White allies that encourage support of Black businesses are good but Black people shouldn’t allow them to own the ‘Buy Black’ movement. Black people are celebrating a little too hard when Uber or Yelp spotlights Black businesses: it’s a good thing but not the ultimate goal of the movement. When Black people look to allies as their source, it positions the allies to profit off of the movement and those dollars are not recycled back to where they are most needed. Let Uber and Yelp expose white people to Black businesses, Black people must continue to build their own.
Black entrepreneurs appreciate Asian or Mexican customers finding them on non-Black platforms. If Uber stops spotlighting Black restaurants next month, however, what then? Depending on non-Black platforms leaves Black entrepreneurs subject to the whims of others outside of their community, people who’ve historically demonstrated that Black lives may or may not matter, to them. Further, Black people won’t be better off if Yelp emerges as the go-to source to find Black businesses, continues to sell ads because of it and recycles none of it back into the community. The goal isn’t white acknowledgment and ownership of the buy Black movement, the goal is for Black people to build their own businesses, recycle Black dollars, build Black communities and ultimately, benefit the entire world.
White allies are good and they should be encouraged. Black entrepreneurs need all the exposure they can get and should sell to customers who aren’t Black: more money into the Black community is a good thing. The issue is that too many Black people are content to let white allies emerge as the leading voices and platforms in this movement and in doing so, continue the old theme of Black dependence. When you depend on another they hold the power position and that is, historically, a dangerous place for Black people to live. In this moment, when there is sudden interest in supporting Black owned businesses, Black people should focus on owning, controlling and profiting from every bit of it. Black people cannot allow allies to take the lead or more of the dollar than Black people do.
Black people, historically, have always produced for whites in America. As the buy Black movement begins to soar, Black people must be careful to harvest every cent and not allow Black entrepreneurs to labor for white platforms or allies. Yes, they can certainly be helpful but Black people should never give up the place of ownership, especially not of their own movement. Black people should continue to build up, support and promote Black platforms, businesses and services. God bless those who want to join in but they are doing so to bring others along, not Black people.