23650, RE: Can you Buy Black?|
Posted by janey, Thu Jul-13-00 06:22 AM
So start where you can. We can't do it all at once. Grass roots movements start with the action of one person.
I can't address each issue that you raise, because I don't have enough information, but I want to point out a couple of things.
First, most government contracts these days require that at least a percentage of the work that is performed be performed by minority-owned business enterprises or women-owned business enterprises. You might want to investigate whether your city/county/state has these requirements in place and, if not, let your representatives know that this is important to you. That will feed seed money into businesses and help them grow.
Second, there may be more opportunities to Buy Black than are immediately apparent. I just took a look around and found out that, after holding onto it for a couple of years, I guess I finally threw away my copy of Fortune that listed the top 500 Black-owned/managed businesses. And damn, it's been too long, so I don't remember rightly who they all are. But I think that there must be a new issue since then, and I'll see if I can't dig one up. Beatrice Foods was a big one.
Third, there are mutual funds that invest in environmentally friendly investments ("green" funds), there are mutual funds that make investments in women-owned/oriented businesses, so I'm willing to bet that there are funds that do the same for minority business enterprises. You can own a stake in a Black owned business by buying shares of the company or investing in a mutual fund that does so (Illosopher is going to get me for promoting capitalism so heavily, but I'll take my chances here. :-)).
I think you raise some very good points, and I think that it's true that, especially at first, it will be a struggle to keep our dollars where we want them. But don't give up hope. Just asking the question, "How can I support my community?" is the first step toward change. It is exactly this kind of conversation that leads people to band together to buy an apartment building or start a grocery store.