Sunday, December 23, 2007

On The Quiet Boycott

(What I won't be driving in 2008)



I visited the blog What About Out Daughters? this morning a saw a post about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). I have a grudge against PETA for their 2005 ad campaign which juxtaposed pictures of African Americans and Animals. I suppose their point was don't treat animals the way African Americans were treated. Since then I have no use what so ever for PETA. They are on my boycott list.

Gina's post at What About Our Daughters? made a valid point about PETA's ability to get their message out. I agree they can get their message out effectively and quickly. Even when it's the wrong message.

But seeing Gina's post about PETA and how I feel about them made me wonder how many other African Americans quietly boycott companies that offend them racially.

I have a list of companies that I will not under any circumstance patronize. Kentucky Fried Chicken is one. They have been using the racist song Sweet Home Alabama in their ads for quite sometime. And even though there is a KFC just a few blocks from me (which would be very convenient on those days when I don't feel like cooking) I refuse to ever shop with them again.

Volkswagen is another company I refuse to patronize. Volkswagen has an SUV called the Touareg. The name Touareg refers to a nomadic people who live in West Africa that where instrumental in capturing and selling slaves in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Even today the Touareg are known to hold slaves and to be very racist against Black Africans.

So Volkswagen will never, ever get any of my money. Not one year from now or 20 years from now.

Another company I refuse to patronize is Viacom. They are the media giant responsible for more stereotyping of African Americans then any other entity. On their cable outlets you can see great examples of Viacom's use of stereotyping for profit on VH1, BET and MTV.

So since ala carte cable is not available, this past summer I cancelled my cable. I refuse to give any money to Viacom. I will not help to pay for the racist programming they put on the air.

Every time you pay your cable bill a portion of your money goes directly to Viacom.

So even though there are no mass boycotts of these companies by African Americans, I quietly boycott them myself. I will never forget these offences by these companies and refuse to cross my own self imposed picket line.

Recently at work we had a luncheon, the group in charge bought KFC. And even though I was really looking forward to eating lunch that day (I was so hungry). Once I realized what they had planned for lunch I declined to eat.

And even though I plan to buy a car in 2008 and would have surely had a Volkswagen Beetle on my list of possible choices. I refuse to even consider a Volkswagen.

Do you quietly boycott companies that have offended your racial sensibilities? If so what companies and why?


10 comments:

Anali said...

Nice blog you have here. I already have a VW Beetle, so it's too late to not be in love with my car. I also thought about the Nazi history it had too, but I read a lot about it and decided that I thought it was okay to purchase.

I find that the older I get, the more places there are to boycott and choose to stay away from. It can become overwhelming at times and I feel like I'm focusing on the negative. Recently, I've been trying to focus on the positive and give my money to businesses that I think are doing right. For me, that's meant supporting local farmers, artists, and buying handmade items. It really makes me feel like my money is doing good. Very thought provoking post...

Don said...

Sadly, I don't partake in any company boycotts. But I will boycott another human being in a minute. I don't understand racism. I once took the time to try and understand how another human being can hate another human being simply by the color of ones' skin but I got my haands bloody...

I'm just f'ing with you, Mes. lol.

Good post though.

jose said...

While I agree with the premise of your post, my question is: don't we support the descendants of slave masters and the industrial slavery just by standing where we do? Paying taxes to this country means that we pay taxes to the progenitors of the institutional racism that still exists. We also interestingly enough have tons of companies on the list that continue to incorporate themselves into the prison industrial complex, another system of slavery. The list reads like a dossier of the top companies in the world. Even IBM, who power even the most innocuous of companies in their machinery, once made the supercomputers that racialized Nazi Germany and made all those codes.

With that said, what do we do?

Ebonne said...

Its crazy..., what are we going to have to do to get a balance on television... the amount of shows like I love new york and flava of love are ridiculous. I dont think they are flat out bad... but if that's the only perception that the young black youth have of african american on television then there is a problem. There needs to be a balance with more engaging, succesful african american shows

Mes Deux Cents said...

Anali,

That's a really good way to use your spending power, supporting local business.

I think that's something I want to do more of. And you're right it can be overwhelming to have to consider so much when spending money.

Thanks for stopping by

___________________________________

Don,

Lol, @boycotting humans.

___________________________________

Jose,

What do we do? Well we can do what we can to not support those that are doing direct harm.

I know that the list can get kind of long. So I guess the best way to handle that is to prioritize. Who is doing the most harm or who is doing harm in the areas that one is most concerned with.

For instance; I'm very concerned with negative media portrayals. So I chose to cancel my cable. This way rather than just complaining about BET, I've actually done something.
___________________________________

Ebonne,

That is the problem exactly, no balance. All we see are these crazy portrayals. We never see nice normal middle class Black families for instance.

Afrodite said...

I've boycott BET for a while and people still don't get it. Oh well.

Love your blog by the way.

Monica Roberts said...

Right now I'm boycotting ANY Jamaican products because of the hideaus anti-GLBT violence going on down there.

Mango Mama said...

MDC, I truly applaud your discipline, but unfortunately, the quiet boycott approach doesn't necessarily hit these companies where it matters most--- in their bottom line (profits/losses). We've got to find some 21st century method to drive the point home and stop acting like sheep to slaughter.

clnmike said...

I boycott Nike because of the child labor they were practicing havent worn a single product since the earlier 90's but that might have something to do with my hatred of Jordan.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Afrodite,

Boycotting BET is always a good idea. And thanks!


_____________________________________

Monica,

I've read and heard a lot about the violence in Jamaica. Stancyann Chin's story is a perfect example of what goes on there.


___________________________________

Mango Mama,

I feel like there might be untold numbers of people who like me, quietly boycott companies.

If that's so then it does affect their bottom line. Imagine if there are 100,000 other African Americans who have cancelled their cable because of BET. The media may never cover a story like that and yet it would be having quite an effect on cable companies and Viacom.

But you're right about finding new ways to protest.

___________________________________

ClnMike,

Nike is a good company to boycott. They are always up to something.

I'm not a MJ fan either.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron