By Ronda Watson Barber
Black businesses matter! This theme has been the focus for OhioMBE since I first began to publish in 2009. I strongly believe that strong vibrant Black businesses are vital to our community. Most Black business owners hire other Black people. Black businesses support community charities and issues. It is important that Black owned businesses thrive and succeed. Our children need positive role models. Our children need to see Black businesses that are self-sufficient and empowering our society.
The Columbus Dispatch recently dissed Black businesses and our ability to perform in an editorial. In my opinion, their comments were racist. White companies make mistakes and are given opportunities time after time. White folks set-up shell companies to abuse and cheat minority inclusion programs, usually without penalty. The reality is white companies are given special treatment government contracting. The recent disparity study commission by the City of Columbus indicates that Black-owned companies in Central Ohio have been denied opportunities within the city’s purchasing scheme.
When given the opportunity, Black owned businesses can perform and excelling. Heck, Black folks have been inventing, building, and creating since we arrived in America. Black folks who were legally prohibited from learning to read and write constructed some of America’s most well-known landmarks. Our enslaved kin built The White House, The U.S. Capitol Building, The Smithsonian Institution, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina, Harvard Law School, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Black business matters! Our dollars and votes have power. The Dispatch can make outrageous claims about our businesses. So what. We already know how white folks think about us. What are YOU doing to promote and uplift Black businesses and our community? Does your Black business buy products or services from other Black businesses? Are you encouraging your employer to purchase goods and services from Black owned businesses? Does your church buy products or services from Black businesses? Does your sorority or fraternity buy products or services from Black businesses? If the answer is no. Why?
These are troubling times. We must stick together. It appears Black owned businesses have no friends in current federal administration. Marcus Garvey said it best, “Be Black. Buy Black. Think Black and everything else will take care of itself. “
Just my thoughts…rwb
To the litigious: The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791. The Constitution applies to Black people too. The views expressed in OhioMBE and the media outlets of The 912 Group are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions of The 912 Group, the editor, publisher, our staff or our advertisers.
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