By MARC HARDY
Say it’s Friday, and you just got your check. Consider who you are giving your money to over the next two weeks. You pay your rent or mortgage, probably white. When you pay the note on your Nissan Altima, white. Grocery store trips so you can tell yourself “I got food at home” when you want to eat out. Most likely, white. Because of this, we must be very intentional about keeping our dollars in our community.
It has been long proclaimed that the Black dollar only stays within our community for six hours, as opposed to 19 days in the Jewish community and 28 days in the Asian community. These figures have been traced back to several sources, including the NAACP. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I’m sure it’s not far off, and that’s a problem. This can be attributed to several reasons, including but not limited to: the mental effects of slavery, Black people being labeled as untrustworthy and criminals by the media, and the lack of support for Black businesses that slow their growth and accessibility.
We should try automatically asking ourselves, “Can I buy this from somebody Black?” before we make any purchases. Let’s figure out a plan. First, determine your “why.” Why is it important for you personally to extend that six hours to seven? How would it benefit you? What could it mean for your child to see you prioritize buying Black? How can your friends and family benefit from you buying Black? I encourage you to find a reason that you truly care about. It will motivate you in the moments when it’s easier to spend money elsewhere.
Let’s go back to when you get your check. OK, there are bills that you can’t really change. That’s cool; let’s focus on what we can control. Is there anything you buy semi-regularly that you can find somebody Black who sells it? One-off purchases are always good, but I also urge you to find something that you spend money on at least once or twice a month. Can you replace anything in your skincare routine with a Black-owned business? Cleo’s Bodega Grocery and Cafe provides a wide range of groceries with produce straight from the garden in the back. You can also find a subscription service that’s Black-owned. That way you don’t even have to think about it.
The Black Dolla Facebook group is a great place to find almost anything. Do you need someone to redo your roof? A photographer? Do you need lawn care services? Take the time to find a Black one. Another way to commit is to allocate a certain dollar amount of each check to spend solely at a Black business. What if you dedicated a day of the week to spending money with a Black business? If all of this still seems difficult to execute, think about the children in your life, especially the older ones. Do they have businesses you can invest in? You can circulate the Black dollar and support our next generation at the same time. Once you find what works for you, encourage your workplace to take action, too. A great way is to connect them with CAN I BE REAL Inc. for diversity, equity and inclusion services — a Black-owned nonprofit I founded with Andrew Adeniyi.
In order to improve on those six hours, we have to get creative and build from there. We are the most magical people in the world. We are magical people who constantly turn nothing into something. So we can do this, too. We can circulate the Black dollar for longer than six hours; I know we can. It just takes intentionality. Tupac said, “I won’t guarantee that I’ll change the world, but I will spark the brain that will change the world.” I hope you found at least one out of the 700 words that the Recorder allowed me to share to be inspiring. Let’s make it happen, family.
Marc Hardy is the executive director of a nonprofit he co-founded to inspire people to take tangible action against injustice. He also serves as the diversity, equity and inclusion manager for Merchants Bank of Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.