“Nothin’ but love for you my sister
Might even know how hard it is, no doubt
Bein’ a woman, a black woman at that, no doubt
Shit, in this white man’s world
Sometimes we overlook the fact that we be ridin’ hard on our sisters
We don’t be knowin’ the pain we be causin’
In this white man’s world
In this white man’s world
I ain’t sayin I’m innocent in all this
I’m just sayin’
In this white man’s world
This song is for y’all
For all those times that I messed up or we messed up
Inside this cage where they captured all my rage and violence
In time I learned a few lessons, never fall for riches
Apologizes to my true sisters, far from bitches
Help me raise my Black nation, reparations are due
It’s true, caught up in this world I took advantage of you
So tell the babies how I love them, precious boys and girls
Born black in this white man’s world – and all I heard was
Who, knows what tomorrow brings
In this world, where everyone’s blind?
And where to go, no matter how far I’ll find
To let you know, that you’re not alone”
-White Manz World, by Tupac Shakur
I started this series of posts talking about Black Economic Love-what it means, how to give and get it. In particular, I looked at how Black women collectively suffer from abuse in multiple forms that contribute to a lack of Black Economic Love. Lack of Black Economic Love directly impacts the Black race and Black communities.
Collectively Black women, as the primary wells for uplift and upkeep of the Black community can only be strained for so long. It is through sheer will and an abundance of optimism that keep the wells full enough that others can continue to draw from them.
How long before the wells run dry? How long will solely Black women be expected to creatively and ingeniously fill those wells for everyone else to drink from? How long before they are pushed to conserve and not worry about the thirsty others?
There is a Cheyenne saying that goes something to the effect that “A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then its finished; no matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.” It’s proof that Black women are direct descendants of the most high, that their hearts have never touched the ground, but as actor Jesse Williams so eloquently once said: “Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” The stress and stressors are too much.
The absenteeism of many would-be Black male Black Economic Love providers is not only evident in the Black man’s own struggle for survival on the mean streets, -when they have support of Black women. But, it is particularly glaring when we look at the statistics of Black women’s struggle for survival on the mean streets when they don’t have the support of Black men and in fact some have to be protected from them.
I’ll end this series talking about how Black women must begin to Black Economically Love themselves and be willing if necessary to let non-Black others Black Economically Love them. Collectively, we can no longer be the wells of sustainability without getting a return on our investments of love and other resources. We can no longer offer our resources and give them unselfishly, and become angry when others selfishly take from us without reciprocity.
Women in general are an Economic Resource
According to the 2013 Nielsen consumer report “U.S. Women Control the Purse Strings”, “Fleishman-Hillard Inc. estimates that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history.”
To put that in perspective as it relates to Black men (those which are in positions to be providers) and their wealth, when wealthy Black men marry outside of the race, then die, they are essentially transferring their wealth out of the Black community. Thus, allowing non-Black communities to gain and maintain wealth off the Black man’s back.
A Black man, who quite probably stood on the shoulders of a Black woman and used her financial support in-part, to gain the standing to obtain said wealth. The whole process often sounds very close to the generational wealth gained by Whites through enslavement of Blacks.
Black women collectively can no longer allow loyalty to enslave them to poverty, abuse, neglect and worse-the cost is too high.
The Nielsen report goes on to say: “In addition to handling the bulk of the purchasing decisions for consumer goods in the U.S., they’re [women] also likely to influence or manage many other big ticket purchases—homes, autos, appliances, furniture, etc.—not to mention a large portion of the apparel, groceries and everyday purchases.”
According to a 2012 Business Insider infographic “Over the course of a family’s life, 90% of married women will control its wealth.”
Imagine the huge amount of Green-Blacks going toward sustaining non-Black businesses and non-Black communities. Now, imagine that money going into the Black community instead, and supporting and/or creating Black businesses, Black ingenuity and supporting, uplifting and upkeeping Black communities. Imagine what more Black women married to men who can Black Economically Love them would mean to Black communities.
We only have to look at today’s wealthy White males to understand how the “transference of wealth” works and to whom it works for.
We can look at many a wealthy Black male and see that in large part, his wealth-transference has been or will be to predominantly White communities as well. Not only will their money most likely not be spent in, on or around the Black community while they are alive, they are ensuring that it will never return to Black hands or the Black community again. That’s their business, but…
By transferring wealth out of the Black community, they are essentially transferring political power that comes from economic power. That is, political and economic power used to keep Black men, women and the Black community down in his lifetime and generationally. Not a smart move.
Women of any race are more likely to support their own culture so, money that they earn or otherwise have access to and/or manage the expenditures of, will likely be spent in some part in her native community (the stronger the loyalty-the larger the expenditure). This further ensures that her community has a sustainability channel.
The notion of supporting Black community is especially important for Black women. We know they are the ones that support the arts: go see “Black” movies, “Black” plays, support Black television programming, Black musicians, Black concerts, Black art exhibits, etc. They support Black manufacturers of hair care products (as well as, non-Black manufacturers and non-Black hair care products) as an example.
Everybody’s Economic Resource: “Black Women”
According to Nielsen’s 2013 Report: Resilient, Receptive and Relevant, The African-American Consumer: “While ongoing attention should be paid to Black men as consumers, Black women are an increasingly vital force within the Black community given their gains in education, occupational status, and business ownership. Black women tend to make the majority of the purchasing decisions in their households and may be receptive to marketing messages that acknowledge the dual roles many [Black] women play as mothers and working professionals.” (Author’s note: read majority Single, working mothers)
According to a 2014 Black Enterprise article, “Black women are one of the most powerful consumers because they are three times as likely to be the head of household than any other minority culture,” says Tarra Jackson (also known as Madam Money), a money expert who specializes in economic empowerment. “Marketers should pay attention to African American women because they control over 50% of the annual adult black purchasing and spending power.”
To be “three times as likely to be the head of household than any other minority culture is not a good thing”-in my opinion. Reading between the lines again, shows the lack of spousal support and financial-burden-bearing of too many Black women. To say that they control 50% of the annual budget is also to understand that based on Black women income statistics (see previous post), that budget is far less than those of her White peers and Black males.
Black Women Consciousness and Spending Power
According to the 2013 Nielsen African American report, “Among the key takeaways is the fact that many African American women are greatly influenced by their culture and community. Roughly 62% of black women believe embracing and supporting their culture is important. Furthermore, about 59% feel a strong obligation to support minority businesses.”
As much as Black women stand in solidarity with other communities of color, the solidarity is not equally understood when it comes to the reciprocity of those other “minority businesses”. While Black women support other communities quite readily, those communities don’t support Black communities at the same level (by-the-way, exploiting a community for appropriation is not the same thing as supporting it). There is little reciprocity when it comes to patronizing Black businesses.
Oh, and About that Hair Thing Right Quick
According to Nielsen, “Blacks consistently place a higher emphasis on grooming and beauty categories and at the top of that list is Ethnic Hair and Beauty Aids (HABA), which Blacks purchase nine times more than others. Hair care is serious business in the Black community at all income levels.”
Non-ethnic products that are rebranded with messaging that addresses the uniqueness of Blacks’ hair textures and styles could see a rise in market share currently represented in the Ethnic HABA category.”
Reading between the lines again, essentially the report is saying to hair-care marketers that all that a non-Black hair product manufacturer needs to do to get the Black dollar is to pretend that their product addresses Black hair needs. The product doesn’t have to change its recipe or ingredients to actually address them. They just need to pretend they do by ‘rebranding the messaging’.
Because Black women spend so much time, effort and money on their crowns, we must also be more discerning about who we purchase our hair-care products from.
Using Our Money to Give Ourselves Black Economic Love
According to Nielsen “Since 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, the unemployment rate among African-Americans has averaged 9.9%, almost twice the national average. In the August 2013 unemployment report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate was 13% among Blacks, compared to 7.3% as the national average.
Contrary to popular belief, Blacks’ unemployment today is not significantly different than it has been historically (Author’s note: read, even with a Black president for the last 8 years). In spite of these numbers, Blacks have demonstrated a resiliency in coping with tough economic times.”
(Author’s note: read resiliency is “code” for Blacks will continue to spend even though they can’t afford to.) (Author’s note: read that Black women have suffered in the greatest numbers during “tough economic times”. See previous post on employment and finances)
Black women as a collective are used and abused physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially and it comes from all angles and directions-including from those we Black Economically Love most.
It’s time that as a collective force to be reckoned with-that we are forces to be reckoned with individually as well. We need to discontinue putting our dollars to work for anyone that doesn’t reciprocate.
As we end 2016, and begin what may be another tumultuous year for people of color, the Black collective and particularly Black women, it is imperative that Blacks and those that profess a desire for “equality” and “equity” “for all” assess how we utilize our dollars to bring that about.
- We need to discontinue supporting anyone that doesn’t support us, protect us and uplift us.
- We need to assess who we use our dollars to support and to ensure that we are receiving some return on our investment that we can take to a physical bank or our emotional ones.
- We need to feather our own nests, not give our money to someone who will feather nests in other communities.
- We need to follow our money’s trail to see where it goes. Does the money trail end outside our communities into someone else’s hands to manage and to use to oppress Black women and Black communities? Is our money going toward entities in such a way that we are paying for our own oppression?
Does the money, time and effort that we expend express unconditional Black Economic Love for ourselves?
In 2017, Black women must guard their heart-strings and purse strings. We can’t afford to give out any more free passes because Black Economic Love is rarely, nor freely, nor overly given to us. We pay too high a cost for Black Economic Love to continue to give it away unconditionally.
It’s past time to that Black women’s see a return on their investments in everyone else from everyone else.
Coming soon. Black Love and Black Media