Is It Really About Race? Part III


Ann Coulter

Jada Pinkett-Smith

Wicked Wisdom

Phillip Thomas Duck

Alisha Yvonne

Laura Schlessinger

Dr. Frederick K.C. Price

James Patterson

Eric Jerome Dickey

Jackie Collins

L.A. Banks

Brandon Massey

Kendra Norman-Bellamy

To stake our claim in America, African Americans must support one another. That means we must patronize each otherís businesses and when weíve been treated well, let it be known that a particular African American business is doing it right.

Unfortunately, the above doesnít happen nearly as often as it should. Recently, an African American businessman told me that black folk always want some sort of special deal. Rarely do they want to pay the asking price for goods and services. Yet, when they patronize a white owned and operated enterprise, very little haggling is done. They pay the asking price, collect their newly purchased items, and proudly saunter out of the establishment.

There are at least two schools of thought on why this occurs. Both have a certain measure of veracity. One reason why African Americans want special deals is that they believe that since we are of the same hue, it is the proprietorís duty to cut them a break. The problem with this sort of thinking is that itís short sighted. Many customers donít realize that the black businessman often has to pay more for the goods that he is attempting to sell his customer.

McDonaldís, Wendyís, Taco Bell, and Burger King are all well established franchises that will get a substantial break from the businesses they buy potatoes from because they probably order by the ton. But a small restaurant doesnít have the same numbers and do not wield the economic power to command the same prices. This makes it difficult to offer potential customers the discounts they want.

Another reason is that many African Americans believe that if a black man is running the show, it must be an inferior product. And if itís inferior, why should they pay the asking price? My question is this: Why would you pay anybody anything for what you believe to be inferior? Perhaps itís because black folk, for far too long, have accepted and expected things like poor craftsmanship, poor communication skills, and tardiness as the norm.

For example, there are three fast food restaurants in Toledo that you couldnít pay me to frequent. If you live in the Toledo area, you know which three Iím referring to. Toledo area visitors may be experiencing the same problems in their hometowns. I was in Durham, NC and Washington, DC in the last year or so, and the same franchise was run with the same kind of people. Nasty attitudes must be a prerequisite.

It saddens me that we as a people have gotten to the point that we accept any kind of treatment from African Americans who happen to own businesses. But at the same time, if we went into a white establishment and received the same treatment we received at a black owned and operated establishment, black folk would raise hell and wouldnít care how obnoxious they look in the process.

What baffles me is that if you wonít accept poor treatment from whites, why would you accept it from blacks? Someone might argue that I already stated that African Americans must support each other. True, but not to the detriment of the community.

What does it say to the young potential entrepreneur who sees his mother or his father accept stale food from a vender that should have thrown away the food a day or two ago? It says thatís how things are. Just accept it. Itís the black manís lot in life. Well, I say no! A thousand times no! I say stop patronizing any place of business, be it black or white, that treats you like you owe them your hard earned dollars. And if they go under, let them go under. Until we say no, they wonít bother to get rid of the young girl with the haughty attitude at the cash register.

A friend of mine told me that she had hired a man to do some work in her house. The man promised to arrive at 1O AM. He arrived at 5 PM. When she told me, I shook my head and asked, ďIs he black?Ē Whatís worse is, this man never even bother to call and say he would be late and why.

A person working for IBM, Chrysler, or just about any other company would not be allowed to arrive for work at their convenience. If the same gentlemen tried that at a privately owned company, heíd more than likely lose his job and rightly so.

What troubles me is, either he doesnít know the proper protocol when one realizes he canít keep a commitment, or heís just flat out brazen. Either way, he evidently saw nothing wrong with his lack of professionalism. And if he saw nothing wrong with his behavior, he has no incentive to change it.

December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger and sparked a boycott. Ms. Parks was tired of having to work hard all day and accept second class citizenship. Forty-seven years later, African Americans are accepting the same kind of treatment, not from white folk, but from black folk. Every time we accept less than the best from a black owned, black operated business, we contribute significantly to much of what we see in African American neighborhoods. The drugs, the violence, the teenage pregnancy. All of it.

While I am a staunch believer and supporter of black enterprise, I will no longer accept less than the best from black business owners. Neither should you. Itís about respect. The kind of respect that some black business owners neither have for me, nor other black consumers.

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