Truth is, I pondered even writing this piece. My intention in visiting a local Wal-Mart in Ormond Beach was to shoot some pictures of Black folk going crazy for a supposed bargain. This was in light of the recent initiative I’ve seen on Facebook to not spend a dime on “Black Friday” in response to the injustice currently going down in Ferguson, MO.
You’ll recall I already did my rant far before that Bogus-ass Grand Jury announcement and I was not in the least surprised. And still, here I sit with a target on my back because of these statistics: My eyes are brown, my hair (on my beard) is kinky and coarse, and my skin has a great deal of melanin in it. The situation which befell the young brothers Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin could still easily be me.
Now comes the “Not a DIME” initiative where there were supporting arguments to support abstinence from purchase on the biggest retail shopping day of the year.
Facebook banter proves insightful
The following was my Facebook rant: ‘How does not shopping on ignorant Black Friday hurt someone’s pockets? It isn’t as if the Grand Jurors own any of the venues you would have visited. How is this making a statement? I simply am curious. I hate the idea of Black Friday but I do not see how it relates to fallen little brothers that could just have easily been you and me. How the hell does a boycott keep that target off your back?’
At first, my question was met with resistance and then meaningful dialogue. The premise was this. Hit corporate America in their pockets by showing our financial might as Black people.
Regina Hall of Daytona Beach had this viewpoint: “The point of the Black Friday Boycott is to show how much the “black dollar”, as well as those who believe there is an injustice, contributes to our economy. While we have higher ratios of unemployment and under-employment, our money actually makes a major difference in the economy. While our black lives are not valued our money is. Hall continued that that alone won’t change anything, but making a movement unified will. Hopefully the slumbering will awaken before it’s too late.”
Bravo. I could not agree more, HOWEVER, I still ask how does my abstaining from making purchases on the overly publicized “biggest shopping day of the year” keep a target off my back as a Black man? BTW when I attempted to get those pics I mentioned earlier, a Wal-Mart employee playing the part of the Sheriff told me I wasn’t allowed to shoot. You’ll notice my pics at the top of this page.
Indeed one brother pointed to the fact that the abstinence from shopping was perhaps simply a platform for the hordes of social-network activists who wouldn’t bust a grape in the real revolution.
Let me be clear, I hate the idea of Black Friday. I detest the very idea of folks camping out for a supposed bargain when the truth is these stores regularly offer the same discounts or similar ones throughout the year.
I abhor the thought of citizens trampling one another, pushing and shoving, and “throwing bees” (jabs) all in the name of saving a fast buck on some materialistic item. All change begins with a few dedicated soldiers. How about you?
Origins of Black Friday might shock you
An additional term for “Black Friday” may upset you, or perhaps motivate you. The term is thought to originate with the practice of selling off slaves on the day after Thanksgiving.
There are various schools of thought on the origins of the term “Black Friday.” The day’s name originated in Philadelphia pre-1961, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss (“in the red”) from January through November, and “Black Friday” indicated the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or “in the black.”
For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Bealls) opened at midnight for the first time. In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (except in states where opening on Thanksgiving is prohibited due to laws).
Black Friday Deaths?
You want statistics to back up how ignorant the IDEA of saving a buck is? Dig these. Better yet, allow me to pour some salt on those wounds if you were out there.
According to BlackFridayDeathCount.com Since 2006, Black Friday has claimed 97 deaths and injuries—seven of the former, as the result of the tramplings, pepper-sprayings, shootings, stabbings, and other tragedies that can occur when folks take the term “doorbuster” too damn literally. In 2013 the site reported one death and 15 injuries credited to the wild shopping day.
The problem isn’t that Black Friday exists so much as the perception that it’s somehow necessary.
The truth is, shoppers might have already missed some of the season’s best sales. The Sunday and Monday before Thanksgiving offer bigger price cuts than Black Friday. The day before Turkey Day is a good look too, according to Adobe Systems. In addition, many shoppers are opting for online shopping or simply waiting until the holidays are finished altogether.
The WSJ Christmas Sale Tracker indicated that retailers change prices on popular items in the weeks leading up to the holiday-shopping bonanza to test how price cuts drive traffic and Web sales. These findings shine a light on the way retailers are discounting products to get a jump on holiday sales.
I’ve gone from speaking on Ferguson, to being a target, to “not a dime”. Ultimately, methinks those same folk who were acting the fool rioting, should transfer that energy into voting in their local districts and thereby inserting Blacks to police themselves, instead of gestapo cops of other genres who can not relate in any way to the community in which they work. Sounds simple enough, no? Check the stats on people who voted in the last election in Ferguson. This, coupled with an abstinence from spending our dollars and the education and knowledge that any Black man is perceived as a threat followed by some strict re-tooling of society’s ideals and perceptions, are the viable solutions I foresee. But it’ll take more than a handful of us to be effective. I’ll let you get back to your tea now.