About #BlackOutFriday and How Some People are Missing the Point

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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.

SMH madea gif

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.

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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.

Also read: Meet the Fortune 500 Companies Funding the Political Resegregation of America

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • AbbyGhost November 28, 2014, 1:56 pm

    i have not spent on red cent today and I’m not doing it on Monday either. I refuse. While people going HAM and posting pictures left and right of the expensive worthless crap they’re buying, I’m just quietly culling my friends list to family or friends I consider family. Yesterday several black families had to suffer through their holiday without some of the very people who made thanksgiving worthwhile. I’m not about to demean their loss, for greed and gluttony.

    Sorry I’m just not about that life.

  • lachickforever November 28, 2014, 2:08 pm

    No comments yet? Is everyone out shopping or something? This right here tho:
    “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.”

  • Tonia November 28, 2014, 2:16 pm

    The only purchases I made were to Black owned businesses. Did I want to get my sons some tablets today? Yup, but I’d rather help find a small way to try to make a difference in their futures!

  • notconvincedgranny November 28, 2014, 2:27 pm

    What I want people to understand is that this isn’t a deferred shopping day; that is, I’ll go to the same disrespectful store TOMORROW. Giving them the money later rather than sooner is useless.

    We need to understand that you can’t respect money and love stuff at the same time. Respect what money can and cannot do; know that stuff and things are NOT a measure of prosperity; discover the true power of restraint in ALL things. We may not be able to control circumstance, but we can control our own behaviors and the mindset that triggers them.

  • Denise Barreto November 28, 2014, 2:28 pm

    I’m with you and down for this into the forseeble future. We need to stop fronting and actually DO something. I even heard today that the numbers are lighter than normal. Bet you won’t hear that on the news. You watch. They are going to try and convince us that this is useless. It’s up to US to keep it up and keep encouraging each other.

  • Ashleigh Atwell November 28, 2014, 2:52 pm

    I think it’s a bit patronizing and dismissive to assume people are against or critical of boycotting because they want Jordans. C’mon now….

    • Luvvie November 28, 2014, 2:55 pm

      Some Js did come out today that are dope. I want em. Sooo…

    • NiHi November 28, 2014, 6:27 pm

      I had a white guy tell me once while ya’ll buying new cars, clothes, etc., we’re buying congressmen. We would often tease each other about racial issues and I never forgot that statement. I often think about the Montgomery Bus Boycott of ’55 – ’56. Black people banned together and didn’t use public transit for a year. Now that’s gangsta! You try asking black people today to do ANYTHING longer than 30 minutes and you might get your feelings hurt, but those same people will be the first in line when it’s time to reap the benefits.

      • howlingbanshee November 30, 2014, 7:44 am

        Daaaaaaaaaaaamn…okay Im gonna add Congressmen to my cooperative economics wishlist/prayerlist/goals, along with a whole bunch of land, a textiles factory, a steel factory…won’t none of that do us any good if we don’t have a couple dozen congressmen in our pockets. Good point.

  • Natasha B|fashionablyfab.com November 28, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I feel your frustration girl!!!! I feel it to the 110th degree. There is hope.

  • Carla Wynker November 28, 2014, 3:30 pm

    There were things I wanted to buy today, I didn’t because my bank account is in the red, lol. That doesn’t mean I’m against Black Out Friday or that I think it’s not worth trying.

    • Juanita November 28, 2014, 4:55 pm

      Truth

    • cb November 29, 2014, 8:02 pm

      same here…no pesos

  • Will November 28, 2014, 3:39 pm

    I am just reminded that folks will do what folks will do – I did not shopping today and don’t plan on it till someone right before Christmas. I think folks didn’t or wouldn’t see the symbolic connection betwee BOBF and justice – those are probably the same folks that miss out on a lot of symbolic actions in the world when injustice is handed to folks like it Halloween candy – some folks have not gotten it, they don’t get it and they never will get it…

  • OfficiallyNatural November 28, 2014, 3:53 pm

    Where are the stats from?

  • Donée November 28, 2014, 5:09 pm

    I agree, boycott big businesses, support small businesses. I am a minority and I would love to have you all’s support. You can find me on Instagram: @chadeauxboutique and DM me or reply to one of my postings that you are seeking to purchase. If you mention this posting on this article, I will give you a special Black Friday Deal! Thanks in advance!

  • mzmiamiheat November 28, 2014, 5:11 pm

    Not a dime. I worked Black Friday on purpose. Since I didn’t plan on spending any money today I may as well come out here and make some….

