Celebrating National Black Business Month
At the cusp of all that is happening in the United States today, August just so happens to be National Black Business Month. This month AFWM is highlighting Black Businesses that we have intentionally worked with in our monthly newsletter and highlighting the importance of why Black Lives Matter here in this blog. It’s no secret that the true issue within the Black community is not discrimination on a surface level, but socio economic issues that plague our community since we were forced off the boat.
Why Black Lives Matter
Black lives matter isn’t just a hashtag. BLM is a movement focused on ending the war against Black bodies and eradicating anti-Black racism. Black men, women, and children have contributed to the very existence of the United States and are subjected to being victimized and dehumanized every single day.
Police Brutality and Who It Affects Most
Despite the countless viral videos of Black men and women being killed by the police, the modern-day lynchings have continued. Instead of serving and protecting, police have been killing Black men and women at a disproportionate rate. No other group of people is being killed as often as those of African American descent. In 2019, 54% of people murdered by police identified as a person of color, according to Mapping Police Violence. In 2017, “Black people were more likely to be killed by police, more likely to be unarmed and less likely to be threatening someone when killed” (Mapping Police Violence). These numbers are heartbreaking. What makes matters worse, is that these statistics are under-reported, so there are even more Black people being killed by police than reports indicate. The law does not require police to report these numbers to any comprehensive database. Black lives are more than numbers as part of a statistic. Black lives are fathers, mothers, daughters, sons and we love them. Police brutality against Black lives has resulted in civil unrest in states all over the country. Protests and petitions to convict the police officers who are murdering unarmed Black men and women have flooded the internet. We need change; we need arrests; we need convictions. We don’t want an apology; we demand accountability. The justice system needs to show that Black lives matter to this country. Some people don’t believe police brutality against Black men and women isn’t an actual issue. They believe that black on black crime is the genuine problem.
The Myth Behind Black on Black Crime
The unbelievers of police brutality against Black men and women often say that black on black crime is more prevalent, and that’s the “real” issue. This argument is often used to deflect from the fact that police kill Black people at alarming rates compared to any other race of people. Most people would agree that if someone commits an act of terrorism against the United States, this is a serious issue and it causes intense emotion among people around the globe. No one says, “Well, what about the other people who commit crimes in America?” When Black people are victims of hate crimes and police brutality, those same people throw “black on black crime” into the conversation. What if I told you that black on black crime is a myth? What if I told you that every race of people kills others within their ethnic group in the same way? Crime in the Black community has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with poverty levels.
Black people are dying at the hands of other Black people. The murder of White people is almost always at the hands of other White people. So why is “black on black” crime always talked about and “white on white” crime isn’t? Is it because focusing on black crime is easier to digest than the fact that police are killing Black people more than any other demographic group? White nationalists argue that biologically, Black people are more susceptible to violence than non-Black people. The U.S. Department of Justice reported that “poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1000).”
How Low-Income Impacts Crime
Numbers don’t lie, they show the truth behind crime among low-income individuals versus top earners. In 2018, 20.8% of Black people were living in poverty, while only 8.1% of White people living in poverty (Statista). White people have a much higher socioeconomic status than Black people, which explains the increase in crime in predominately Black neighborhoods. Living in impoverished neighborhoods increases the chances of being exposed to structural racism, discrimination, and unjust opportunity, including red-lining, school-t0-prison pipeline, and white flight, which causes a decrease in funding to these areas. In 2016, White families earned ten times more than Black families. Lack of income, funding, and resources leads to an increase in crime and over-policing of these areas. When over-policing takes place, the rise in deaths among Black people increases, as police murder more Black people than they do non-Blacks. Putting money and resources back into the community is a noble way to support the Black community and to increase income.
How to Support Black-owned Businesses
- Change your spending habits. When you’re searching for a business to shop with for apparel, home renovations, places to eat, consider a Black-owned business first.
- Spread the word. When you shop with a Black-owned business and you have an exceptional experience, tell a friend. Take a picture at their place of business and tag them on your social media pages. Your recommendation means a lot to a small, Black business.
- Speak up. It’s no secret that Black people spend billions each year in retail, but Black businesses have less than 15% of shelf space in retail stores. You can sign this petition if you believe that more Black businesses should have their products in major retailers.
These are just a few ways that you can support Black businesses and communities. The more money that goes into these businesses, the more job opportunities will be available. With an increase in opportunity, we can see a positive change in our communities and give Black people hope for a better way of life. You can support A Few Wood Men, a Black-Owned Business by purchasing a gift card, gifting a watch, and by leaving a review.
Written by Rachelle Carruthers