A Closer Look at the Racial Divisions in the US Economy

Thursday, March 01, 2012

In the past couple years, the economy has become the focus of media coverage, politics and national debate. Movements like Occupy Wall Street brought issues of economic disparity and class to the center stage. But where and how does race fit into all this? 

Maggie Anderson, the CEO and cofounder of The Empowerment Experiment, decided in 2009 to only "buy black." In "Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy", which she co-wrote with the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ted Gregory, she outlines the economic disadvantages of black-owned businesses and discusses how race divides the U.S. economy.


Maggie Anderson

Produced by:

Ben Gottlieb and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [2]

J in NYC

Calm down, Ken.

If you think about it, you already know of a story about white people only buying white for a year. In fact, you already know a story about white people only buying white throughout their lives.

When have you ever consciously brought anything from any retailer that was other than white-owned? Most of the goods and services you purchase are primarily from white people.

You're worried about race relations, while the Andersons are concerned with encouraging entrepreneurship in the black community, which you likely do not live.

You are in Boston, right? When's the last time you've been to Roxbury or Dorchester? Have you ever noticed the amount of poverty that's been manifest over the course of generations?

That's the sign of a community that has no ownership of its resources. The result of that is poverty and dependence. Every immigrant group that has ever come to the U.S. made it a point to keep dollars in their communities and even formed enclaves to do it. That prevented a lot of the negativity in those communities that you see among black communities.

If black people decided to invest in themselves and create viable entities that bought, sold, bartered and traded among black people then those tables would be turned. All I'm suggesting is self-help is the best help.

So I can't agree with you when you say that black people picking themselves up economically is an affront to race relations. We've been marching and giving speeches for 60 years, but we still have high rates in every negative statistic in this country.

Maybe it's time to look inward and do it for ourselves, and most importantly: NOT APOLOGIZING FOR IT!

Mar. 01 2012 03:09 PM
Ken from Boston

Never have I been so offended by a story as I was with this one. Imagine if the story were about white person who had written a book about buying only white for a year, or to put it more bluntly, refusing to buy "black". Those responsible for such a story would have been fired. This sort of thing does far more harm than good to race relations. That's not to mention the economic aspect of limiting one's choices of providers of goods and services like this idea does and the so-called "buy American" idea does. Markets serve all better when everyone is able to find the best value for goods and services regardless of race of country of origin.

Mar. 01 2012 12:57 PM

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