Ace's View

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Archive for November 2015

Lack Friday

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I write this, slightly discouraged and dismayed, but with a sense of purpose.

And normally I would write this post in a fashion where the purpose would be at the end, but since we seem to be running short on time (in a lot of different ways, but more on that later)—I’ll get to the point.

If you have any bit of conscience, keep yourselves away from the stores on Black Friday and in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday.

If you are black (or for that matter, any disenfranchised minority) and have any bit of conscience, you will not give any of these retailers a dime, as it appears that the majority of them will take your money for pies, for example, but will not settle for a life taken in their store at the hands of overzealous police officers.

If you do not fall into the above category or just think “well, this social justice movement doesn’t apply to me” or, better yet, follow the #AllLivesMatter crowd…think of it this way:

If that hashtag were true, there would be no issue with say…JC Penney’s closing its doors on Thursday afternoon instead of opening…at…3pm.

This means that all shapes, sizes and sorts of employees will line up to make a tad above minimum wage and be away from their families on Thanksgiving Day (because you know they’ll have to be there BEFORE 3pm, right?)

I’m straying from the topic, here.  What I intended to do tonight was to make an attempt at talking to those who doubt that an economic boycott could actually work, for a bunch of different reasons, because those are the ones that matter, here.

The ones that are going to be absent from the stores, such as myself, do not need any extra convincing.  The ones that are going to go regardless cannot be convinced otherwise, as they only see the benefit in meeting their immediate need to purchase items that will be forgotten about in five years or less.

This is strictly for the ones who might go out on Black Friday and the days after.  If you absolutely must shop on Black Friday:

  • Patronize a black-owned/operated business.

 

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually not as easy for some people as it may seem.  There aren’t a lot of brick-and-mortar black-owned businesses outside of our neighborhoods, but this is your chance to find one (or several) and make every effort to keep your dollars circulating in your community while simultaneously giving someone a gift that they will appreciate.  In short, do business with people who want you in their store.  But if you must shop outside of the community and go into a mainstream/big-box store:

 

  • Find a black or minority employee to assist you.

Working in retail for many years and for different companies, every reward system is different.  Most companies (ex: Best Buy, Target, Meijer, Toys ‘R Us) do not necessarily pay their employees commission in monetary form, but some have a reward-based incentive program for employees that perform well and meet certain sales goals.  Also notable: the customer service survey that corporate pays more attention to than just about anything.  Seek out a minority to help you out and if you must spend in stores like this, give the person credit for bringing that store your business.  It will definitely help them out.

 

  • Make an attempt to spend less than you did last year.

 

I must stress this because last year marked a 10% drop in Black Friday sales overall.  With retailers starting their promotions early and offering unheard of deals to generate more traffic in their stores, they are counting on your dollars to boost them this holiday season.  Now, imagine, if you were in the stores last holiday season, leaving with either half as many items and being more focused on what you’re buying—or, better yet, shopping smart and making a point to get your list fulfilled without spending nearly as much as last year.  The goal should be to keep as much money in your pocket as possible.

 

  • Document your experiences while shopping.

 

I recommend this because some people who are participating in this year’s boycott are not necessarily doing so in protest over treatment in this country, but their treatment while shopping last year in certain stores.  It may be A Very Amazon Christmas for a lot of people, simply because customer service was lacking in a lot of areas for a good chunk of major retailers last season.  So keep a running record of where you are treated like your dollars are valued, and where it seems as if the only way you would get attended to in the store is by slipping on a wet floor.

 

Finally,

 

  • Stay away from stores who put profit over their employees.

 

As I mentioned in the earlier paragraph, stores like JC Penney and others who will be open on Thanksgiving Day definitely do not think enough of their employees to give them one full holiday off (aside from Christmas itself, but if demand increases enough for people to want to shop on Christmas, that will happen too.) Speak with your presence in their store and keep your dollars out of their registers, and I can guarantee that they will start closing their doors on Thanksgiving Day in years to come.

 

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to make them in the comments below.

