“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
― Angela Y. Davis
The last few weeks (and years) have emphasized the disturbing continuation of violence against Black men, women and LGBT+ folx in America. We’re excited to see change happening and inspired by the powerful protests that have been held in all 50 states, making history for the Black Lives Matter movement.
While the broader conversation focuses on rights and safety for Black Americans, as well as a new law enforcement structure, we know that racism is pervasive throughout many levels of society — especially within our economy. There is a significant wealth gap between white and Black Americans, owed to a long history of economic injustice confounded by the contemporary exclusion of Black entrepreneurs from opportunity and funding. In 2015, CB Insights found that only 1% of Venture Capitalist funding reaches minority business owners.
That’s why we’re asking you to consider your shopping habits — are they anti-racist?
Are you supporting Black businesses? Or just avoiding racist ones? Are you reading about race and environmentalism? Or do you subscribe to the majority of content centered on white experiences? Do you consider #whomademyclothes and how the majority of garment workers are women of color?
The country is realizing that it’s not enough to be not racist in America, we must actively work to be anti-racist in order to create lasting change.
So, how can you start?
Every dollar you spend is like voting with your wallet, as they say at B Corp. Where you shop can make a difference, not only by supporting local, minority and women-led businesses, but by indicating to the larger market that consumers care about how their products are made, and by whom.
As a conscious consumer, you’re already on the right track to anti-racist shopping habits. You think about what you buy and its greater impact for people and the planet. It’s time to go the extra mile by shopping from, investing in and sharing info about Black entrepreneurs.
Shop from Black businesses:
Just like how you search for zero-waste products or gifts that give back, you can be conscious about race when you shop. Find Black artists on Etsy or search the Black Business List or Official Black Wall Street for any product category, all supporting Black entrepreneurs.
Courtesy of this amazing list by Brightly, here are a few Black-owned and eco-friendly businesses to fill your closet, pantry and makeup supplies:
- beelove is a social enterprise that creates employment opportunities AND natural body care products, not to mention delicious honey.
- Jade Swim is perfect for your sustainable summer swimsuit search, plus they focus on creating cuts for every body type.
- mented cosmetics makeup is solving the common problem of color exclusivity in major makeup lines.
- Pur-Home products are good for the earth and for cleaning your home!
- AAKS celebrates African style with handcrafted bags.
Buy (& read) anti-racist books by Black authors:
A huge part of practicing anti-racist habits is to learn about how systemic and cyclical racism saturates our society. There is a rich body of literature from Black academics and journalists waiting for your digestion.
Here’s an anti-racist reading list from The New York Times.
Want to teach your kids how to be anti-racist? Good, the work starts early. Here’s another reading list especially for them, from Insider.
Follow Black women in sustainability:
Many millennials and Gen-Z rely on various forms of social media to stay up-to-date on sustainability and social news. One way to diversify your feed and stay open to new ideas is by following Black women and influencers in topics you care about — be that fashion, sustainability, advocacy or professional development.
Here are a few incredible accounts to follow:
The work doesn’t stop
The most important thing to remember as you start to take steps towards (or deeper into) anti-racism, is that this is not temporary. This is not novel. The fight for racial equality has lasted hundreds of years, and social movements for civil rights take decades.
As a woman with white privilege, I remind myself that I will never understand the pain and suffering of Black communities today and throughout history. It is a privilege to learn about racism and not to experience it. I hope my fellow conscious consumers, of all races and ethnicities, are ready to share the burden of fighting the structures that have built and that maintain racism in our society. We can start, as always, with our daily actions and shopping habits. Are you ready?