black economic history

Dr Boyce Watkins: When your relative starts a business, show that you have their back

Dr Boyce Watkins: When your relative starts a business, show that you have their back


by  Dr Boyce Watkins

I was thinking about this the other day and thought I would share. A friend of mine started her own business this year, taking the plunge and leaving her corporate job for what she hoped would be a better life.

To say the least, she was absolutely MORTIFIED about the decision and worried about whether or not she was going to be able to pay her bills, now that she was no longer able to rely on a steady paycheck.
When her family found out about her big move, they were worried, but happy for her.  “Good luck girl!” her sister said.  “We’ll be praying for you,” she heard on a regular basis.  Everyone seemed to have supportive words, but they were still spending their money elsewhere.
What concerned me about what I was seeing is that despite the fact that this woman had relatives who were seeking to be supportive, they didn’t realize that the best thing they could do for her was to BUY SOMETHING from her business.
Starting a small business is very difficult for black people:  Our companies are underfunded, they lack distribution, it’s hard to get inventory, and many families don’t have entrepreneurship in their culture.  People understand and celebrate when you get a new job, but think you’ve lost your mind when you decide to start your own business.
But guess what?  No matter how many years we toil for corporate America, we can NEVER leave that job to our children.  Therefore, we must learn to build something of our own.
Black entrepreneurs are the Harriet Tubmans of our community and we should be proud when someone in our family takes the plunge to create jobs in black America.  We should also support them by purchasing at least one of their products, even if we aren’t going to use it.
So, when I see a friend who is selling a book, I rarely let them give me a copy for free.  Instead, I offer to pay for it.  If their service is expensive, I at least offer to pay half price and meet them part of the way.  The fact is that they have bils to pay too, and we aren’t showing our support for a loved one by asking them to give us charity during their most economically vulnerable moment.
The bottom line here is very simple: When your loved ones are out in the world seeking to survive, you can best show your love and support by helping them to get off the ground.  Stop giving your money to strangers who rarely employ black people, aim for black-owned businesses instead.
Buying black always starts at home.
Dr Boyce Watkins

black economic history

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