Friday, November 28, 2008

"Buy Nothing Day" and the Irony of White Privilege

Today is Black Friday, for those of you who live under a rock. A day of shopping awesomeness. I didn't spend much (because I have no money and need to buy Christmas presents), but did purchase some adorable blue and brown wrapping paper at the Hallmark Store, plus this cute top at Express, for which I used my 25% off coupon.

Those bah humbugs over at Adbusters, however, insist that we celebrate Buy Nothing Day instead. A nice concept for all you hippies out there. But having worked at a grocery store, I have witnessed first-hand the irony of some of these activist/enivornmentalist "lifestyle" choices. I wonder if it has ever ocurred to any of these tofu-eaters that low income people, who are often minorities, simply can't AFFORD organic food? Which brings me to my next point. I came across a post on a blog called God's Politics that offered a different take on Buy Nothing Day.

The author quotes an African-American friend:
Buy Nothing Day is basically a thing of and for white folks and comfy middle class and rich folks who have had the privilege of consumption their whole life. And now, they can afford to start things like Buy Nothing Day. True, it speaks to the issue of overconsumption, but how much of it is to appease their guilty consciences? I’m also very skeptical and cynical of Christians who’ve jumped on this bandwagon — the “enlightened evangelicals” who also come from a place of privilege. Stuff like this sickens me because it has completely no idea about the plight of the poor, low-income folks, and some minorities that are just trying to survive.
In other words, there are people out there who really need these deals. And it's not just the poor - Black Friday is technically supposed to mark the start of the Christmas shopping season, but I think most people use today to buy mostly for themselves those things they normally could not afford. While consumption certainly creates division between socioeconomic classes, it can also be something of an equalizer (the trend of "affordable luxury," for example). So come on, Adbuster people. It's just harmless fun. Lighten up.


Mrs. C said...

My husband and I never have "bought into" the shopping on "Black Friday" thing--we prefer to stay home and play board games and put together jigsaw puzzles and watch movies and address Christmas cards, instead. Today, though, we did venture out into the raw, raw afternoon to procure a loaf of white bread...there is nothing like it for left-over turkey sandwiches, both hot and cold. then we returned home and lapsed back into our qua-hippie personas which we have spent the past four decades cultivating.

word? "fancart"--FAN-freakin'-cart. "Darling, we should really buy a new fancart from which to conduct our tailgate parties; good for the economy, what?"

BTW, the link to the twilightsucks didn't work, and I so wanted to read what you'd said there. Try to hook me up again?

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