Originally created 06/18/04

Directory helps black business grow

Regarding Andrew Aiken's June 7 letter to the editor, "Black phone directory is racist": I'm assuming the word "networking" isn't in Mr. Aiken's vocabulary.

Is it racist to advertise in your own community? The Korean, Jewish and Hispanic communities advertise and trade in their own communities. What is supposed to be so different about the black community?

I wonder if Mr. Aiken knew that new black businesses fail at an even greater rate than new white businesses: one, because some blacks won't support them, and two, because people like Mr. Aiken aren't going to come from Evans to support these businesses.

That brings us to the focal point of the problem. Many Columbia County and Aiken County residents of all races work in the Augusta area. Many of these same residents do not spend their income in Augusta, which leaves these businesses, especially black businesses, without the financial support to survive.

The Black Pages were created so businesses could advertise, network and compete with other well-known and established businesses in the CSRA. Also, most black businesses offer services and goods that are culturally related to the black community and are not offered by other businesses in the area.

While I do understand Mr. Aiken's concern about racial unity, I don't agree that this is an example of being racist. What is racist is that there is a good-ol'-boy network here that is stifling economic growth in the inner city, and until the playing field has been made level, all minorities will do whatever it takes to survive in this consumer-based economy.

William Sanders


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