I happen to sell True Laundry Detergent and I love it. One of the frustrating things, however, is the occasional customer that discriminates against me. That is, they treat me differently than they do Tide or other brands. For example, I was recently asked by a potential customer, “Did you work with a dermatologist when you all created the product?” After our (polite) conversation and his purchase I decided to ask him, “Hey, just out of curiosity, have you ever asked that question before buying a detergent product before?” He thought for a while and gave me a puzzling look before admitting, “You know what, I honestly have never thought to ask that question before.” Exactly.
Black entrepreneurs can and actually do the impossible every single day. Despite not having the same access to capital, (often) credit or the same support networks of others, millions of Black owned businesses exist in this country. Doing business while Black requires not only competency in your craft but also, an entirely different skill set that most others don’t need — the ability to still smile while being asked to prove yourself at every moment, simply because you are Black. We expect it from the rest of the world but it would be nice if we didn’t have to use that skill when doing business with our own people. We just want to be treated fairly, by Black people.
Being treated fairly doesn’t mean we’d like to be given “a pass” or automatically rewarded with your business by virtue of our color. It simply means that we’d like to be treated the same as everyone else. Being treated fairly means we are not held to standards that others are not. Being treated fairly means we are not pre-judged, discriminated against or dismissed — all things that happen daily, even at the hands of Black consumers. Being treated fairly means that you ask the same questions to us that you would another business — no more and no less. Black people have shown the world over and over that when the playing field is even, we can compete and win. All we ask is that we all do our part to make sure the field is just that.