Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Good Kind of Fear

Since the last time we talked, EE went national. Our little social experiment has now been seen on CNN, MSNBC, and will be on Fox Business next week. We have a lot of folks talking now. "Can you do it?" "Is this racist?" "Will it make a difference?" "Why buy Black?" "Why is it so hard for Black people to support their own?"

EE To Do list.
1. Put our economic and empowerment issues back into the national dialogue. CHECK!

More and more people have started visiting our grocer, Farmers Best, our dry cleaner, Evans Cleaners, and my shoe store, Sensual Steps. You cannot imagine how empowering and inspiring knowing that is. So if you think criticism from a few cynics, racists, and the fringe types who won't even take the time to see that this about love, pride, and unity, and learning about how we can improve our communities for future generations - is gonna have me hesitate, rethink, stutter, hold back - then you have another thing coming.

You know what's coming? More and more folks thinking about the possibility of a new America. More and more Black people believing in the possibility that some of those big American brands that have come to symbolize the American Dream in action... just maybe one or two of those can be Black one day. We've been here just as long as everyone else (except for the Native Americans), so why can't one of those stories start with a Black family? The Sears story. The McDonald's miracle. The Hilton legacy. The Ford phenomenon. The Walmart success story. These are all entrepreneurs or families. These are wonderful American institutions, awesome businesses, pillars of strength and hope for the American economy and workforce. But what I want us to remember is that those businesses exist simply because of good ol' entrepreneurship. JCPenney began with James Cash Penney. Hilton is the story of Conrad Hilton. Walgreen's is the legacy of Charles Walgreen. The Ford empire is an American family's tale of triumph. We need to view these business giants as individuals and families who simply started a business and worked hard. EE asks us to start considering that the time has come that one of these entrepreneurs, one of these families can be Black. This country has been integrated for a while now. We've been here 400 years now. We have a Black President now. Why can't one of those department store chains come from a Black entrepreneur's success?

EE To Do List (continued).

2.Showcase those businesses we encounter that defy negative stereotypes about Black businesses (poor quality, poor service, high prices, no selection). CHECK!!

3. Inspire Black people to start believing in Black business, and thinking that supporting them could lead to improvements in our communities. IN PROGRESS.

4. Prove to ourselves that there can be a different economic reality for us, where our businesses and our local economies can thrive as well as, and are as great and successful as anyone else's. PENDING.

Alright, been a nice, productive couple of weeks for EE. So why am I calling this week's message "The Good Kind of Fear"?

Cuz I'm scared!

Can this really be it? Could we really have beautiful communities, with thriving businesses, lush parks, grocery stores with fresh produce, kids playing, well-funded schools, low unemployment, high esteem? Is this where this "little" project is taking us? What if I'm right?

What if this is the beginning of that? What if all it took is more and more of you showing and proving your love for, faith in, and support of your own people? Wasn't it that kind of love and unity that got us out of slavery, Jim Crow, and got us the right to vote?

What if all of us came together, made little sacrifices, and insodoing, we made America a better place for all of us?

What if there came a day when Americans of all races were shopping at one of hundreds and thousands of Jacksons department stores, Evans Cleaners, Hightower drug stores and Karriem's grocery stores? What would that do for the Black child in America? Wouldn't that be a wonderful time for America?

What if?!!!

Wow. That is scary. I'm scared to even think of what we could accomplish if we used, strategically and proactively, all the passion, talent, history, and resources we have to make things better.

OK Maggie. Take a chill pill girl. Slow down now. You're really dreaming.

Yep. I am dreaming. And what's wrong with that? I'm American too! That's what I'm supposed to do.

That's my American Dream. And that's a good kind of fear.


  1. Way to go Maggie! I'm in as soon as we move to town in June. I'd like to network with you guys in the meantime if you don't mind. I just sent you a facebook friend request. There are a bazillion John Andersons on facebook. Does he have a profile and if so could you ask him to send me a request?

    Lastly, do you guys have LinkedIn profiles? If you do I'd like to add you both to my professional network. I believe in networking and using the social networks in particular to help make it happen.

    I'm extremely proud of you guys and I want to be a part of it.

  2. love you too! will accept your friend request. KIT!

    yours in EE,

  3. Thank you very much for coming out with this campaign. It is much needed and right on time! I have already begun to share your website with everyone that I know and I have challenged all of my friends (virtual and otherwise) to commit in any capacity to EE. For my frieds that find a 100% commitment too overwhelming I have challenged them to spend at least twenty dollars a week in at a Black Business where they otherwise wouldn't.
    I am soooo inspired by what you are doing. My family and I are starting our own little journey as well to make your dream (which is my dream also) a reality.

    Thanks again.

  4. Like the educator you wrote about in LA, I am white, and I agree that this is a bold, exciting project. That some call this campaign racist clearly shows an unwillingness to consider how society has marginalized certain populations. And yes, us white folks play a big part in that marginalization. I'm moving to the Oak Park area this summer and would love to get involved somehow to show my support. I'm bookmarking your site and plan to lend my support to the business owners on it.
    I'm looking forward to following your campaign.

  5. We need to continue to have this dialogue until it is not necessary. The Anderson's are brave in the way they've taken this bold approach. While we should be doing this type of reinvesting in our own communities, we are not. We continue to bad mouth services, businesses and the communities that pertain to blacks. I have noticed that in my business of selling Body Shapers that too few folks want to come into the business but they will buy the product. We do need to consume but let's do it from those folks that support our health, wealth and community. For more info about the Body Shaper products please email me at And the challenge is our there so let's meet it successfully!

  6. I dont see how this isnt blatant racism. If a white person said they were going to go out of the way to exclude giving their money to anyone who is not white they would not be able to get far enough away from the civil rights groups and media. Yet this gets applauded. Support the economy in general not a specific portion of it.

  7. davincix19 there are no black owned stores in my neighborhood, but when i go to the chinese side of town every one in the major stores are chinese. we have made every race in america rich, white,jew,oriental, even the mexicans have more startup busineses than us in texas.We have had a dissadvantage first in opportunity, then in our mindset. the chineseman tells his children a business means security for the family. But many blacks were raised to get a good job and coast.Our children need to see success in their own neighborhoods.