I was scrolling through my timeline yesterday, and came across a scathing review of a professional in the KC metro area. I had absolutely no problem with this review. (Several people co-signed the review in the comments.) I did however, have a problem with my fellow alum’s post in general, because he (and others in the thread)used it as a justification as to why he didn’t support black businesses.
I have a problem with this rhetoric on any occasion, but during Kwanzaa, it is especially reprehensible. For those of you unfamiliar with the 50-year old celebration, it is observed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. During the celebration, we celebrate the resilience of Black Americans. We celebrate our culture, and we talk about seven principles that have historically helped to propel is forward. This brother’s post was a violation of darn near all of them.
I am all for free speech, and I absolutely feel that said professional ought to be held accountable for her lackluster service. However, just because one black-owned business is poorly run, does not mean we should not patronize other businesses run and owned by black people.
Surely, we’ve all experienced poor customer service at some establishment or another. For instance, i can’t tell you the last time a fast food restaurant has gotten my order right. And yet, I still run through a drive-thru restaurant about once a week. (I plan to stop that in 2017.)
I digress. If my former classmate (and others) had a bad experience, he (and)they have every right to complain, and to publicize their complaints, but to disparage black business owners who had absolutely nothing to do with this transaction is detrimental to an entire community.
This year, I purposely sought out a couple of budding African-American entrepreneurs. Not only was I pleased with the products I ordered, but both businesses provided excellent customer service.
These young business owners represent a hopeful future for (Black) America, and I am proud to support them. That’s the narrative we should be pushing.
Pastor Rick Warren says the local church is the hope of the world. I believe that small business is the hope of our communities. Let’s do what we can to support them.
Today’s Kwanzaa principle is collective work and responsibility. It is our job to build in our own communities. Tomorrow’s principle is cooperative economics. Go out and spend a few dollars with someone who is doing just that.
For more info check out you local black chamber of commerce and http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org