Economic activists support ‘Buy Black’ movement

DENISHA McKNIGHT | 1/16/2017, 9:10 a.m.
The racial wealth gap is a growing trend that continues to grow each year for Black people. The Institute of ...
Dr. Boyce Watkins and James Clingman Official photos

Although the Buy Black movement has many positives, there are a lot of people who point out various negatives and stereotypes, such as location issues, product quality and distrust for their own people.

“We build up other people’s economy, but don’t do nothing for us,” Watkins expressed. “We buy other people’s products, but won’t buy nothing from us. No one will ever say, ‘I’m never going to a White business again because they took my money.’”

Furthermore, it can be noted that there are people who are aware of the movement’s power and exclaim that people should invest in Black businesses and help African Americans, yet they don’t put in the necessary footwork to make things better.

“It’s not enough to just be conscious,” Clingman said. “We want people who are conscientiously conscious, which is the drive and the willpower to do things a conscious person is called upon doing emotionally and psychologically.”

When you are buying Black this new year, however, remain cautious of who you are giving your dollars to. Geuka expressed that just because someone is a Black business owner doesn’t mean they will use their capital to empower the community.

“Everything black isn’t Black,” he said. “The very fact that someone is aware of the predicament that Black folks are in doesn’t, in itself, mean that they are committed to do anything about it. The purpose of our movement is to first identify those people who think and feel about Black folks and our needs and our future the way that we do. Then, we collaborate with those people in developing a mechanism that will have the capacity to take us to the next level.”

In addition, it is important that people understand what they can do to support the mission outside of just being a consumer. Watkins said more people need to become financially literate so they can pass down good money management skills to their children and improve Black wealth.

“The most important thing we can do, in this generation, is to train as many Black entrepreneurs as possible,” he asserted.

The self-proclaimed “People’s Scholar” also advises Black entrepreneurs, stating that it is important to understand the difference between action and planning, not being afraid of making a move, starting business from where they are currently and understanding the power of groups and being a collective.

The most important piece of information Watkins provided is that African Americans have to learn self-love as well loving one another, or no movement for the Black community will be able to survive.

“We have to practice loving ourselves and loving each other because if you really love someone, you’re going to support them,” he said.