Black Friday and Consumerism, White Privilege and Buy Nothing Day

By Eugene Cho 11-20-2008

All of you who have a pulse know that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the single most crazy shopping day in the United States. It is simply called "Black Friday," and the lines to get into most places are ridunkulous. And is it just me or does it seem like there's a lot of posts on the blogosphere recently about Buy Nothing, Make Something, or simply Do Something -- so I thought I'd write something. I got in line on Black Friday once seven years ago to get a digital camera for the church in hopes of saving our church a few dollars and I will NEVER do it again. Heck, I love the church but not that much. If it was a camera for Jesus, I'd do it, but not for the church. To give you a glimpse of how crazy things can be, check out this Wal-Mart stampede clip on YouTube from a recent Black Friday.

So, I've been a fan of the Buy Nothing Day movement for several years but have had some recent reservations, or at least reflections. If you don't know what BND is, it speaks to the issue of OVERCONSUMPTION:

Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. In 2007, Buy Nothing Day falls on November 23rd in North America and November 24th internationally. It was founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by the Canadian Adbusters magazine.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 "as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption."In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, which is one of the top 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise Buy Nothing Day on CNN, but many other major television networks declined to air their ads. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations

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