It is a common practice for big companies to bully small companies and startups. To most people, it might not seem like a big deal. Since the start of business, the system has been designed such that those with more money get ahead easily. However, when you look at the fact that this oppression puts pressure on low-income communities, it becomes a sad situation.
Why You Should Support Black Businesses in Oakland
Going down memory lane, Oakland got its fair share of its black population during the great migration. This was sometime around the 19th century when black folks moved in from around the South. This migration resulted in a community of black people with businesses, blue scene clubs, as well as a jazz culture.
On its own, these businesses are a source of pride to many members of the Oakland community irrespective of their skin color. Just like in most low-income communities, the historic residents of Oakland are being forced out of their residence by the day.
The cost of rent for buildings is beginning to skydive, making it impossible for the locals to find affordable homes. Basic commodities, also like coffee, are also getting expensive. The local historic black community is gradually forced to leave while they’re replaced with rich new people.
The truth that we fail to see most times alongside these big companies is that diversity is good for the economy. It builds economic vitality and resilience while promoting productivity and uplifting low-end communities at the same time. A truly green economy sustained over time is one that has an inclusion of all irrespective of who they are.
How To Support Oakland Black Businesses
When you think about how to support Oakland black businesses, it is normal to think of a donation. While you can support black businesses with your donations, there are other ways you can show support without necessarily donating funds. Here are a few of them;
1. Writing Online Reviews
Things are getting very easy by the day, all thanks to the internet and good smartphones. People can get services from the comfort of their homes using a computer or even their phones. It is said that about 84% of Americans are likely to believe online reviews the same way they would accept reviews and recommendations from their friends.
For the black business community in Oakland, leveraging on this could result in better patronage. To start with, most of these businesses now have websites or social media pages that allow you to drop comments on customer satisfaction(testimonials).
For instance, after taking coffee from a black-owned café, you can proceed to write a thoughtful review on their website or social media. You could also do the same for services. After you have had your house painting done by one of the black Oakland painters available, you can go ahead and write a review as well.
In cases where there are no websites or social media platforms, you can write your reviews on Google reviews or Yelp.
2. Try Not to Expect Discounts
It is a usual thing for most people to expect that products from black people should either be cheap or should come with discounts. The highlight of this value bias is seen when we all buy smartphones. We do not question the prices.
Instead, we go-ahead to save up and buy because we believe that the quality and the value of the product are about the same. Unfortunately, many of us go into black-owned stores, expecting that their products or services should be cheaper on the grounds of racial familiarity and value bias.
To show proper support for black-owned businesses, you must see value in their products and be willing to pay for the value just like you would anywhere else. You should understand that black businesses don’t mean low quality. Except given, do not expect a discount or demand for one.
3. Make Good Use of Social Media
Social media has become one of the best advertising platforms for any business since the introduction of Facebook in 2004. Showing your support via social media engagements is the easiest of all the options you have to support black businesses. All you need is a mobile phone or computer, internet connection, and a social media account.
First, you should follow or like the social media accounts of the business you wish to show your support. This would give you access to see what they are posting at any given time. You can easily share with your friends on your page in case of special events when they post them. This will go a long way in advertising the business with people around you.
4. Organize Local Events
Everyone knows that the key to getting more customers in any kind of business is networking. If you are seeking out ways to support black businesses in Oakland, organizing an event would be your best shot at it. While other methods would only help you support one business at once, an event would cut across as many businesses in the environment as possible.
You would need to come up with an idea for a local event that could be in the form of a book signing by local black authors. You could also tailor your events to fall on special black holidays like the Kwanza while making sure that a majority of black business owners around you attend the event.
The big idea here is that you get to bring together vendors and their prospective customers in an atmosphere of fun. As they mingle and network, the customers won’t forget the fun they have and ultimately would call back the vendors whenever they need their services.
It is said that blacks are the most influential consumer demographic in the United States. Even at that, a majority of these black communities still suffer a high rate of unemployment and poverty as opposed to other racial groups. As we all clamor that black lives matter, we must also show support for black businesses knowing that without them black communities may not thrive.