There is power in Black ownership...
Ever since Africans were brought to America, the country has been built off of our ancestors and, now, our backs. Now with the vast diversity of the US, more groups are taking advantage of Black spending power; everyone except other Blacks. Many people know there is power in Black ownership, except most Black people. Today there are many businesses and real estate owned by other groups in predominately Black neighborhoods; leaving an underwhelming amount of ownership to Black people who live in those communities.
The majority of Blacks work at businesses owned by other racial groups, rent their housing from other racial groups, and spend their leisure money at businesses and establishments owned by other racial groups. Then some wonder why it seems like most can never get ahead; why some spend their money at places not owned by people of color; and why Black neighborhoods aren't wealthy. Unfortunately, most Black people haven't realize the power in Black ownership.
There was a time when entrepreneurship and being a business owner in the US was the norm for most people and people spent their money within their communities. We know today we live in a global economy especially with the ease of shopping online. However, we must recognize that actively circulating dollars within our own communities is what strengthens, builds and allows it to flourish.
When asked, Why is it important for Black people to own and build wealth, blackbox Co-Founder Brittinee Phillips stated, "Black people should own their own businesses to establish generational wealth. So much of what others have in our society stems from generational power and structure to set up a family for lifetimes upon lifetimes. If not for one self, then do it for the lineage of your own family. Another beautiful thing about setting your own and having financial security is that it makes you a stronger person. We all have our weaknesses, but it's our strengths that pull us through rough times."
It's very true! Being rich and wealthy are two different things. Establishing generational wealth is the goal as it is what is passed onto your children and their children, hopefully continuing well after you're gone.
If ownership is the goal, then good personal financial understanding and habits are the foundation. Co-Founder Jacque Carrington explains, "I think that it takes a life event to trigger someone to care seriously about their personal finances. I also feel that if when children are younger, parents take the time to teach them not only the value of a dollar, but the value of planning for your future with security in mind that will go a much longer way. It wasn't until my mid-20s that I actually began to think about my financial future and get my affairs in order. The quick buck and doing it for the Joneses has run its course; we need to do more than think about making impressions on others - it has to be more long-term focused."
According to a news story on CNN Money, "in the U.S. today, the average African-American household owns just 6 cents for every $1 of wealth held by the typical white household, and blacks make up just 1.7% of the top 1% of wealthy Americans."
Would Black status improve in the US if we owned more? Not just owning businesses, but being debt free, owning real estate, owning stocks, and other assets. It's a stereotype that Blacks are lazy, don't work, don't take care of their children, are on welfare, etc... Is not owning assets and having wealth for ourselves and families the reason why others view us differently?
Brittinee shares, "I definitely believe if there was more power and wealth in Black communities our status in the US would be slightly improved. At the end of the day there will never be a time without trials and tribulations for any group considered an 'other.' When you have a stronger position and foothold, you're more of a formidable force than when you allow someone else to set the course of your life."
Many others know that Black people are a force that cannot be ignored when we are united, wealthy, and have as well as support each other. This is why it is tremendously important for Black ownership to live and thrive. Greenwood, the Black neighborhood that included Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, was one of the most affluent Black neighborhoods in the US. It was destroyed in June 1921. Black neighborhoods today are being destroyed in a variety of ways from violence to gentrification. It is time for Black people to set the course right and buy wealth-building assets.
Jacque offers some tips in closing, "owning something of your own is such a joyful and prideful experience. My advice would be to not beat yourself up when you make mistakes, because you will. The important thing is to learn from what was a setback so that you can tackle it or anything like it in the future more efficiently and effectively. Be very resourceful, and seek knowledge from a variety of sources because you can build your own plan from the learnings you'll find. Lastly, I'd say don't compare you success to others on your journey to wealth - it will only derail you."
This post was written by CoFounder, Jacque Carrington.