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Tuesday, Nov. 28
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Supporting Black Owned Businesses is trending but will it last?


Recently it’s become a trend  to invest more in minority communities, and companies are following suit. According to the Census Bureau, Black Americans make up 14% of the population and just 6% of retail business owners. Amazon made a new campaign and video stating this same statistic and announcing the launch of their Black Business accelerator. The $150 million pledge will provide support, mentorship and access to the Amazon store by giving $10,000 grants to select participants.  

Instagram wants to amplify Black-owned businesses by having a label on their profile which says Black owned and will help people find your business.Netflix and Pepsi also made their own pledges to Black-owned businesses. 

Since Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 and decades of systemic oppression,  Netflix announced plans to donate $500,000 in grants to Black-owned businesses in Los Angeles. Pepsi announced its plan called PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey which invests $400 million in five years to increase Black representation in their managers, recruitment, bias and partnership with diverse corporations.

This created a lot of conversation as we watched companies follow suit one after another. Some people saw evening the financial playing field as an attack on the white community. 

Righting racism’s systematic effects on minority communities should not offend you, as the white community has profited from this since America’s origin. 

Minorities have been begging for equality, not even equity and have been dismissed.. Even now, white businesses control the market and tend to make enough to distribute and pass down s, according to BLNDED Media. If Black businesses weren’t beneficial for our community and boosting our wealth, Black Wall Street in Tulsa wouldn’t have been burned down. How often do we hear about stories where white mobs have burned down Black businesses? This happened in Bloomington right on IU’s campus.

It was called The Black Market, started by IU graduate student Clarence “Rollo” Turner who worked with other Black students and faculty on campus. They opened a store near Kirkwood Avenue and the store sold books, clothing, records, artwork, and other crafts made by Black people or shipped from Africa. The store was a place to gather, which was special to them. Soon after the store opened Turner and other students started receiving threatening phone calls and an editor of the Indiana Daily Student was visited by the KKK who were upset about the press. 

Early morning December 26th,1968 The Black Market was firebombed and the entire store was destroyed. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a white male throw a burning container through the window and driving away. This event ignited racial tension and on January 10th, 1969 Turner gave a speech declaring that peace between the races were dead and from then on Black students were going to “live by the law of God, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” No violence occurred from the rally but the message was clear.. This event also forced Bloomington to realize racism wasn’t dead in their city and couldn’t be dismissed any longer. Two local men, both KKK members, were ultimately arrested, tried and found guilty of the firebombing.  A third man, a Grand Dragon in the regional KKK, was arrested in the same sweep and was tried on weapons charges.  Although various groups collected enough money to help Turner pay for the loss of goods in his store, the Black Market was never reopened.

We desperately need change and  businesses are taking a step in the right direction. Time will only tell if they stick to their promises. If you want to support a Black owned business, there are plenty of systems that will help you find a business for whatever service you need. Indy Black Owned has a directory spanning multiple industries from IT services, health care and even businesses like food, photography, and legal services. You can also find them  on  Facebook where you can join Black Dolla . Support Black Owned has similar categories and even filters by state.

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