? You can start here by giving a second look to the majority-business advertisers in this edition of The BlackBook, as well as The New Orleans Tribune and other Black-owned media in our city.
This directory and the public awareness campaign it drives are also a call to action for Black-owned businesses to continue to doing what we need you to do—provide quality goods and services, employ individuals at competitive wages and salaries, create training and mentorship opportunities, and support worthy causes that help build and strengthen our neighborhoods. If you are doing this already, do more. If you are not, start now.
Finally, please use this edition of The New Orleans BlackBook. The directory is valuable. The articles are thought-provoking. And the business profiles are inspiring.
A great deal of time and effort have gone into ensuring that this edition of The New Orleans BlackBook is the best yet!