Let’s talk about how people are constantly capitalising off of your emotions. Like, they are pulling your heartstrings so that you’ll pull out your wallet, and that’s something you should be aware of, so I’ll take one for the team and tell you about it.
Let’s start with lockdown. During this time, people began to be discontent with the norms of the world. But if we focus on the political unrest in the western world, the topic of race cropped up once again and this time could not be ignored or pushed aside. When George Floyd was murdered in broad daylight over an alleged bad check, businesses sprang to express their solidarity with people of colour. However, whilst some were genuine and have cared about racial inequality far before the murder of George Floyd (P.S. I love you Ben and Jerry’s), you find that many did just use this as a business tactic. Yes, what I’m saying is you got played. Sales went up for fast fashion companies like Boohoo PLC especially, who produced and managed to sell at lot of political merchandise if you will. But if you trace the materials back to the source, you find underpaid, abused and overworked people of colour.
“Wait, aren’t they the ones we’re fighting for here?“
My point exactly. Some think it’s not the same fight because these people aren’t in the West where the system is more obviously pitted against people of colour, forgetting that such people are in a situation that is propagated by neocolonial and historically colonial structures and actions of the West. But even without colonialism and its new forms, these people must riddle me this: are people of colour less relevant in the fight against racial inequalities when they aren’t in western countries? Should we really measure the intrinsic importance of people by the state they belong to when the state itself is an imagined concept? Just say you don’t care about the ethics of consumerism and go.
“It really do be ya own, huh?”
One thing I think is particularly gross is the way emotions have been manipulated within the black community on what has always been a delicate issue. Opportunistic yes, but still very gross. People are literally saying “hey, our people are dying for no reason under an oppressive system, so even more reason to support my business” without actually providing any reason other than that. Yes, we should support black-owned businesses. But if you need to monopolise on the deaths of people within your own community just to sell a product, your product probably sucks anyways. I also see this with black content creators on Tiktok posting cringy “like if you’re not racist” videos. I’ll support you if you have something of interest, so don’t avert the attention onto yourself because emotions are running high.
“What can I take away from this?”
If you think critically once in a while, you realise that you don’t need moral merchandise to express your solidarity with a group. In fact, your moral merch has no bearing on whether you are an ally with a group or not. Flimsy sentiments like t-shirts and Instagram shoots mean absolutely nothing if you aren’t willing to research, educate and correct others and correct the faults in your own reasoning. Stop letting businesses exploit your emotions and tendency to buy on impulse. To them, your political discontentment is just a trend, so it’s time to prove your mindset with concrete actions.