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A winning strategy — how you vote and where you spend

Melvin B. Miller

The effort in red states to restrict Black citizens from voting is the greatest danger now faced by Blacks. Most Americans would prefer to be able to take voting for granted, but everyone understands that if the right to vote is negated, America can no longer claim to be a democracy. This issue is so significant it may seem to be unreasonable to expect Blacks to be concerned about Black corporate CEOs just now.

However, the status of the corporate balance sheet is never far from the thoughts of those in power. As Calvin Coolidge said, “the business of America is business.” The only ones who are ever unconcerned about wealth are those who believe they are impoverished. Continual stories in the press about their poverty have induced Blacks to become disabled by a belief in their powerlessness.

According to the Selig Center of the University of Georgia, which produces an annual report on Black Buying Power — estimated income after taxes — Blacks had $1.4 trillion in buying power in 2019. When one considers that there are twice the number of poor whites than poor Blacks in America, the size of Black buying power is significant.

Some companies are very dependent upon consumer sales. In the past, boycotts have not been very successful. Perhaps the negative aspect has frightened potential supporters away. But the reverse of a boycott has not been substantially tried. How about spending with companies that hire Blacks and support community programs?

One example is Marvin Ellison, the chairman, president and CEO of Lowes Corporation, who is Black. There is no Black with similar authority at Home Depot. Certainly Lowe’s should get Black support for such extraordinary diversity.

Blacks with more limited income can create great financial impact if they act in concert and award supportive companies with their sales dollars.

black business, Black buying power
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