My Love Hate Relationship: Doing Business In The Black Community

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My Little Haiti Experience, Miami

Just a few days ago, I was in Little Haiti (formerly Lemon City), in Miami, FL in an effort to patronize the Haitian community as they celebrated Haitian Heritage Cultural Month, a huge annual event in the area. I love cultural events, as they are a way for me to learn about different cultures and taste different cuisines.

Oh. My. God!

You’d think I had asked for a brand new car. Not only did the hostess in front of me at the counter ignore my request. She stared me in my eyes as if to say “F-off, you’re not speaking Creole, so I’m not helping you.” After about 10 minutes amongst the other patrons fighting to place orders, I’d had enough. We left. We talked about how rude the people were, and the atmosphere in general felt unwelcoming. We left with the mindset that we’d never visit that place again. I had another experience at a different Haitian restaurant on that same day in another county to confirm this was not an isolated incident. It’s a part of the culture.

My Soul Food Experiences, Ft. Lauderdale

My friend and I were out shopping at the local Caribbean grocery store and wanted lunch. We checked out Google to find a nearby soul food restaurant in an effort to recycle Black dollars. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a cheerful cashier/hostess. We smiled thinking we’d hit the jackpot today. We placed our orders feeling good about the decision made. After that, the experience went down hill.

“Why do we walk away feeling unsatisfied and unappreciated when we patronize some Black businesses?

We went to another soul food spot and the hostesses/cashiers were not rude, but not excited about our patronage. It’s a resounding theme, and I’m tired of giving “skinfolk” passes on services and paying for poor quality. Do better!

Black Buying Power

We want to recycle Black dollars in Black communities in the same way that other communities recycle their dollars. According to the 2018 consumer report by Nielsen, Black buying power was $1.7 trillion dollars in 2017. According to the report, Black consumers have notable distinctions from other consumer groups when it comes to buying power. Because our buying power is so essential to American and global economies, it is extremely important to be thoughtful about how and where our hard earned Black dollars are spent.

It’s the kind of abuse I wouldn’t put up with from my spouse or partner, but apparently it’s been acceptable when patronizing Black businesses.

I finally came to the realization that I was accepting behavior I wouldn’t tolerate patronizing any other ethnic group. If a Jewish, White, or Asian business treated me the way some African American businesses treat me, I’d file complaints. I’d read them the riot act, and put a bad business review on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and any other place I could. I’d feel the need to warn others looking to patronize those businesses.

Do Better

Do better Black businesses! It’s like a fight with a boyfriend. I come see you, you mistreat me, then I walk away in my feelings. This behavior is a form of emotional abuse as well as an exploitation of our economic resources whether we realize it or not. I’m so freakin tired of being in my feelings after patronizing some Black businesses.

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