 

What will follow this entry, starting this Friday, will be a feature on black-owned and operated businesses that I personally have either patronized or will be patronizing during this holiday season.

 

If you have any other ones that aren’t in this link that I should either check into or you just want to give them a plug, also: comments.

Written by aceviewblogger

November 23, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

On Neverland, Chi-raq, and Black Apathy

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I’m a big fan of memes (when done correctly), and there was one a few months back that seems particularly fitting for what I’m about to write.

The story of Peter Pan was in one, with someone’s take on the tale that Pan was, in fact, an angel who escorted the children off to a world beyond this one (Neverland) where they never grew up, because they were already dead.  Thus, they were perpetually stuck forever in childhood.

The meme ended with another cartoon with the caption “Boom. Childhood Ruined.”

And it all seems to make so much sense lately.


This post wasn’t meant to be a response to 9-year old Tyshawn Lee’s murder.

Or, a few miles away in the same city, the murder of Kaylyn Miller, a 20-year old aspiring model.

Or Spike Lee’s release of the “Chi-raq” trailer, less than 24 hours after the death of both of the aforementioned, which is garnering more controversy than anything he’s done in quite some time.

No, this wasn’t intended to be a post about anything, because I wasn’t going to write anything.

Please understand, my hands have grown tired of typing blog posts that will be forgotten until the next child is murdered.

My mind is filled with the faces of children who never had the chance to grow up.  And although I’m sure my brain can hold more than I can imagine, it sure feels like I’m running out of real estate to house them all.

Worst of all, my soul is becoming more and more numb to these deaths, which is probably all by design.

So forgive me if this isn’t as cohesive as it should be, but I’m…

Tired.  Of all of it.

Which leads me back to this:

I was fortunate enough to be in a location at work today where I had my laptop with me, but no wi-fi signal.

I say fortunate, because the discussion I followed on one of my friend’s Facebook feed became so volatile that I was just glad I wasn’t able to view it on a larger screen, lest I be able to see the indifference of some people and the misdirection of others to the suffering of our people in my home city.

Now, this friend of mine I’ve discussed in this blog on several different occasions.  If anybody loves and overstands black people and all of the strengths and faults we have as a nation within this nation, it’s her.

And yet, I’ve seen the same numbness and fatigue making its way into her posts lately.  I recognize it as my own.

Sometimes it feels like the battle we fight by trying to save those who reflect us is fruitless and bears no real purpose other than to give us something to do.

And then, I see her follow these posts with a proud post of something about how her daughter reflects her, whether it be in fashion or knowledge.

About how her son applies a lesson she instilled in him at some point either long ago or recently in his young life.

About how her kids keep her going.

And then I am reminded of why I hurt when my city hurts:

Because these kids are ours.

These kids are us.

When the community we live in is falling apart and people start typing out solutions that involve bringing in more police, more National Guardsmen, more gun restrictions, more…

I notice that no one ever says, what about more hope for these kids?

How about more value on life and those that look like you and yours?

When will we take one of them under our wing and do all we can to keep these kids out of harm’s way?

If there are truly more of us than there are those who have ill intent, shouldn’t this be simple?

Of course it’s never that easy.  Nothing worth having and keeping ever is.

But it seems to be all we have.

This isn’t a fairy tale or a movie.  There is no perpetual childhood, even, as far as we know, those who catch bullets earlier than our earthly minds can imagine.

What this is should be a call to action for the rest of us left on this coil to do all that we can to turn this fearlessness that we seem to have for each other and direct it towards the system that placed us here to profit from us and discard us after we’re used up.

We are less than a month removed from the “Justice…Or Else” movement that culminated with thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., so here’s what I’m suggesting:

We reach out to these young folks, one at a time, at least, and find out what we can do to help them, individually.

Again, this won’t be easy to do, and I’m open to any positive suggestions as to how.

But I am more than willing to put forth the energy that I have left into this, rather than typing more eulogies for children and young men and women who will never grow old.

Written by aceviewblogger

November 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized