About #BlackOutFriday and How Some People are Missing the Point
Today is Black Friday, the annual shopping gluttony day where we all bless each other with new things that are 50-70% cheaper than normal but not really because they made them 50% more expensive just to give us a 40% discount. Some of us go to WalMart to risk being trampled to death for a flat screen TV and because we don’t value our lives. Others shop online and judge everyone else who went out in the cold.
But today, what’s different is that many of us are sitting out Black Friday shopping, online and off. After the Grand Jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for his murder of unarmed Michael Brown, we got even more confirmation that the state is sanctioning the killing of Black people.
With everything, money talks. Corporations are funding political interests and legislation and their influence cannot be ignored. We want police reform and one of the ways we want to get to this is by making companies put pressure on the government. How do we have impact on corporations? Our money. How we spend can influence big business’ political interests. This is the cliffnotes on why people are calling for today to be #BlackOutFriday. Check out this post that breaks it down on TheGrio on Why #BlackOutBlackFriday is Necessary for Change.
Here are the asks:
- Don’t shop on Black Friday
- Don’t shop a big retailer on Black Friday
- If you shop, shop with a small business, minority-owned business or Black business
THOSE are the asks. They are simple. But people are throwing WHINE pordees everywhere yelling about how this won’t work. Just admit that you need to buy them Js (a really dope pair came out today). I wanna buy them too. And that flat screen TV. It’s really hard to see that what you’ve been looking at for months is on deep discount and to bypass them for some greater good. That is hard. Because we like things. We like nice things. And when they’re on sale? YESSSS.
But the resistance around it has been especially surprising to me because the fact that people don’t even want to TRY this before calling it a failure is just aggravating. You don’t want to flex your economic power on the biggest spending day of the year by withholding cash from some of the corporations who have the power to ask the government to make the changes we want and need. Ok.
“OMG WE’RE SO ANGRY ABOUT EVERYTHING.” “Hey guys. Let’s not shop on #BlackFriday and hit company pockets.” “THAT WILL NOT WORK.”
“Hey yall. Don’t shop on #BlackFriday.” “NO BECAUSE THAT WON’T WORK. IT’S JUST ONE DAY.” “Fine. Don’t shop til January.” “WE CAN’T DO THAT.”
“Hey folks. Fine. Shop on #BlackFriday but try to give your money to Black businesses or small businesses only.” “BUT… THIS IS POINTLESS.”
Seriously? Really? Fine. Let’s do nothing then. Let’s just sit around and just be angry about how shitty everything is and be mad that a cops can shoot our kids and walk free. Let’s NOT try low-hanging fruit like not shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year. Let’s ignore it all and just sit here and do nothing. THAT’S THE WAY!
What in the entire hell, everyone? Seriously. Come on! At the MINIMUM, make the effort to direct some of your dollars to Black-owned businesses. AT. THE. DAMB. MINIMUM. Fine, go buy that TV but please spend more money than you did at BIG GIANT STORE with a small business. If that is too much to ask of you, then WTF?
Folks talmbout we can’t come together for nothing and we come up with something and y’all talmbout it won’t work. OK DEN.
I am not going to vilify folks if they shop big business today for non-essential stuff. I am just asking that you also shop SMALL. I’ve lowered my expectations because the amount of “OMG THIS IS POINTLESS” that is happening has made me do just that. I love to shop just as much as the next person (cuz you know I was looking at some shoes I wanted) but… sheesh. I can AT LEAST wait it out.
Also of note: many people who are Black make money through non-Black businesses too. So this is not asking for a complete DON’T SHOP ANYWHERE OR YOU ARE THE ENEMY. That is not the message. Just… be more careful. Be more conscious. And direct some money to the underdogs.
Not shopping on Black Friday does not make any of us revolutionaries. But it shows that we’re willing to start somewhere. We’re willing to do ONE small thing that will inconvenience us for something that could benefit us all. Change will not come from ONE day of not shopping but if this one day turns into a monthly thing, or weekly thing, it can really do some damage to the bottom lines of some of these companies so they can lobby to get things like police body cameras.
People walked for 13 months during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. THIRTEEN MONTHS! And we’re whining about being told not to shop for one day. Lawd. We couldn’t even do a 13 minute Facebook moment of silence if we asked. LAWDT.
I’m probably too late anyway. You already for that video game console because it’s $20 cheaper today. I guess. BUT CHANGE WILL COME! Ok.
Let me repeat this: BLACK PEOPLE DRIVE THE ECONOMY. We love things. We drive trends. The way we spend IS power. We can use it.
If you need some places to shop for gifts, check out this list of 101 Independent Black Owned Businesses to Support for Blackout Friday, created by Afrobella.