Women Internet Users
Black women Internet users are more heavily influenced by online information about the products they buy than their white counterparts, a report, “NiaOnline Research Monitor: The African-American Household Online,” shows. Nearly 65 percent of African-American respondents to NiaOnline’s survey said they frequently or almost always visit the Web site of a product when deciding whether to purchase it, compared with 58 percent of white respondents. Sixteen percent of African-American respondents said their favorite Web sites have a major influence on purchase decisions, versus 12 percent of white respondents.
New York City’s Fordham Road Business Improvement District (BID) has a first-year budget of $500,000 to provide supplemental services, including sanitation, marketing and promotion for businesses, holiday lighting and streetscape improvements, for one of the Bronx’s busiest commercial corridors. Fordham Road is the largest retail location in the Bronx, with more than 275 businesses in a two-mile radius and more than $500 million in annual sales revenues. The BID will build off the area’s strength as a major transportation hub that includes major medical and academic institutions in order to increase evening activity and attract a more diverse retail mix.
Loans and Other Business Solutions
The Lower Manhattan Center of New York City Business Solutions is open for business at 79 John Street between William and Gold streets. Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs from SoHo to the South Street Seaport can access the center’s free professional help on key business issues, from starting a business and hiring and training employees to finding financing and navigating government regulations. For more information, call 311 (TTY 212-504-4115). Eight other centers are located throughout the five boroughs.
Fast-Track MBE Certification
New York City’s Department of Small Business Services and the New York and New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. will work together to increase the certification of minority-owned businesses. Businesses certified by the council as minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) will receive expedited approval of their certification applications with the city, enabling them to increase their contracting opportunities in the public sector. The collaboration will allow the city to expand its supplier database. The M/WBE Online Directory is located at www.nyc.gov/sbs.
Minority Majority State
Texas joined Hawaii, New Mexico and California as a minority majority state, along with the District of Columbia, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona are next in line with minority populations of about 40 percent. A July 1, 2004, estimate shows Texas had a minority population of 11.3 million, or 50.2 percent of its total population, while 77 percent of Hawaii’s population was minority. In New Mexico and California, the proportions were 57 percent and 56 percent, respectively, while the District of Columbia was 70 percent minority.
Birds of a Feather
African-Americans are moving to suburbs in the South that have large Black populations, Census estimates show. The percentage of blacks in counties that have the largest share of African-Americans is inching up. More than 17 million, almost half of all Blacks, live in the 11 states that were in the Confederacy, up a million from 2000. Many Black professionals are leaving northern Black strongholds and settling in the mostly Black suburbs of Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., and other Sun Belt metros, where there are other successful upper-income Blacks and where they feel they’ll be more comfortable.
Wachovia Corp., the nation’s fourth largest bank, will contribute more than $10 million over five years to community partnerships aimed at preserving and promoting Black history and culture and improving economic and educational opportunities for Blacks. The Charlotte, N.C., bank, which has apologized for slave ownership by two predecessor banks—the Bank of Charleston (S.C.) and the Georgia Railroad and Banking Co.—will donate money and technical assistance and encourage employee volunteerism at the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, the National Humanities Center, the United Negro College Fund, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, the NAACP and the National Urban League.
Liberty Life Insurance Co., of Greenville, S.C., will pay some $47 million to minority policyholders in 24 states who paid about a third more for premiums than whites. Liberty says it based pricing for its burial insurance policies on mortality tables that showed Blacks and other minorities die younger than whites. The insurance industry used the mortality tables through the 1980s, when the practice was banned. The settlement requires Liberty to pay those who are eligible a third more than the value of the policy they are holding or the dollar claim they received when a relative died.
Sunday Morning Apartheid
The National Urban League Policy Institute says Sunday morning network and cable talk shows consistently fail to include African-Americans in their lineups as interview guests or analysts. An NUL study, “Sunday Morning Apartheid: A Diversity Study of Network Sunday Talk Shows,” says that more than 60 percent of the programs broadcast during the 18-month period studied had no Black guests, fewer than 8 percent of the guests on these programs have been Black and more than 69 percent of the appearances by Black guests have been by three people: Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Juan Williams.
Africa Cable Channel
The Africa Channel, a North Hollywood, Calif., independent cable television network that will showcase diverse perspectives of Africa, launches this year with more than 1,200 hours of original and first-run English language programming, including news and information, travel and lifestyle, music, feature films, soaps, talk, reality TV and special events. The channel’s partners include former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and his company, Goodworks International, and National Basketball Association stars Dikembe Mutombo and Theo Ratliff. The channel debuts in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., areas, and is negotiating for slots in Los Angeles and other markets.
Worsening Health Care
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that from 1992 to 2001 Blacks received significantly fewer of the kinds of surgeries that help seniors live better and longer lives compared to whites. The study examined how often nine types of surgical procedures, from heart bypass surgery to total hip replacement, were performed on Medicare enrollees. In 1992, white patients had higher rates for each of the nine types of procedures. By 2001, the gap had failed to substantially decrease for eight of the procedures and had increased sharply for five: back surgeries, valve replacements, hip replacements, knee replacements and appendectomies.
Nigeria AIDS Drug
A Nigerian firm, Fidson Healthcare Ltd., has produced an anti-retroviral drug that can be used to fight AIDS, the first such drug to be produced locally by an indigenous firm. Fidson says its drug, Virex, comes in tablets and liquid forms for adults and children and is 100 percent formulated and manufactured by Nigerian experts. It says Virex does not cure AIDS, but keeps the virus in check. About 5 percent of Nigeria’s 130 million people suffer from AIDS.