I casually walked into the kitchen early in the morning, determined to start my day on purpose. I turned on the light and turned towards my tea kettle but the mouse beat me to it. The mouse and I were face to face, in a stare-off. I have no desire to live with mice but I don’t want to move, either. Like millions of other Americans, my best hope was to find a good exterminator to help me rectify the mouse problem. I started looking up the typical extermination companies but it hit me — why not a Black owned company?
We spend a lot of money each day on a variety of things. I, personally, go out of my way to spend and buy Black with each purchase. It’s a lifestyle and something I am intentional about. Intentionality is the key here; it takes no effort to support corporations that are not owned by people who look like me. Hundreds of years of white supremacy and anti-Blackness have made that beyond simple but to convert routine, daily purchases into wealth for Black people actually does require more time, effort and patience. So instead of calling Terminix or Orkin, I set some time aside to find a Black owned company to catch the mouse.
I stared with a Google search. I live in a Black neighborhood, on the South Side of Chicago. If there was a Black owned pest control company, it was bound to be located somewhere in my Black neighborhood. Google Maps populated several pest control companies in the area. If the company was a big name I’d heard of, I knew it wasn’t Black owned. I concentrated on the few, smaller companies that showed up on the map. Of those, I searched the website for pictures of the owner. No pictures on any of the sites. So I just picked up the phone and started making calls. Generally, Black owned businesses hire Black people. When Black people answered the phone I just asked them straight up, “Is the company Black owned?” I got a yes on the first call.
Sure, it took a few minutes out of my day and a little effort but I found a Black owned pest control company. A million different companies could have taken care of my problem, for sure. But why hand over my money to just any company when I can spend my dollars with my own people, building up my own neighborhood? For me there is no other choice. The mice are gone and hopefully, I helped a Black entrepreneur provide for his family. I think it worked out pretty well.