  • Nichi November 28, 2014, 5:22 pm

    I didn’t get nota nare thing today! I made chili for dinner and would love to have some cornbread but I can even do without that. I’m not real a shopper, well groceries, as I have graves disease and anxiety I get from it ain’t no joke. But some black folks need to get it together, damn! I’ve seen so many post about what Martin Luther the King would do or say, he would mobilize! He understood the reason for riots, he wanted equality, in all things.

  • Hmmm November 28, 2014, 5:26 pm

    Just a couple questions.

    1) If a white person were to make an article/statement such as “shop only at white owned businesses.” would we label them as racists? We would.

    2) Not buying gifts on Black Friday would cause us to miss out on many of the beneficial and needed discounts for our holiday shopping. Do you not think it would cost us more money to avoid those? It would.

    • notconvincedgranny November 29, 2014, 1:38 pm

      Beneficial and needed discounts? First, white-owned is the norm, therefore it is the baseline measurement. And some black people actively avoid black-owned business because they think of it as lower quality/higher price. Nevermind that lots of minority owned business don’t have the luxury of volume discounts.

      Then consider whether this is something you actually need, or whether you have been conned by advertisers into a deep, somnambulistic state of want.

      Or you can continue to try convincing yourself that you, as one person, can’t make a difference, or you refuse to be inconvenienced by consciousness.

      • Marcelo N November 29, 2014, 2:13 pm

        This:
        “Or you can continue to try convincing yourself that you, as one person, can’t make a difference, or you refuse to be inconvenienced by consciousness.”

        And this:
        “Then consider whether this is something you actually need, or whether you have been conned by advertisers into a deep, somnambulistic state of want.”

        Even though consumerist numbness impels you to “feel” otherwise. For feelings are for feelings, while this is about thoughts.

        • notconvincedgranny December 2, 2014, 12:53 pm

          Are you of the opinion people do not act according to feelings, no matter how fleeting or temporary?

  • Christina Joy November 28, 2014, 5:37 pm

    I shopped today. Why? Because I wanted to and I realize that not shopping today isn’t going to mean a thing if I turn around and shop tomorrow. Also, we are a minority. Unless you live in a predominantly Black town, most big box retailers won’t even notice if every Black person boycotts. The Black cashiers might notice, but that is all. I live in Washington DC. The line at the Target last night was full of color, not just Black color either…..mostly Latino color. What Black America needs to do is figure out what the Latino (and Asian) communities are doing……we need to come together and not just to try boycotting stuff. We need to network and support each other, and I don’t just mean by shopping only at Black owned businesses, because in my community (DC, Maryland and Virginia) I have a hard time finding a Black owned business that is not a hair salon or food establishment. I do my own hair and don’t eat out much, I need diversity.

    • Jaimee November 28, 2014, 10:28 pm

      Christina:

      What I think you’re not realizing is that it’s not about the actual number of black people in this country that counts but it’s the average amount that each black person spends. We may be a minority but we spend more money on cars, clothing, hair care products and other goods more than ANYONE else. That’s why this boycott would be so significant.

      You mentioned we need to find out what the Latino and Asian communities are doing. What I know for sure about other minority communities is that they spend amongst their own. They buy from each other so the money stays in their community much longer than money stays in ours, which is why supporting other black businesses is so significant.

  • Teach November 28, 2014, 6:06 pm

    just using this website or using your cell phone or watching the tv, you are spending money today. I really don’t see the point because if you are saying all politicians are crooks and are being bought out by corporations, not spending money today won’t change the politicians or corporations mind because most big corporations that has any influence are not retailer, and even if they are it is the ENTIRE Christmas season when retailer make their money for the year, so unless you are not going to spend any money at all this Christmas then it is not going to hurt them, the Black Friday came about because most people are off work and some companies are operating in the red and they use that day to get them in the black faster, they want to get out of the red on that day, but they get out of the red before the end of the year anyway.

    • Jaimee November 28, 2014, 10:33 pm

      The point of Black Friday is to make a small step to get people in the mindset and to make black people aware that our dollars matter. if you want to nitpick on how our daily activities creates profits for others, it would be impractical. The idea is to get the wheels turning for long-term financial boycotts that would impact corporations who are in bed with our politicians and are the reason we essentially live in an oligarchy instead of a democracy.

  • PCOOP November 28, 2014, 8:22 pm

    Would the Civil Rights Movement have even been possible today with such apathy? There seems to be no focused sense of energy, and if the killing of our black men does not rouse us, then what will?

  • Igiveup!!! November 28, 2014, 8:27 pm

    @Luvvie I really don’t know what else can be said to the sheeple their fuzzy logic is locked in…. Stop the world I wanna get off!!!!

    • notconvincedgranny November 30, 2014, 2:26 pm

      This. Everyday.

