The Power of the Black Dollar Part I
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Politics and Activism

The Power of the Black Dollar Part I

In this capitalistic society, we can resist injustice with our money

The Power of the Black Dollar Part I

"If you want to march, march to the nearest African/black owned business and spend your money there!" This quote by historian and professor Dr. Kaba Kamene, is an important reminder of how Black people can adequately protest social inequality/injustice in this day and age. Just a few decades ago, protests and marches were seen as the most effective way to highlight injustices. This was seen through the Civil Rights Movement and the Woman's Suffrage Movement amongst others that took place in America. While these were effective in the past, in today's technological age, these forms of resistance are no longer as effective due to the rapid form of communication through electronics that serve as a distraction to people's attentiveness to one specific issue. When Mike Brown was murdered, there were a few weeks worth of unrest and Instagram posts and then, his story faded into the background. This was the case with Eric Gardner, Trayvon Martin, and countless other Black victims. How can we effectively resist the powers that be and let our concerns be heard in America? Spend your money elsewhere and more specifically, spend your money with black owned businesses.

Although the media in America typically depicts Black people as economically inferior to most other cultural/social groups, we have more economic power than many would think. In fact, this myth was debunked by The Neilsen Company- an American global information and measurement company- with their reports regarding the economics and consumership of different groups in America. According to C. Daniel Baker of " Black Enterprise," “the report’s findings... found that the African American population is an economic force to be reckoned with, with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015.” This is especially important because this statistic represents the highest buying power for any racial group in the country! Furthermore, “the Nielsen report is very encouraging because it shows the African American population is a tremendous financial asset to this country’s economic recovery,” says Calvin Harris, Jr., President & CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants. The real question is, however, what will we as a people do with this power? And for that matter, is this spending power really a power in America? The answer is short and simple: Yes.

The economic buying power that Black people have should not be overlooked for one important reason: the American economy is fueled by the consumer. Since the birth of America, the biggest reason for its early economic success was labor and the consumption/production of goods. In fact, William R. Emmons- reporting for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis- stated that “it is no exaggeration to say that consumer spending was the dominant source of economic growth in the United States during recent decades” and that “consumer spending was a large and increasingly important part of the American economy during the decades preceding the recession and remains so today.” With this knowledge, the power that Black people have is much more significant than what is portrayed. If you have a significant control of money in America, then you have a significant role how the country is run.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a strong correlation between money and power; that includes political power. They stated that: “It should not be surprising that money and power tend to converge.” This is due mostly to the fact that America is ran by economics. In a world where power is directly influenced by money, the best way to improve the status of the Black community in America is to influence society with the buying power that we have as a collective group. This can help to magnify Black influence in social and political matters, because in order for the economy to stay regulated, there must be an appeasement to the largest economic influence in the country- i.e. Black people. This will reflect in social policy, politics, and media, to name a few. The Bureau went on to acknowledge that “capitalism is not just an economic system that places profit above all other concerns; it breeds a culture in which money is the “bottom line” in every transaction….And although not a sufficient condition, money is a necessary condition for winning political elections and is usually the determining factor.”

The realization of power is the beginning of knowledge, and once you know better it is your duty to do better! This is especially true in regards to the Black community in America, as we have one of the most coveted powers in this country: collective economic power! However, we are not using this power well enough. In order to put ourselves in a better social and political standing in America, we must use this power to our advantage. Supporting Black businesses is a way to do this! It is both an effective means of protesting the treatment of Black people in America as well as helping out our social standing in society by controlling and taking advantage of our economic power. In a country where money is power, it is time for Black people to start taking this power!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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