The hours following the somber verdict of Darren Wilson not being indicted for killing Michael Brown, an online poster quickly circulated through social media urging everyone, and specifically Black Americans, to boycott this upcoming Black Friday. As the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter becomes a national call to action, calls for a protest of Black Friday would be another effective way to send a message to the government about the extreme level of injustice towards Black people. Since Black lives apparently don’t matter, it may be time to show how the market could look once “Black” wallets don’t matter either.
In 2013, a general study was done in that by 2015, African-Americans will collectively have a buying power of $1.1 trillion dollars to spend. That’s a lot of moolah to go around towards companies that have sometimes, even regularly, do not appreciate the service of Black shoppers. The Nielsen Company originally reported that the power of the Black consumer is actually “underrepresented”.
Pro-Black reporters have suggested we spend our hard-earned money at independent stores than large-scale corporate retailers before (especially when last year, there were higher than usual instances of racial profiling, or “shopping while black” that occurred). You can also use the other Black Friday boycott hashtag #notonedime that’s also been making the rounds.
To reject Black Friday and certain retailers would be in contingency to historic protests of the past, organized and executed by the common folk that felt that too had had enough. You may immediately think of the bus boycott of 1955 as thousands of Black people walked from home to work, sometimes at long distances, everyday, but there was also the anti-apartheid movement of the late 1980s in South Africa. “Divestment” was a massive effort to dissuade companies worldwide from doing business with organizations that supported segregation laws. Cecelie Counts, in a January 2013 New York Times Op-Ed, recalled how affiliating with apartheid so carelessly made for lasting impressions that said more about the political landscape than the repressed: “Just as the U.S government was embarrassed when images of police brutality against civil rights protesters were publicized worldwide, corporations investing in South Africa were embarrassed each time apartheid’s escalating brutality became widely publicized”.
A boycott of Black Friday actually sounds like a good idea, as Black shoppers tend to be very loyal to the brands they are fans of (cueing all Jordan sneakerheads), but really…could a widespread boycott be as effective in our day? That is not so much up for debate than it is in not seeing enough real action for change brought forward. Dedication in the form of protests usually have to last longer than a day. Steps small or large are imperative, but too many times we have called for protests derived from justified rage but ultimately short-lived. Weren’t we supposed to be protest Florida after the Trayvon Martin verdict? Clearly, we’re still booking tickets to Miami for a get-away. Why do our pro-Black stances only last a week after heart-wrenching news of Darren Wilson not facing charges? By next week, memes will once again make light of colorism within the Black community.
Can we stick to the plan for real, this time?
Beauties, should we protest Black Friday in support of #Ferguson? Tell us what you think in the comments, Facebook, Instagram, and twitter.
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