blacklists black owned business lists

The Problem with Blacklists

Black Owned Blacklists, a target on the backs of undeserved businesses helping to identify establishments white supremacists, Karens, Beckys and non-whites should avoid… or attack!

Blacklist noun: English: a list of people or things that are regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy and should be excluded or avoided.

Made evident by the fact that a publisher of the blacklist has never featured, supported and reached out to those on the list in order to fairly include them in their organization, publication, experience or offerings on an equitable level with all other non-listed entities.

Blacklisted verb: English: to be put on a blacklist. boycotted, ostracized, avoided, embargo, ignore, steer clear of, blacked.

Black adjective: English: deeply stained with dirt. characterized by tragic or disastrous events; causing despair or pessimism. full of gloom or misery; very depressed. presenting tragic or harrowing situations in comic terms. full of anger or hatred. very evil or wicked. refuse to handle (goods), undertake (work), or have dealings with (a person or business) as a way of taking industrial action. lacking brightness.

List noun: English: a number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, typically one below the other.

  • Positive lists are used to check off to-do items or check in on people you care about. The list is a personal reminder to the writer to follow up and follow through in order to have a productive outcome.
  • Negative lists aka Blacklist are NOT used for productivity. Blacklists have no follow through beyond the act of listing. They are used to help avoid obstacles or roadblocks to getting what you want. Blacklists are ignored or tucked away somewhere to help you remember at a later time.

The problem with black business lists are that they are just that, blacklists. There is no positive follow through. No action is taken beyond the list to help achieve a goal. We can not take English words and reassign definitions because we want to believe a bad thing done by a good person has no implicit or explicit bias, racism or ill intent. We can not treat holders of white privilege as though they are children without the ability to discern the long term effects of their careless actions. If there aren’t going to be lists of white businesses then what is the need for a blacklist? Why separate out one group from another? If you wish to highlight, feature, patronize or promote a business equally and fairly, then give that business the same chance you’d give any other.

“Thanks for the update. I believe your listing was pulled from another source back in June….”

Todd Alström, Founder, BeerAdvocate

“Blacklists publishers constantly shift blame by mentioning they got the list from somewhere else, as if to say someone else is to blame or it was given to them by a “reliable source”. They are not reaching out to blacklisted businesses the way they reach out and engage white businesses. The blacklist behavior is then taken a step further by keeping it a secret list publishers share quietly between one another. Do you even understand the negative implications of such bare-boned lists? Do you understand the behavior supporting it as a blacklist?

Business Owner, Suffering Backlash from Blacklists

A great way to understand when you are blacklisting a person or business is to look at the reason for the list, ask yourself if anyone is being left out because of the nature of the list and would you want to be on that list yourself knowing that it puts a target on your back for increased discrimination, rejection, avoidance and judgment.

The specific blacklists I am referring are the 2020 blacklists of businesses created as a way to help people who hold bias to know who to avoid or attack. These lists were created without outreach, permission, or conversations with owners, managers, publicists or founders. There was ZERO human interaction for what some claim to be an act of human kindness. A very confusing situation to say you care but not enough to talk to a person or ask their permission before publicly racially profiling them.

If you’d like to feature the a Company in order to share them with the world at large or your audience

  • first talk to a representative,
  • second focus on the unique work, product or service they do to bring value to the industry or consumers.

Do not profile by making assumptions on looks and language of one member of the company who might only be one of many employees or a campaign spokesperson as opposed to a founder or main operator. Companies that wish to be featured would be happy to take an interview. They usually have newsrooms, press rooms or media kits of some kind on their websites or have social media accounts to help you reach them or get a sense of the information they want shared with audiences.

  • third do not make assumptions!
    • “I swear talking to white privilege holders is like talking to kindergarten students: wash your hands, share, be kind, ask permission and remember to ASS-U-ME means you’ll make an ASS out of YOU and ME. Which of course leads to anger and backlash of all kinds”
  • lastly think your list through.
    • What is the reason for the list?
    • Why are those names left out of the mainstream?
    • What can happen if this list is published secretly, meaning those named don’t know about it? Clear sign of blacklisting actions!
    • What can happen to those on the list if it lands in the hands of supporters of the status quo, bias, prejudice systems that don’t want to deal with XYZ types of people or businesses?
    • Ask yourself, how can my list do more harm to these people by targeting them? Then ask those people on the list, how can blacklisting you do harm?
    • Ask yourself why you are being lazy by making one (1) list to free your conscious of racist guilt?

Recognizing that you’re unwilling to talk to the people on your list is a sign of fear to talk to people you see as “other”. Address that bias within yourself. Don’t shy away telling yourself you don’t have bias! That list is a list of either hatred for those on it or recognized shortcomings within yourself, your audience and your society which YOU need to face if you are going to write the list.

Otherwise kindly do not to racially profile businesses especially without consent.

Now that you’ve made the list put it to good. Divide the list evenly over the next 12 months equitably highlight each party in the full context and purpose of your product offering. In this manner you won’t be doing a racist thing. Rather you’ll start to act in an inclusive manner by fairly adding diversity to your offering.

“Since blacklists for black-owned businesses were put out without our permission, we have been targeted by racists with nasty emails, public rants, spam and reduced business due to avoidance from various assumptions such as ‘that business is only for blacks only’. Our owners are of mixed heritages, we have not created a business exclusive to one group of people and now we suffer the repercussions of these secret lists we must spend time hunting down. But the damage is done. Lists have been saved, printed, and noted for later on. All we can do now is work to attract a new audience and be glad we now know who among our peers are bias”
— Non-White Business Member