  • Dee November 28, 2014, 9:13 pm

    For most folks who question it, it’s not because they don’t want to give up one day of shopping. It’s a genuine interest in knowing 1) who specifically are we intending to send a message to with this boycott? And if this Black Friday boycott does make an impact 2) how will these targets relate this boycott to our cause? (How will they know their profits were down because of the non-indictment?) And 3) what can they do to change it?

    I don’t think folks are against blacks working together and uniting, but there is a serious question of using efforts that seem directly related to affecting change.

    • notconvincedgranny November 30, 2014, 8:38 pm

      I’d like to think it’s that noble, but it’s not. It’s about getting cheap shit that will be broken and forgotten within a week. And bragging rights about who got what when and for how much.

  • nick November 29, 2014, 12:06 am

    I think the black Friday boycott was good idea however poorly planned… over and over again I see you guys on both this sight and other social media outlets wanting this to be like the bus boycott… here are the reasons why Montgomery bus boycott and the black Friday boycott are different:
    1) organization and planning… the naacp and other organizations got the word out and talk to the people about the benefits… they organized carpools and meetings….. we can’t just come up with an idea and expect social media to do the magic… because there are tons of blacks who had no clue about the black friday boycott… we must organize locally go into the churches and community centers… we must always remember the key to mobilizing be heard… be visible
    2) small movement and focused target… the black friday boycott was a great idea but too massive and doesnot have a clear focus… Montgomery boycott had a clear target and was successful because it was in one city and the impact was clear and it was effective because a high percentage of blacks rode the bus and the transportation economy was highly effected … whose pockets are we getting into and how are we getting in their pockets when blacks are only13% of the population and we are only heavily populated in certain areas…

    I am so happy that we as black people are trying to mobilize and make change… however change never happens in the midst of anger and unclear vision… in order to see change we Must have clear mind and a clear target… I am on board if people are ready to mobilize… GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT!!!!

  • JellyJam November 29, 2014, 12:32 am

    The only thing I bought today was a book from a black author from his managed website (“The Madea Factory”). And upon further thought, I don’t think I’m going to buy anything from a major retailer this year. Instead, for gifts, I’m going to “donate” money to my loved ones. For example, my mom, who’s been disabled for a few years, wants to get more exercise in…so I’m going to pay for at least a month of personal training. Figure she needs that more than some random knick-knack. Here are other things people can do for a loved one:

    – Pay a bill for them
    – Buy them a few shares of stocks/bonds
    – Make a payment on their loans (student, mortgage, credit card, etc.)
    – Donate seed money for a business venture
    – Pay for a needed service or volunteer your time to do it if you can
    – Pay their organization dues
    – Pay for their licensure/certification renewal

    Give practical gifts!

    • Marcelo N November 29, 2014, 2:18 pm

      Well, those are practical gift ideas! I doubt many people would agree to your doing so, but then again it is intended to help our nearest and dearest, who are supposed to know you and have things in common. Plus it does not hurt to try.

    • Danni's Mom December 1, 2014, 8:48 am

      These are great ideas! I’m sure they will be much appreciated

  • Jasmine November 29, 2014, 6:28 am

    Nick,
    Your so I point with this assessment. Our ancestors were grassroots!!! They started with home base church and community right in their neighborhoods.. Another movement more of our time was the Rock the Vote movement. I was a lucky inter there at the time and it was an idea birthed by 4 people.. 4 20-30 something’s came up with this massive campaign to get miniorities to vote. If we are truly serious about a movement which I am it could be modeled after that… They started on college campuses.. Specifically HBCUs

  • phatlips November 29, 2014, 11:09 am

    The comment made by the white guy that NiHi mentioned above, about white folks buying Congressmen while we buy clothes and cars struck a nerve. We need to go back to teaching Civics in the classrooms and in our churches so that our children and in many cases, adults, know about how our system of government is supposed to work and how to exercise our constitutional rights. Our votes shout louder than any brick ever will. This last election showed that while black folks (and others) riot in the streets, white folks riot in the voting booth!

