Protests Won’t Help, Empowering and Promoting Black-Owned Businesses to Fight Systemic Racism Will.

As the United States, Canada and Europe continue to see large-scale protests against police brutality and systemic racism, it appears that bridging the racial divide gap will require significant actions and resolutions. Unfortunately, what we have seen so far are protests and strong calls for changes to the policing system in order to prevent loss of lives like that of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or the countless other Black folks who unjustly died.

Discrimation & Stigma

While these requests are legitimate and should absolutely be considered, they will not be very helpful in the long run. Indeed, the issue with systemic racism is that it is present at every level of the system. (Employment, Healthcare, Economy, Law ect,,), Everywhere they go, Black people experience the inconscient and very often times conscient bias towards their community. Stigma, Discrimination, Poor treatment and more

Black people are far more likely than any other group to be sick, unemployed, and mistreated in normal economic circumstances and especially during a pandemic such as COVID-19. A report made available by the US Federal Reserve, shows that more than half of companies that have black owners were turned down for loans, a rate twice as high as white business owners.

So far, black people protests are trending on social media and everyone seems interested. Canada’s Premier Justin Trudeau is taking a Knee, Governor Andrew Cuomo supports a bill to make reporting false crimes a hate crime when racial, ethic, sexual or certain other factors are involved , high profile companies such as Amazon are issuing statements about the ‘inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people’ and all-over the web, there are pushes to shop Black and providing more opportunities to platforms like Boutique Africaine and WeBuyBlack that collate Small businesses, Artisans and Designers into one centralized marketplace to help promote African Inspired and Black Creations.

All these initiatives are to be applauded but what happens when the hashtags stop trending, the protests stop attracting crowds, and the Facebook walls return to basketball, celebrity gossip and reality show comments? Many people fear that, after the media cycle of the George Floyd protests expire, worldwide interest in fixing a broken system will disappear as well. That is why long-lasting decisions must be taken when all eyes are on the Black community and when black people issues are gaining momentum.

Fixing the system

Fixing staggering unemployment rates. poverty, prejudice, and underinvestment in Black businesses, requires a concrete and immediate involvement of government agencies and banks to provide economic empowerment of the black community.

Providing Black business owners a short-term economic advantage and facilitating their delivery of services could help stem the massive economic breach caused by decades of step backs, injustices and help save the growing number of African American business that have to shutdown (more than 40 percent in the US ) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

When you hear that even algorithms are bias  (a simple “poor people” keyword search in Google will prove my point) , one begins to realise that only deliberate actions towards increasing the proportion of Black-created businesses, products, hospitals or restaurants will help make a real change.

Black people are in dire need of a change for the better. Systematically encouraging the consumption of Black-created content and products, allowing Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs to get a competitive advantage in the market is by far the best way to assist this community.

There is also no compelling reason to believe that these adjustments would harm consumers. A recent Brookings study found that minority-owned businesses are rated just as highly on Yelp as white-owned businesses. However, these minority-owned businesses grow more slowly and gain less traction than their white-owned counterparts — resulting in an annual loss of $3.9 billion across all Black businesses.

Nothing can undo the losses of lives, past racial prejudice, or slavery but we can demand accountability and action, both from our political leaders and from big businesses who structure our economies. We can do our best to enforce an economic equality for back people — something that has been denied for far too long.

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