JAMES CLINGMAN

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—The Vietnamese control the nail industry; the Koreans control the major distribution channel for Black hair care products; Jewish people control the music industry; the Indians/Pakistanis control a major portion of the hotel/motel industry; and the Chinese control economic enclaves, as do Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, Cubans, Polish, and Irish people. What do Blacks control?

That question opens up a lot of avenues for thought, conversation, and action by Black people. Considering our intellect and creativity, undergirded by our economic resources, it makes sense to me that we should be able to identify some portion of the U.S. economy that we control. Based upon the items and services on which we spend our money there must be some niche that we can control. Rather than seeing an increase in control over things only we purchase, Black folks have witnessed a decrease, about which we have been warned by Black and White business owners over the years.

In 1949, Black beauticians expressed concern that whites were pushing their way into the lucrative beauty shop business.  The following is an excerpt from industry leaders at a national conference:

“The old line beauticians were losing a long-waged battle to keep the $450,000,000 beauty business in tan hands.  The move [is] for non-colored promoters to buy up beauty shops and rent out booths…they have moved into the actual operating end. This year’s convention saw two-thirds of the demonstrators white, or merely having colored to front for them…whatever the blame the fact remains that a highly profitable field is surely and not so slowly being taken out of our hands.”  Source: The History of Black Business in America, by Juliet E.K. Walker, PhD.

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