One statistic we don’t hear enough is that Black consumers spend more than $1 trillion per year, which means Black dollars matter more than ever. In the last few months, we’ve seen people of all races take to the streets of every major city in America and across the globe to protest injustice in policing and other forms of systemic racism. Yet not everyone is called to be a body on the street. Some people are led to another form of protesting, and it’s with their Black dollars.
Here are five ways to ensure your Black dollars speak volumes:
Buy Black. Supporting Black-owned businesses may seem like a no-brainer, but when most of us are making shopping decisions based on convenience, we don’t stop to consider where our dollars are actually being invested. That’s why even the Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, made it a point to highlight Black-owned businesses in conjunction with the Juneteenth release of her latest song, Black Parade. By shopping Black, you’re more likely to be supporting an entity that employs Black people and invests in Black causes.
Support Black Allies. When we’re not intentional about how and where we’re investing our dollars, we may unknowingly be funding corporations that don’t respect Black customers, ensure fair wages to Black employees or reinvest in Black communities and causes. Look for organizations that are invested in supporting Black individuals and families. In the last several weeks we’ve witnessed numerous corporations coming forward with “Black Lives Matter” tweets, but it’s important to look at the track record of the brands we’ve made wealthy. Do they have any particular initiatives to help the advancement of Black communities? Is there representation up and down the ladder of their workforce? Let’s remember to invest in companies that are intentional about investing in us.
Shop Local. One way to ensure that you understand who is behind your daily necessities is to resist the urge to buy everything online, and instead seek out local businesses to supply your needs. When you shop local, you’re building relationships that strengthen your own neighborhood, which in turn gives you more power and influence. Some studies suggest that when consumers buy local, more of that money stays in the community (as opposed to national competitors who may get their supplies from corporate headquarters or outsource).
Additionally, shopping local ensures that your sales tax goes back to your community. Sales tax is used to pay for state and local budget items like schools, roads and bridges, public parks, and fire departments. When you shop locally, you ensure that your Black neighborhood has a greater opportunity to get the funds needed to make positive changes.
Black Out Days. This is not about posting black squares on Instagram. These black out days are deeper than that. To achieve economic solidarity, organizers have been calling for periods of time when Black consumers buy absolutely nothing to show just how serious Black spending power actually is. Imagine one day in America when the country’s nearly 50 million Black citizens don’t spend one dollar. The impact would be astounding – which is why this is so necessary.
Now imagine the collective power of unifying for a week. Or the entire month (Black History Month)? Or a full year of only buying Black? Our power would be undeniable if even a fraction of us participated. Stay in the know by following sites like blackoutday.org.
Invest in Financial Education. Let’s be clear. Investing isn’t always about money. For most people it begins with an investment of time committed to acknowledging what we don’t know. A willingness to search for personal finance education by us, for us is the key.
This doesn’t have to be intimidating. Instagram accounts like @elevatemoney, a collective of Black financial thought leaders who amplify the voices of those fighting for financial equality, make sure that it’s not. Whether you’re looking to learn more about home ownership, debt elimination, life insurance or investing, there are resources that speak your language and want to support you.
We all get to do our part to fight injustice in our society. Understanding the significant role your spending habits play makes you more powerful than ever. Never forget that #BlackDollarsMatter and commit to support the movement in the way that feels best for you.
Written by: Patrice Washington
This post is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netspend. The opinions and text are all mine. Patrice Washington is the host of the Redefining Wealth Podcast, follow her on Instagram at @SeekWisdomPCW