def # 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Dr. Claude Anderson described the places that we, "Blacks" reside in as neighborhoods at best, and not communities. He actually says as of lately, our neighborhoods are hardly even worthy to be called that, since we no longer operate in the spirit of being neighbors to one another. What we now function as are a collection of hoods.
How friendly we are to one another doesn't matter very much to me, my interest in creating this blog concentrates on the economics, and lack their of in the places that we call home. Their are so many outside elements that contribute to our neighborhoods not functioning as communities, I'll never dispute that reality, but I believe in the mindset of checking yourself first before you allow someone else to check you! With that being said, why aren't their more business owners that look like us that live and operate within our communities?
Most of my thoughts are personal, some of these questions I've asked myself or friends for years, others are those that I have come to learn about from elders such as Dr. Claude Anderson, and others who have passionately been working on behalf of "Black People" for decades. I began asking why don't we have more "Black Owned" businesses in our neighborhoods? Pausing the outside elements, let's deal with the internal one, do we shop with each other? From my observation, growing up in a few neighborhoods, there have been "Black Owned" businesses such as barbershops, some to-go restaurants, like a Harold's Chicken, and maybe even a boutique clothing store or two, that manged to be somewhat successful! Of all the stores that may have been in the neighborhood, they were in the minority, literally!
I revisit the question of do we shop with each other, or do we go down the street to the stranger who prospers among us, but takes their money to their community! The answer quite often is the latter, we shop with the stranger. I can visualize the heads shaking by that answer, but before judging we must ask why? Why not go to the person that you have more in common with for your goods and services, especially when most, if not all other nationalities practice group economics. To be fare to the question, we must examine the business practices of the community member, or the "Black Business Owner." After working to earn the dollars that I am able to spend to get the things I need, does the store that I'd prefer to patronize have the best quality for my dollar? That's a very fare question, and if the answer is no should I still be expected to shop at that particular business?
The next thing to consider is competition, how do I know which barbershop to go to if their are ten in a two block radius! Just recently I've noticed in the non-commercial area that I live in, there are six barber and beauty shops less than a block and a half of proximity from each other. I understand that most barbers and beauticians have their own clients nowadays, but it is still a such thing as walk-ins, which are usually more geared towards the new stylist who's working to build their clientele. It's no wonder that shops close in a short period of time, and or stylist find other hustles to supplement their income.
Lastly, let's consider two elements as to why someone may chose to shop with the stranger over they're brotha, or sistsa! Most of us understand that because your brotha, or sista may be "minority business owners," and when I use the word "minority," I am referring to have one store, or a small business, that they can't afford to offer the discount that a larger business may offer. But, we also know that there is such thing as price gouging! This usually happens when the business owner is doing a poor job managing their finances, and they are using income from the business to live off of before the business has grown. Recently starting my own business, I've learned that all the money that is generated from the business goes right back in, and I must be prepared to do so for however long it takes to grow the business.
The final element to consider is the attitude of the business owners, and employees, or simply stated, customer service. It saddens me to go into an establishment, no matter who the owner is, and to receive poor customer service. Most people use a different description of how poor customer service makes them feel, I understand, but I view a bad attitude in business as a disaster waiting to happen. I understand that everyday a person may not feel at their best, and that every customer is not always right either, but far too many businesses have taken on the idea that the customer is always wrong, at least that's the attitude they portray. Too often, poor customer service seems to be from "Black Owned, Black Managed, or Black Operated Businesses." I cringe pointing my people out this way, but we have to examine ourselves as I stated before.
For the sake of time and space, we'll end it here, and hopefully we'll learn what we can do better as neighborhood patrons, managers and owners in stride to becoming a community....Peace!