Social media has given us the opportunity to gather, debate, and share opinions. Sometimes we’re able to find a nice echo chamber where everyone participates in group think, and other times we’re able to see just who we want to stay away from. Mostly we see that what people POST isn’t how they live. But a topic that’s always coming up on black social media is black support of black business. 

Now there are many groups that have formed with the sole purpose of supporting black business. And these groups are VERY necessary. Here in New Orleans, it’s been proven that blacks have a harder time opening new businesses and an even harder time keeping them open. As the nation’s inner cities are gentrified throughout the country, blacks find themselves forced out of their natural habitat and spread like seeds in the wind to the suburbs. We know all the social obstacles blacks face in America, so no need for a history lesson, but that’s just the point of this blog. Because we know how much harder it is for blacks to start businesses, shouldn’t we grade on a curve when supporting these businesses?

I was scrolling through The Feeds last week and there were several posts by black people sharing videos of bad experiences in a black business calling for the entire black community, and it’s allies, to boycott the business. Most of them were restaurants, and one was a new establishment here in my area.

Was the service poor? Yes. 

Did the customer deserve better? Yes.

But I’m really at the point where {And this will sound bad but stay with me} I don’t go into black businesses expecting the best customer service. And by what benchmark are we judging bad customer service? How we’re treated by these racist whites that don’t want us there anyway. I’ve seen blacks driven out of business by one bad video when it could have been an opportunity to show the business owner the treatment his clientele deserves. I feel like we’re too ready to quit on each other, but we’ll take all the shit whites throw at us. 

I also feel like many blacks use “bad customer service” as an excuse to NOT support blacks they don’t particularly like. The black community is very relationship based. We all know this. We can get on social media and pretend like we love ALL blacks, but the truth is most only like THEIR friends and anyone outside of that circle is an enemy. So it’s easy for us to sabotage each other and say “I went to that place and they didn’t treat me like I deserve, and since I personally know the people {or know OF them} then I have a new mission to educate people on why they shouldn’t like them either.”

Meanwhile blacks can get called a “nigger” at their favorite restaurant, internalize it, stop going a few weeks, and then go right back to eating there the next time one of their bougie friends wants to “have drinks.”

At this point it would take more than bad customer service for me to say “That man doesn’t deserve a livelihood or a means to feed his children.”.  In fact, I find it quite cruel to sabotage someone’s dream like that because you may have caught a black man on a bad day, or a black woman dealing with some shyt at home that she doesn’t even know how to process.

Being a waiter for years I can also assure you that the next time you want to destroy a black business off ONE person’s bad experience…you should ask yourself what it must be like to serve a crowd of black people all day. 

We’re all damaged, hurt, and maneuvering through this White World everyday. I never wonder why a black person isn’t smiling and skipping through life like a Pollyanna everyday. Unlike MOST of his white counterparts, they aren’t starting these businesses with an inheritance or daddy’s money. If they’ve already done the hard part, why not give feedback on how to make their business better? Because we all know we aren’t going to boycott all these white corporations that make racist ads past the time it’s trending on Facebook!

I think it’s a growing process, and I do understand some of our service sucks, but their’s sucks, too, and whites will still sing each other’s praises. Conditional unity is getting us nowhere. And these snobby gatekeepers walking into businesses expecting their asses kissed might be a bigger part of the problem than they are letting on. 

It’s just my interpretation of the situation.

What’s yours?

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