The most efficient way for black businesses to never succeed …
… is to let self-hate and self-doubt get in our way
Black-owned businesses total $150 billion annually, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Of that amount, 2.5 million Black-owned businesses have no paid employees (95.8 percent) and only 109,000 have at least one paid employee. Although they’re still a smaller group than other demographics, I do my best to support where I can.
When I bought my condo, I hand-picked a Liberian-born attorney who I knew had already successfully run her own law firm in Chicago and was expanding to Atlanta. (We’d worked together on several projects before.) When I looked for a real estate agent to work with, I decided to hire a Jamaican woman. My mortgage certification trainer was African-American, and he did a phenomenal job of walking me through terminology that I was completely confused by when talking to my mortgage company.
I absolutely loved the visual of three brown girls walking into the closer’s office, taking celebratory photographs after my hand hurt from signing a mountain of paperwork. And I made sure to tell the certification trainer all about my experience so he could share it with new homeowners (largely African-American in my class, unsure of others) in future training sessions.
So when I talk to people — specifically black people — who say that black businesses cannot succeed because “we can’t get along,” it makes my blood boil. Catch me on the wrong day, and it’s almost certain that it’ll result in a shouting match and me shooting off successful black business statistics like a machine gun. One of the absolute easiest ways for African-American businesses to not succeed is to feed into the theory that we can’t and won’t support each other.