Why we should all support Black Pound Day

Black Pound Day promotes spending with black businesses. And everyone, including non-blacks, should get behind it

Black Pound Day is a powerful initiative created by artist and DJ, Swiss. It encourages a monthly day of spending in the black community and the championing of black owned businesses. Yet the drivers for Black Pound Day, and why it’s necessary, need to be realised to understand why it’s so important.

When we consider the tools of oppression against a community, capitalism is often one of the most effective vehicles in achieving that. Denying financial freedom and self sufficiency to a community, while consolidating the economic strength within a ruling class, has been an effective means of leveraging control throughout history. For the black diaspora, this has been a common tale.

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If the power of economic freedom for the black community was ever doubted, one only has to look at Black Wall Street and its fate via the Tulsa race riot in 1921.

Black Wall Street was a self reliant and self contained black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It included banks, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, cinemas and all the other amenities that a community requires. Consequently, the community was a bastion of black economic success.

Alas, that wasn’t acceptable for segregation era America. In 1921, after heightened racial tension from white supremacists, the Tulsa race riot saw Black Wall Street destroyed in a land and air attack. It’s a useful reminder as to why economic independence within the black community has historically been feared, obstructed and resisted.

Creating a reliance upon businesses outside of one’s community has a damaging effect. As you venture outside of your community for necessary and desirable products and services, you take your cash with you. This becomes perpetual; shortly after entering the black community, the ‘black pound’ is already en route to communities other than our own.

This facilitates wealth for everyone but us. It exacerbates the racial wealth gap as an enduring legacy of systemic and historic racism. It also has a damaging byproduct of failing to celebrate and champion the products, services and businesses in our own community. Moreover, if we don’t champion businesses in our community, why will others?

Our support serves as an opportunity to promote black business while attracting commerce to our community. Indeed, buying black isn’t just for black people. I want people from other communities to buy from black businesses as they embrace and share our culture.

Supporting black businesses needn’t be regarded as protectionism but it does of course advance black economic progress. Rather, it works towards leveling the economic playing field where the black community has seen such abject inequality. This has been in tandem with the racial and social inequality that has been so debilitating for the black community.

Other minority communities have bolstered their efforts in keeping their cash circulating within their community for as long as possible. And many have done very well at building the economic strength of their communities. Meanwhile, the black pound seems to be fast tracked out of our community at an unmatched pace. Black spending in the UK accounts for £300 billion per year; lamentably, little of that remains in the black community.

Swiss articulated the importance of Black Pound Day as “a self rewarding system where you can see the fruits of your labour over the long term, if it’s committed to by the black community”. Furthermore, in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, where many non-blacks have offered allyship to the black community, Black Pound Day provides an opportunity to tackle the economic inequality that has become a consequence of the status quo. It’s also a great way to embrace black culture while lending your support.

Financial independence in the black community isn’t just about wealth. Within a capitalist system, our socioeconomic status is sadly inextricable from our life chances. It can dictate where our children go to school, and how good those schools are, and the prosperity, health and wellbeing of our community. Supporting black businesses is therefore a step in the march against systemic racism.

Black Pound Day, or calls to buy from black businesses, needn’t be viewed as divisive or an initiative that non-black communities should fear or be threatened by. In a free market economy, there is space for black businesses to operate alongside each other, and alongside non-black owned businesses, on a fair yet competitive footing. However, that footing has been absent for black businesses. Black Pound Day places black businesses into our consciousness as consumers in addressing just that.

Support black businesses on Black Pound Day. Find black businesses in your local area and online. Celebrate and support their products, services and contribution to the wider community and economy. Follow Black Pound Day on social media, share your consumer experience with black businesses and champion the initiative as we make it into a movement.

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