In a recent Chicago Times article, several black business owners discussed the fact that they hid their race in order for their business to survive.
Take for example, Duane Draughon who owned a patio-installation business. His website had no photos, personal information, or anything to indicate that he was black. And he felt like this helped his business.
From Chicago Sun Times:
Draughon is among entrepreneurs who feel compelled to conceal the fact that their businesses are black-owned for fear they will lose patronage — either to misperceptions that the products or services are only for blacks, or to racial biases on the part of potential users.
Some entrepreneurs leave their photos out of websites and marketing materials. Others give the impression that their white employees actually own the operations.
Draughon closed his construction business and moved to Naperville to start VizX Design Studios landscaping design firm in 2014.
The covert tactics helped him to bill more than $6 million over nine years to a white clientele he perceived as racist, as he often encountered potential customers who slammed doors in his face or refused to allow him in their homes, he said.
“I never said I wasn’t the owner. If asked, I would admit it. But I always said I was either the project manager or a designer,” he said.