I think now is definitely the time for black people to start rebuilding ourselves a stronger economic standing in our own communities through supporting and starting more black owned businesses. Now is a good time because African American’s #BuyingPower is projected to reach 1.1 trillion by 2015 [Black Enterprise HuffPost]. Now is the time because of everything that is happening here in America this 2014 thanksgiving holiday week with the protests, #BlackOutBlackFriday and more urging to support Black biz with #BuyBlackFriday . I think the black communities have been quiet long enough about this, we need to get serious and take action about these things for the sake of our families “thrivival” in America.
Now is the time also because of the recent allowance of qualifying undocumented Immigrants to be allowed to work. Speaking from my own experiences, while living in LA and job hunting I noticed a huge divide in job placements. I noticed a lot of job listings requesting or preferring the candidate to be bilingual in either Spanish or of a particular Asian language dialect. I also noticed on some interviews I was able to acquire that a large majority of the workers was of one particular ethnicity. One experience that sticks out in particular to me was when I went to an interview in a part of the Fashion District.The majority of the wholesale businesses in that area were Asian Owned and mostly all of the men moving/loading boxes for shipment were Latino. With such a striking visual of that I knew that me getting the job was highly unlikely. Incidents/situations/experiences/realities like this makes me think, why are there so few black owned businesses? I can understand cultural differences that would render a person to consider hiring one over the other; because of this realization we black people seriously need to employ ourselves!
One other incident that affected me the most was when I was hired to work at an apparel wholesaler in LA. The owners were Persian (they constantly argued with each other in their language) and all the seamstresses were Mexican. It was a small company and one of the assistants was Mexican, she was always asked by the owners to communicate with the others because they spoke little English. The other woman was White and she was the designer in charge (she was your typical Devil Wears Prada character with a nasty attitude who spoke down to you; but that’s another story). So two weeks into me being there a new person showed up, she was Mexican. Uncomfortable situations began to occur; like there wasn’t an open computer for her to work on so she was allowed to share a computer with me. She and another Mexican girl there began to do the work that I was previously assigned to do (the other girl only spoke Spanish and did not have a degree in design, and I think was being paid far less than me to do the same work). The designer began to intrust her with communications to the seamstresses because she was bilingual. I already intuitively knew what was about to happen. In my mid 20s and a College graduate I should not have had to experience my first layoff. It was horrible, because the owner first tried to make it like it was something wrong with me when it was actually her foul hiring error. I questioned her calmly about every excuse why I didn’t “fit” the position that she obviously saw me fit for because she hired me until she finally gave me the old downsizing excuse. My lady-like, calm, and to-the-point approach did work because she eventually admitted that I was a good worker because I came to work on time every morning and had good work ethics (quoting her she said I was “good people”) but still let me go after less than 3 weeks on the job. Smh.
From that experience alone I know it’s time for some new moves to be made because this is ridiculous. I know there has got to be more stories out there like this that are not being heard. Issues like young Millennials in college debt and unemployment is a huge hindrance. Of course the betterment of our communities will not happen over night but if we all can get on one accord again like I believe we use to we can make things better for ourselves and our future generations like our ancestors did for us. Let us continue the legacy Black People.