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One million urged to join black spending power campaign

CAMPAIGN: Black consumers are being urged to use their spending power

AN ONLINE campaign is urging one million households to use their spending power to force businesses and other mainstream organisations to treat black customers better.

Founder Warren Alexander-Dean told The Voice he is hoping one million families would join the campaign, called One Million Households.

Alexander-Dean said the campaign, now on all social media networks, was started because of complaints that many black people often get treated worse than customers of other ethnic groups in some top clothing, car and goods stores, supermarket chains, local corner shops, off-licences and beauty products shops.

This is despite the huge amounts of money that black customers spend with them, he said.

Statistics show that the estimated spending power of the UK’s black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) communities could be as high as £300 billion.

“We need to realise our own spending power,” Alexander-Dean said. “Once people realise the strength of their money and what they are spending with these companies, they can then demand that they treat them with proper respect and ensure that a share of that profit is spent within black communities.”

He said too many businesses and organisations believe they can get away with treating black people without respect although they gain a huge profit from the ‘black pound.’

“I'm seriously considering some boycotts of businesses, which have shown that they do and will treat us differently while taking our money,” he said.

“We need to pool our economic and legal resources. It’s to reflect our economic strength. We want to force these businesses to change how they treat us. We have to touch them in the pocket. They will care what we think when they lose money.”

The use of such boycotting power has been used successfully on several occasions, to public show anger over issues ranging from governments who support or create regimes that endorse racism, ill treatment of animals and the exploitation of workers in poor countries.

One of the most famous consumer campaigns is the 1955 Montgomery Bus boycott in Alabama, USA. It was launched when legendary civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat for white person. The public transit system, which forced black people to sit at the back of the bus, was nearly financially crippled because the bulk of its customers, who were black, refused to put up with it and protested against the racist policy. The boycott led to the end of segregation on buses.

Another bus boycott in Bristol in 1964, led by civil rights campaigner Paul Stephenson, also forced the Bristol Omnibus Company to cancel its decision not to employ black or Asian drivers or conductors.

In recent years, consumer boycotts have forced policy changes in companies such as Barclays, Primark, Donna Karan and the DKNY brand, Nestle and American underwear company, Fruit of the Loom.

Other companies such as Cadburys and Tescos have also come under pressure from activists over concerns that the products being sold have been ethically produced.

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