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Black Businesses Matter

Tanvi Mishra

Posted on July 29, 2020 19:41

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Featuring the lovely A'Lelia Bundles.

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, I decided to take a step back and think about the prominence of Black people in history lessons. Their slavery by North Americans, the Boer war that transpired in South Africa over gold, and the Rwandan genocide, amongst a few other violent events. Slavery, valuables, capital, assets ... these tales were written by those who viewed them as being profitable; not as people who had a voice.

So, to explore this narrative further, I interviewed the great-great granddaughter of Madam C. J. Walker, the world's first female millionaire, and a Black businesswoman, A'Lelia Bundles.

After talking about the naissance of Madam C.J. Walker's hair product business, we discussed the positive expenditure of her wealth; how Madam Walker funded small businesses, donated to multiple charities, started her own organization, and trained and supported thousands of Black women. While her name might not be taught next to Carnegie and Rockefeller's, her contribution will never be erased.

Why are success stories like these so rare? When asked why Black people weren't a prominent part of businesses even today, these are the main points A'Lelia made.

- Black communities are cordoned off in a process called "redlining," and are unable to create wealth because these communities are underfunded and unregulated.
- Banks have regularly refused to provide loans to Black people to begin start ups. As a result, less than 1% of venture capital wealth goes to Black people.
- It is government and banking policies that have destroyed Black communities.


Titus Maccius Plautus' famous quote "It takes money to make money," is an axiom many in the business world are familiar with. And that's because it's completely true. To benefit from wealth-building practices like stocks, bonds, and asset dividends, you need to possess a cache of wealth beforehand.

Not born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Alright, go get a good education and start working in a large corporation to create your cache of wealth. Oh wait, Black people are only half as likely to graduate college as white people. Assuming you beat the odds and get an education, what next? Not only is it harder for you to get a job, you're also going to be paid less.

With unbeatable odds like these, how do we expect Black people to become a part of mainstream business? Don't be fooled; these odds aren't a tragic mistake. The fate of black people isn't accidental or unfortunate. And we have our governments and private financial sectors to blame.

To sum it up, a few words from A'Lelia Bundles. "To those of us who know Black history, we know that structural racism has really worked against African American families in building wealth."

As I write this, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook are in session with Congress, debating their monopolies. Imagine if they collectively invested in Black businesses; that would indeed be a positive expenditure of wealth, and a faint reminder of dear Madam Walker's investments.

Tanvi Mishra

Posted on July 29, 2020 19:41

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Source: WUSA

Politics have no bearing on the words Black Lives Matter.

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