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Friday, December 05, 2008

Automobile Maker Bailout & Black Owned Dearlerships

The Black Enterprise magazine's 36th Annual Report on the Nation's Largest Black-Owned Businesses reports that such dealerships represent 31.1% of total revenues in this area. Fully one-third of the largest black owned businesses are at risk if the Big Three go under. Congresswoman Maxine Waters pressed the automaker CEOs appearing before the House Financial Services Committee on their plans for supporting these dealerships if the federal government provides them with bridge loans. Damon Lester, representing the National Association of Minority Auto Dealers, expressed concern about minority dealers being 'squeezed' regarding credit and fearful of being eliminated or taken over through consolidations. As is typical in responses from industry officials in matters of assisting African Americans, they were vague. If they remain 'vague,' the Congressional Black Caucus should vote against any bailout. Too much money is at stake to allow the Big Three to avoid addressing black-owned automobile dealerships.

Now before those who believe there is no black community, no black-owned businesses and who prefer to ignore anything with a 'black' label on it, let us say that it is this very attitude that prevents these businesses from making America all that it can be. They do exist. They do serve black communities. They do provide jobs. And they are managed and owned by black people. Get over it. Just as the Big Automakers are in our nation's capital with cups in their hands, so too do black-owned businesses need help sometimes. If the Big Three are in trouble, you can be sure that the black-owned dealerships face eminent disaster. Yet some want to 'ignore' such plights because of the 'black' label. The black community and African American-owned businesses are as American as apple pie.

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