yeloson: (Default)
[personal profile] yeloson
"I'm going to tell you what to do with your money!"

A Black family decides to shop only at Black owned businesses for a year.

I'm saddened but not surprised at the difficulty. I'm also not surprised at the backlash against them. I think nothing incurs white anger faster than POC making open declarations of attempting to build their own bases of power from which to operate.

The backlash they got is ridiculous and yet so revealing; it's a society-wide abuse dynamic. You might be able to yell, or even hit an abuser in return, but anything that smacks of leaving the relationship, of achieving an option of NOT needing them, whether that's a career, life, or relationships outside of it? That's the kind of stuff that earns the harshest reprisals.

In this case, suggesting they were going to spend their money, how they wanted to? WHITE RAGE. I mean, for the same folks who tell us Affirmative Action is a bad idea, are now telling other people how to spend their hard earned money... that they're now no longer willing to trust in competition, meritocracy, and the market forces to handle it... suddenly THIS is a threat?

Leaving = Hating, or something

This backlash isn't a new idea to me- I've encountered it many, many times before.

It says a lot about someone when they react negatively to this statement, "Here is a (business, community, organization) where I am treated poorly and receive poor service. I'm going to go elsewhere, or, if the means are available, to build an elsewhere, where this doesn't happen."

I mean, they babble around the issues a lot, but ultimately it comes down to, "No! You can't do that! Why are you so full of hate and rage? Why do you want to harm these people?"

Last I checked, "I'm leaving" is usually the least harmful and least hateful way to respond to negativity.

Fascinating that it is now considered an act of aggression. Of course, if you know how abuse dynamics work and how abusers get when you try to leave... well, there's that backlash right there.

I think what is happening when people make these arguments is that they're desperately trying to defend their world-view that this situation isn't actually what it is. That they're not participating in a system that's treating some worse than others (which might be their role as perpetrator, or person acted upon by people they care about, or both).

The abuser and the abused are often both deeply committed to maintaining the illusion of a functional situation, because otherwise, things need to be recognized about what's going on, and then choices have to be made.

Which is why, of course, for the family in the link- the backlashers never stop to ask, "Where are the Black businesses?" in the first place . Because that would entail recognizing the real problem, which is totally not how -this- particular family spends their money.

Date: 2010-05-01 07:30 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (oofuri mitts)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
Thanks for that link--that was really interesting. And yeah, the first thing that occurred to me was how difficult it probably was.

Some of the same arguments come up in the blogosphere when people talk about things like [livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc or spending their book money strategically (only on books by POCs or whatever): OMG why are you hating? Why are you going to harm white authors who never had anything to do w/Racefail blah blah blah?

Date: 2010-05-01 08:27 am (UTC)
rydra_wong: Chiana from Farscape in a silly hat, captioned "really white girls against racism" (Chi - *really* white girls)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
I remember that during RaceFail, there was a lot of similar outrage when people said that they weren't going to buy books by Bear or Shetterly or whoever anymore. Because how dare you exercise your right as a reader not to buy a book because you don't want to buy it!

Date: 2010-05-01 08:35 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (dtb suou scream)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
IT'S ALL CENSORSHIP!!!!1

Date: 2010-05-01 08:19 am (UTC)
surpassingly: (kitteh: mew mew mew!)
From: [personal profile] surpassingly
Yeah. It says a lot when people attack what's basically a consumer choice rather than being more open to the fact that, hey, maybe this system really is flawed. Maybe it doesn't afford some people the same range of choices it gives others. Maybe for some there's a lack of opportunity -- to buy, to sell, to express one's preferences with the same ease (of transaction, of maximizing what's at hand) that others have -- in the market that needs to be addressed. Maybe this is a reaction to some sort of inequality in how our markets work and are constructed.

Ah, sorry about the babble! It's very much related to some academic interests, so! But, yeah... economics. It's not just about the health of the market (which, wtf, is not adversely affected by consumers' decisions to buy what they want to buy), but also about the power imbalance that influences and informs said market. Just that asking the question -- what's wrong with the market, where are these businesses? -- would reveal an imbalance where many would very much prefer to believe there is none.

ETA: After my first read, I'm saving the article for reread. Thanks so much for the link. A lot of food for thought! (And... erm... anger.)
Edited (agh, so much teal deer, sorry, but just to add) Date: 2010-05-01 08:26 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-01 06:34 pm (UTC)
willow: Raspberry on black background. Text: Original Unfiltered Willow (Willow:Unfiltered)
From: [personal profile] willow
Reading that article, I couldn't help but think 'So they're practicing Ujamaa all year long'. And then pondering at how if it's black owned, apparently many AA won't patron it and then thinking about how they're only too happy to celebrate Kawanzaa with seven days of gifts.

Date: 2010-05-01 08:29 pm (UTC)
quivo: A lowercase q on a pink-and-brown backround. (Default)
From: [personal profile] quivo
Thanks for the link and the meta. Depressing, but really very true.

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