To the editors:
I found the article "The Color of Money" by Grant Pick from the April 6, 1990 edition of the Reader to be of great interest. The topic of the article was the increasing popularity of blacks buying from black owned businesses. While this idea dates back to the days of Martin Luther King, the article puts the idea in a new light, one of renewed hope in eventual total equality.
The guiding force behind the article is Nahaz Rogers. He shows by example the way blacks should place their power as a consumer in businesses which are fundamentally controlled by blacks. The support and encouragement of black business as suggested by Mr. Nahaz Rogers would be beneficial to the black community as a whole.
In the past years, black neighborhoods have become synonymous with poverty and deserted buildings. By starting and supporting businesses in these areas, blacks are helping to raise the standard of living for the community as a whole. For example in the area of the southside of Chicago where the Howard train runs, there are rows of boarded up businesses. Most of which at one time or other housed businesses which have since gone under. If these businesses had been continually supported, the money spent there would have gone back into the community. George Riddick uses the Asian community as an example of how this works. He states "a dollar will circulate 17 times in a tight-knit Asian neighborhood before exiting."
The implementation of businesses within a neighborhood also encourages people to take pride in their race. The level of heroes moves from a national to more local level. The local success stories of people making it without the help of whites takes precedence over the far removed blacks seen on television who conform to white ideals. One example of these folk heroes is talked about in the article. Nate Parker is a very successful black businessman. He is the owner of a clothing store called Kham & Nate's which caters to black customers.
Finally the presence of black businesses allows blacks to have a common culture which has long been denied them. In the way Chinatown has concentrated Asian Culture, as black businesses grow and spread into black neighborhoods, a similar thing would happen.
Because of all the wonderful benefits the black community stands to inherit from the practice of supporting these small black businesses, I can only predict that this issue will continue to gain in popularity. Thank you for printing such an insightful and timely article. I especially want to commend Mr. Nahaz Rogers and others like him for their dedication and conviction to this cause. We should all practice what it is we preach.