Houston Black Book publisher Craig Amos says the directory is not about supporting African-American businesses regardless of the quality of service, but just to be more conscious of where money is being spent.
"Statistics for black-owned businesses failure — we are something like four times more likely to fail within the first four years in business. So part of my passion is to see that number change. I would like to see the paradigm shift, you know. Typically we go into businesses less funded, so it's important that we try to make revenue other ways. So if we're not getting, you know bank loans to propel our businesses, we must be the catalyst to go and support black-owned businesses."
There are black television networks, Hispanic chambers of commerce, Vietnamese radio stations, Chinese newspapers and other ethnic-specific media. Amos says those may go away someday, but they fill a need right now.
"I personally never have entered any business with the blinders on to be ethnic-specific. Unfortunately, there's still parts of us that are still judged by the color of our skin, if you will. Now at some point, of course — hopefully within my lifetime, certainly within my son's lifetime — I don't expect this to be a necessity. But as it is right now, there's still a niche within out country, which is why there are so many ethnic-specific publications that you mention."
The 68-page directory contains over a thousand black-owned businesses, and also has a web presence at HoustonBlackBook.com.