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The Journey Toward Freedom in the Land of The “Almost” Free

For my second blog, I had planned to write a comparison of two local brands and how one of them won out and ousted the other from the Atlanta market altogether. Well, that topic will have to wait! With everything going on and our world in a state of chaos, I couldn’t bring my self to finish that blog, let alone publish it right now.

I am angry. I am tired and I sometimes feel hopeless about the sheer evil and willing ignorance that characterizes America. In my hopelessness, I shed tears of fear for my father, husband, nephew, and countless other black and brown people that I love.

I am so tired of crying when the news announces that yet another black man or woman was murdered at the hands of racists white people for no reason, adding to the rapidly growing list of #sayhis/hername.

In the midst of all the protests going on this weekend across the world, I read a statistic from the Brookings Institute in 2018 that asserted that the U.S. will become “minority white” in 2045. That’s only 25 short years from now.

FEAR and CONTEMPT! That’s the reason why these hate-mongers project their insecurities on us. They’re so hell-bent on dehumanizing us, killing us and putting us in their privately owned prisons because they fear that when we become the majority we will take away their wealth, influence, power - and oh yes lest we not forget the purity of their race.

Did you know:

  • The typical black family in America has one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family—and that gap has been widening since 2004.

  • Closing the racial wealth gap of African Americans would add $1.5 trillion to the entire U.S. economy, according to a report from McKinsey. However, local and federal policies have deliberately worked to keep us from attaining this wealth.

  • African Americans have an estimated $1.3 trillion in purchasing power as of 2018. That’s buying power that’s on par with many countries’ gross domestic products (GDP).

Unfortunately, we don’t use our wealth wisely because studies show that we outpace spending nationally, relative to other ethnic groups. In fact, Nielsen reports that African Americans like to spend lavishly at high-end department stores, with 63 percent of Black folks saying in a survey they like to buy from Saks Fifth Avenue, 45 percent at Neiman Marcus (45%) and 24 percent at Bloomingdales.

In case you weren’t aware, these stores don’t typically carry brands created by African Americans and we are not their target audience. Just look at their advertising.

In shopping at these stores and buying these brands, have you ever stopped to question how they value you as a buyer? Or, how many of them have black and brown marketers at the table coaching them on how to appropriately advertise their products to all of their buyers – not just one segment of their buyer population?

The journey to freedom in the land of the “almost” free is paved with two stones – ECONOMICS and POLITICS. That means controlling how you direct your DOLLARS and your VOTE. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things too and enjoy shopping in these stores, but knowingly spending money with brands that condone blatant racism in their advertising just to sell their products is an issue for me - and should be for you too!

Imagine how much financially better off we would collectively be if we re-directed even a portion of our billion-dollar purchasing power toward brands by black and brown people – brands that are actually made with us in mind. Brands that embrace who we are authentically and show the best in us. They do exist and are very easy to find via social media.

Redirecting our dollars from majority establishments to our community won’t necessarily make any of these terrorists suddenly turn from their racist ways and start to like us, BUT when we know how to leverage our wealth and our right to vote to control the political and economic outcomes that support our agenda, we will at the very least command an enhanced level of respect – like not seeing our brothers and sisters on the news being assassinated solely for the color of their skin.

Don’t waste this crisis. NOW is the time to ACT!

1. The polls are open. Don’t walk, RUN to go vote!

2. Educate yourself on money and give more focus on building wealth.

3. Direct more of your purchasing power towards brands - luxury and otherwise - that value you as a consumer and that has demonstrated in words and other actions that your dollars matter to them.

We will emerge stronger after the storm!


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