Last week, I shared a meme from The Black Upstart regarding how people often treat black owned businesses:

I couldn’t agree more with that statement. A couple of days later, a viral video (that honestly, I’m not even going to link to because it was toxic) began circulating again where a comedian describes a negative experience with a black-owned business and goes on to discuss why you can’t support black-owned businesses and brands, citing poor customer service and products with subpar quality. Unfortunately, several people agreed with her. I’ll be clear – this mentality is damaging and wrong, point black period.

While I do not believe in patronizing businesses that don’t seem to care about their own product or customers simply because they are black, the narrative that this applies to ALL black-owned businesses is anti-black. When you have a negative experience with a white-owned brand, no one ever mentions the owner’s race in their complaint. In fact, one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had was with Sweet Curls Elixirs on Etsy, which is owned by a white woman. I’ve even been called a bitch by a white brand owner on Twitter. I most definitely posted about my experiences, but race was never a factor.

But it seems that when the owner is black and there is a poor experience, people often say things like, “This is why I don’t support black businesses,” or “I try to support my people but I just can’t because they can’t run businesses.” No, that *specific* business is the issue, not black-owned businesses and owners as a whole. We aren’t all the same and shouldn’t be treated as such.

I buy from black-owned brands at least once a week, and rarely have an issue. Several of my favorite natural hair and makeup brands are black-owned and they have amazing products and customer service. So why the constant bashing? Unfortunately, in society black people often don’t have the privilege of being seen as individuals, and historically we’ve been told that we aren’t good enough. Those damaging ideas trickle down and perpetuate the notion that black-owned businesses aren’t good enough to begin with, and each time we have a bad experience, that concept is reaffirmed.

My ask is that you make a point to laud black-owned businesses when you have a good experience, and if you have a bad one, relay your experience about that business ONLY. Otherwise, you’re just not helping.

Do you make a point to support black-owned businesses?

Elle

Elle is the editor and creative director of the YouTube channel and blog, Quest for the Perfect Curl at www.questfortheperfectcurl.com. Her channel focuses on natural hair, beauty, and fitness. She loves products that smell like dessert, yoga, and glitter. Follow her @qftpc.

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19 Comments on "All Black Owned Businesses Are Not The Same, So Stop Generalizing Your Negative Experiences"

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Attiya

Well I would like to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the shea butter products that I’ve purchased from BLGH and will continue to be a repeat customer! 🙂

Black Girl With Long Hair

Yaaay!!! <3 <3 <3

TWA4now

I grab whatever but I need to support black business more. If we DON’T, who will?

Jewell Singletary

Thank you for this!! I got into a heated debate with some of my older aunties because they are quick to bash black owned businesses. I have to remind them that you can get poor customer service from ALL races. There’s no need to call-out the black ones specifically. Also if we really want to raise the standard of ALL business owners it’s our duty to give constructive feedback to that owner or management staff so that they can learn from it and try to do better.

Toni

I agree with the article, I support my brothers & sisters as much as possible. I am a black business owner, I know the struggle.

Vonnie

Love the article. As I’ve gotten older I’ve made a conscious decision to support and advertise for Black-owned businesses I use. Unfortunately we still have some of our own that are stuck in the matrix.

Alison HILAIRE

Generalizing is rarely a good idea, so obviously, it is a TERRIBLE idea in that case! It perpetuates a bad image of black people in business and destroy the labor of black people who are actually good at entrepreneurship. Just for those out there who are truly amazing black business owners, we have to stop spreading bad stereotypes.

Rhi

This is the realest thing I have ever read! Why don’t we bash and view white businesses and other non black businesses for the poor customer service etc. Most of the businesses we shop at are non black and don’t say you’ve never experienced bad experiences. It’s normal and it’s nothing you associate race with and if you do then you’re a racist and anti – black point black.

Claire

Most celebrities are out of touch, especially the Black ones. We should overgeneralize them and stop supporting them.

Mmmmk

Yes.. We could berate naysayers and go on campaigns to ask people to be nice and fair.. Or.. we could take a note from Asian cultures and eventually produce a consistent work ethic and superior product where that gains attention. This might be better than blanket market pleadings.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Um… Asian culture and superior product? Have you tried some of the Asian-made products marketed to black folk? Superior is… not the term I’d use to describe them.

Mmmmk
Whether credence can be given to inferior made products . Overall Asian culture has developed a strong reputation of excellence in technology, the automobile industry and academics. Mass marketing trough admonishment of consumer experiences, gossips and naysayers seems to be a futile effort that has been an ongoing failed strategy that had one small window of success. The reason is because there is no leverage other than the pleading itself. We should try improving our reputation through excellence over time and placing energy into celebrating those successes. That is all. But perhaps this article is just a vent. If so,… Read more »
Rhi

Asian culture and superior product. LMFAOOOO, have you seen most Asian products? They are dupes and have poor unsafe ingredients. Try again boo

Lynn
I don’t know if you read the full article, but it says we should give credit where due and avoid painting BoBs with a negative brush because of 1 bad experience. I’ve had plenty of bad experience from business of other races besides back. So why is it that when one black person fails to have amazing customer service all black businesses get shamed whereas when a white-owned business or an asian-owned business fails to have amazing customer service, only that particular business gets shamed?The author is saying that the dialogue needs to change so that a bad experience with… Read more »
AG Lea
Supporting BoB, is a must! I have had more good experiences than bad, and I always promote the ones I love, like, or want to try repeatedly. If you don’t like your experience, just don’t recommend them. Simple. No need to bash. If you personally have an issue, that’s your issue. Everyone else may not. And if it’s something unique to you(sizing, allergies, usefulness), you can still promote, make mention that you had personally, had an issue because you ___. And then explain that that particular issue may be unique to you. We gotta support ourselves and build up our… Read more »
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