A close friend of mine sent me a post of a jewish leader criticising the black community recently. He implied that the black community do not have strong sense of community and that has resulted in a lack of black businesses, black on black crime, and blaming other races for internal problems.
At first, I was mad. How dare he. A Jewish leader cannot compare the jewish struggle to the black struggle because they are completely different. One group is white and can sometimes assimilate into society whiteout their heritage being known, the other is black and so visibly clear to society. One group is mainly united by religion and heritage, the other is united by colour. One group received reparations for apx 10 years of discrimination and murder, the other received nothing for 400 years of slavery, and the colonisation of the motherland. The two groups aren’t comparable.
However, one thing which cannot be disputed was the lack of support for black business. Both Asians and Jews tend to buy, sell, and hire within their own community.
The black haircare industry was worth $684 million (£446m) in 2012 and is predicted to be worth $761 million (£497m) by 2017. For the amount of money black women spend on their hair each year, it seems absurd that we go into hair shops run by Asians and give them our money for our products. And then we actually ask middle aged asian men for hair advice- as if they actually know whether shea moisturiser or dark and lovely will be best for your hair type.
Nevertheless, there has been an improvement. Black hairdressers, barber shops, and catering services are on the rise at significant rates. However, my only issues are firstly that these businesses tend not to have much competition except for other black businesses doing exactly the same thing, meaning that they are attracting the same market to invest in them, rather than having a variety of different races, classes, and ages.
Secondly, there are different tiers to businesses:
In order to make a real change with the status of black groups in western societies, we must begin building our own businesses within areas outside of services. More black owned law firms, accountancy firms, real estate agents etc will enable institutional changes within society because we will be more integrated into these institutions.
I saw a tweet recently which was criticising black police in America, basically saying that they should not represent a group in society which is inherently racist. But how do we expect change to come about without making a presence? Racist views of individuals are best combatted by working alongside the race they have prejudices against, in order to normalise that race for them. They will get to know them on a personal level and not see them simply as their race and all the stereotypes attached. The increase in black businesses to a competitive level against other businesses will attract a larger market with a more varied demographic to work with them, hence a decrease in racism and increase in the status of black people in society.
By Priscilla McGregor-Kerr