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Companies Ignoring Black Dollars Do So At Own Peril
3/26/2014 4:32:25 PM

By Asika Muhammad

It’s an old refrain: If we were comparing world economics, the combined buying power of Black people in America--$1.1 trillion (with a”t”) ---would be equal to the 16th richest nation in the world.

A recent study by Nielsen Company predicts that Black buying power will hit that $1.1 trillion number in 2015. “ The Black population is young hip and highly influential. We are growing 64 percent faster than the general market,” says Cheryl Pearson McNeil, a senior vice president at Nielsen.

The most frequent response to the statistics about collective Black buying power is a complaint that major companies don’t spend enough money with Black tradesmen in order to get Black folks to spend that money with their companies. Corporations spend $75 billion a year on advertising but only 3 percent of that is in Black publications, on casting Black actors, and on Black TV and radio stations. Ms. Pearson-McNeil says, if manufacturers ignore the Black demographic, as many big companies do routinely, they do so at their own peril. And yet Blacks have no sovereignty or even control over their “wealth” and the only thing they have to show for their enormous combined riches is a big assortment of “thing” ----cars clothes jewelry, fashion accessories, and some homes.

What’s worse, among the elite Blacks who could be leader by example: and among the organizations which fight to defend our rights in this society now described by thoughtful economists “vulture capitalism,” precious few individuals or groups have plans or even try to educate consumers on how the masses of Black people can acquire true wealth, individually and collectively.

Dr. Jared Ball, a professor at Morgan State University, researched Black buying power. He says that $1.1trillion doesn’t mean everything is great for the Black community. “This Phrase, “buying power, is used as a glossy euphemism for Black Poverty being the fault of Black spending habits, as opposed to a pre-determined need in our economic model.”

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