Is Black Pound Day Disrespectful To Other Cultures?

Is Black Pound Day Disrespectful To Other Cultures?

Black Pound Day is a campaign that is held once per month to encourage shoppers to change their typical shopping spots and use online and local Black-owned companies instead on the first Saturday of every month. Spearheaded by the former So Solid Crew member Swiss, this nation campaign has been created as way of supporting Black-owned businesses and raising greater awareness in the community. 

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has swept the world over the past couple of years, and part of committing to this movement involves acknowledging a need to shop from and support Black-owned brands. With a wealth of exciting Black-owned businesses and brands to pick from, it’s never been simpler or better to support the Black economy, yet some people worry that Black Pound Day could be disrespectful to other cultures. Is this really the case?

 

How Is Black Pound Day Changing Consumers’ Habits?

Money means power in the consumer world, so when shoppers consciously make a decision to contribute their income to businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs, they are helping to raise Black communities and shift the power balance in our communities. Most importantly, Black Pound Day is working to significantly alter the cultural landscape of the UK. Collective spending holds power, so when consumers come together to support this initiative, they can make an enormous difference, not only to the businesses that they are buying from, but also to the communities that those businesses are based in.

 

Promoting Inclusivity, Not Division

The entire point of Black Pound Day is to promote inclusivity, not to exacerbate divisions within communities. The campaign was designed as a way of meaningfully altering the shopping habits of people in the UK so that, in turn, Black communities and the Black economy could grow and succeed.

Shopping habits have often been engrained in the UK’s public psyche for generations. Concepts such as “my mother shopped at this store, so I shop there too…” or “this is the brand my family have always used…” die hard in the minds of consumers. Black Pound Day sets out to shake up those old-fashioned ideas and to make shoppers aware that there are other, more varied options out there that they may never have heard of. After all, you can’t buy from a brand or a business that you aren’t aware of. 

The campaign is community-empowering and solution-based, designed to leave a new generation with a far better infrastructure to work with. Since its launch in June 2020, it has already helped to boost awareness and make a noticeable difference to the sales figures of Black-owned businesses.

 

Balancing The Equation

Far from showing disrespect to other cultures, Black Pound Day is simply about levelling the playing field for Black business owners. Studies have shown that only 5% of SMEs in the UK have a person of colour as the owner. Furthermore, entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds are faced with systemic disadvantages, especially when it comes to acquiring business loans, and this means that a Black entrepreneur’s average yearly revenue is around £10,000 less than that of a white business owner. 

The barriers that Black entrepreneurs face contribute to extensive wealth and income gaps between white and Black households in the UK. For the average household led by a British white person, the total figure for wealth is over £300,000. Meanwhile, in the case of a Black Caribbean-led household, the figure stands at just £85,000 and for Black African households the figures are even more dire at just £34,000. It is this type of inequality that Black Pound Day is trying to redress. 

Black-owned companies have found that on each month’s Black Pound Day they get several times their typical sales figures, and while some critics have come back with arguments that the campaign is unBritish and racist, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Black entrepreneurs in the UK are just as British as any other citizen, and sell products that are useful to a wide cross-section of the public, not only those within the Black communities that they traditionally serve. The campaign’s aim isn’t to take business from white-owned organisations but rather to raise awareness of alternatives that consumers didn’t know existed. 

Essentially, it’s about balancing the scales to make the consumer market a fairer one. For customers, it’s all good news. They can discover a huge range of businesses, brands and products that they have never seen before, and broaden their shopping horizons in ways they would never previously have imagined. Far from taking revenue from white-owned businesses, this initiative aims to spread the wealth and encourage the UK’s shoppers to try something new, to shake off the outdated traditions of the past, and look forward to a new and inclusive future where businesses aren’t “Black-owned” or “White-owned” but simply “businesses”, and all can benefit equally from the nation’s spending power.

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