  • Marcelo N November 29, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Been reading comments and biding my time. I didn’t want to just write “Yay, go Black brothers!” and not much more. As I am white, I sat and read, yesterday and today.
    I must say though that I am a little shocked at all the mixed feelings about the boycott. And I myself have mixed feelings right now, so please excuse the rant.
    Of course this whole thing came up on the spur of the moment, and could have been more carefully thought of and circulated had there been more time. But then again, seeing all the dissident reactions, I am not that sure. Unfortunately.
    From where I stand, however, a boycott is a boycott, even a little one, even if the impact is not that intended or hoped for. Mind you, one can never tell how it will actually turn out or where it may lead. Doing. Action.
    On the other hand, I am pained to sense (confirm, rather) so many people’s inability to think away from money. I am a fool of course and will struggle to make ends meet till I give up the ghost. I don’t invest, have no money for it, and my lack of planning and ambition in all things money is not an example I recommend following. But there are lines, and here is a line YOU should draw and remain adamant about. I am sure most of you do not need most of the stuff you want to buy. Neither on Black Friday nor the whole Xmas/whatever season.
    By taking action, peacefully and consciously, you will be investing in education, your own and your children’s, much more than by buying any gadget or item of chothing of course. Much more than sitting there complaining, cussing, suffering, and then simply getting into the car and shopping. It is so simple that it is hard to believe.
    It is not a matter of rising up in arms against whites, reds, greens or blues, but it is not a matter of attacking money with money either, or the lack of it though. That is a lose-lose situation. You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it (it was not me that said this). Black Americans have, unwittingly, assimilated too much. I mean, IF it is a matter of honouring differences, then be different, act different, live in a different way. I personally am not sure that is the whole of it, but if so a boycott is a way to start. Then you move on from buying Black only to studying Black only to driving Black only to wherever you may want to go. Aware. Strengthened.
    If you, on the other hand, intend to make things more like you WITHIN the whole of society, just start being yourselves the way the whites that founded America did. Blacks had no say in the making of the country as a notion/nation, much less so the creation of the all-white so-called American Dream (which was coined while there were Blacks still being bought and sold, mind you). Blacks were used, and I mean used like animals, and you know it damn well.
    So here’s what I think about it. You may want to create a nation within a nation. OK. You may want to really become a part of the larger American society, but all mixed up as minorities are in many countries. OK. Or whatever else. That is your choice. Anyway, a boycott could do its share of pressure in any scenario.
    Or (and I will hold myself entirely accountable for the “accusation”) you may just want to keep going down money lane, consumption lane, world owner/user/spender/waster lane. And then we are no longer talking.
    Puts down pen, picks up anxiolytics 😛

  • howlingbanshee November 30, 2014, 7:49 am

    Also, don’t get too excited when a business whose owner you don’t know touts itself as Minority Owned.
    It could be a business owned by a white man who,on paper, gave his white wife 51% of the company, and since she’s a woman
    TADA!
    Minority Owned Business!
    Progress!

  • Angela H. November 30, 2014, 9:02 am

    I rarely shop on Black Friday, because I have no time for avoidable, life-threatening events. Everyone who posted “this will not work” is the reason for this post. Everyone didn’t boycott in the 50’s, because I’m sure they were part of the “this won’t work” crew, but it did and they reaped the benefits as well. The point that you’re missing, and that I myself missed last week, is that we have more power than we think. Yes, shop on Saturday, which is Small Business Saturday. Do that. I still need soap, so I will still shop, but this isn’t the point.

    When my poor, struggling, black brothers and sisters spend money that they barely have, on goods not needed, there’s some corporation laughing all the way to the bank. I haven’t met a person that NEEDS TV’s, Jordans, and fur leather bombers more than black people, just so they can post on Facebook and IG, to brag to their friends. These are the same people that struggle to eat for Christmas or kids can’t read at 4.

    Just reading the opposing comments has gotten me mad. At what point do we make a stand? Do we just sit at the computer and make comments, when there’s a post about the lack of African American presence in Hollywood? Or when people say the most unflattering and disrespectful things about the president and his family? Keep acting like and rug and continue to get walked on. Wake up people.

    • Marcelo N November 30, 2014, 12:47 pm

      I only read truths all over your post!

  • jgalyn November 30, 2014, 10:10 am

    While I can understand the passion and sentiment behind comparing #BlackOutBlackFriday to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the two are apples and oranges. Namely because the boycott was planned ahead; Rosa Parks was selected to be the face of the boycott, after it was decided that unwed and pregnant Claudette Colvin would potentially detract from the boycott’s purpose. There was a blueprint in place, and a targeted strategy.

    There was little strategic planning done to implement the Black Friday Boycott, like another commenter posted, of which stores were directly connected to the lawmakers, and that is what I believe drives the apathy that questions what’s the point. If we have no information about the stores and their political affiliations, we have no strategy.

    And I speak from experience when I say, as a former employee of a black owned business, that I have never had a pleasant, much less pleasurable experience in black owned businesses. People are more willing to spend their hard earned money on a more expensive product from a retailer who treats them well. But all too often, there’s an absence of any customer service or care, and I will not support anyone on the basis of their skin color, gender, birthplace, etc alone. And if the buy black/minority movement is going to have any leverage, those owners need to work harder to earn my business.

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