by Andres Davoren Jr.
The media often portrays Black people in America as aggressors. And we are aggressive—shoppers and spenders—according to a recent study conducted by the Nielsen Company. This year, the report notes, African- American economic power is expected to soar to $1 trillion.
This African-American buying and spending helped lead our country out of the most recent recession. In fact, if the African-American community were its own nation, we would possess the wealth of the 16th largest country in the world through our spending habits, falling just ahead of Spain and Turkey according to the International Monetary Fund.
But what does this dollar power mean for the ethnic group that just 150 years ago was released from slavery and was still battling for our civil rights 50 years ago? And given how much we contribute to the economic success of this nation, why are we still being culturally, physically and spiritually castrated?
We must address and answer these questions and take our power back.
America can’t move ahead without us, especially in the technology sector. The study, conducted by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S., also states that, “…it’s not just their purchasing behavior that’s unique. African-Americans also have distinct digital and mobile behaviors, as they spend 44 percent more time on education and career websites, and 71 percent of blacks own a smartphone, compared with 62 percent for the total U.S.”
The economic potential for the African-American population presents an opportunity for Fortune 500 companies to gain a deeper understanding of this important, flourishing market, which too few take full advantage of.
The marketing and advertisements are just barely sprinkling black families into their massive campaigns nowadays. Thousands of sisters love Gucci, Louis, and Prada and brothers in every community drive BMWs and buy the latest I-phones. The companies, however, ignore our market. Worse, those same brothers and sisters are quickly judged and poked at by society for owning these brands before they even understand their worth.
Only two things matter in this country: money and violence. We are clearly the people that purchase your goods and services, so why not respect us enough to treat us equally, especially in a supposedly “post racist” society. Is it because of insecurity or genuine hatred? Violence is certainly not the answer (to most), so equal respect should be the bare minimum.
We African Americans have to take responsibility and build our communities, too. It’s time for us to become more economically savvy when it comes to using, controlling, and dispersing our buying power. African Americans should develop our own economy. That way more of our goods, talents and services can be dispersed globally and not stuck in the urban jungle. O’ America the beautiful, God may be shedding his grace on thee, because blacks are shining from sea to shining sea.