This past Wednesday evening, families across America were more likely to be watching coverage of the fallout in Ferguson than the annual broadcast of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. At the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, protesters popped up right under Snoopy’s nose holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice No Peace” as a show of support for the victims of police brutality. The group Blackout for Human Rights has chosen, as its first official action, to organize a retail boycott of Black Friday — traditionally the nation’s biggest shopping day.
When hashtags like #NotOneDime and #stoptheparade threaten to overshadow quaint holiday greetings, maybe it means the traditions of old don’t quite cut it in these troubling times. I’m not one to suggest you don’t really need to purchase that Old Navy fleece at the discounted Black Friday price. But if the plight of your fellow man is something that concerns you, you might want to skip the sales as a show of solidarity. And if you so desperately need to fill the emotional void previously satisfied by a maddening day of wholly mercenary, conspicuous consumption, try enacting one or any of these New Black Friday Traditions we just came up with.
Get a special George Jefferson massage
With all that’s going on with race in America these days, The Jeffersons is starting to look like the height of racial harmony in hindsight. Get to know your neighbors better by recreating one of George and Mr. Bentley’s jaunty afternoon sessions. It’s also a fantastic substitute for getting trampled at the Nordstrom Rack.
Do the dishes
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Enough said.
Take a lesson from Meryl Streep about shopping
Nothing will make you think twice about bending to the whim and will of the fashion industry like Miranda Priestly’s “pile of stuff” speech – also known as the Cerulean Manifesto – from The Devil Wears Prada.
Watch a movie about civil and/or human rights activism
Obviously, the point of staying home on Black Friday isn’t just to get out of waiting around while your significant other picks out socks for some cousin. There are plenty of great films that illuminate the difficult issues our country is struggling with so publicly at the moment. Milk, Boycott, Gandhi, Malcolm X — any of these will do.
…then watch *Friday*
It’s called Friday. It has black people in it. Not everything has to be so serious.
Read a book
I can’t say it enough: This is always a good idea.
Make this your theme song for the day
It seems like 90 percent of rap songs are pro consumerism. It’s hard not think about shopping all the time people are literally barking Versace at you like some sort of mantra. It’s a little dated — and a little sexist — but De La Soul’s “Shopping Bags” is thankfully not one of those.
Pare down your Amazon wishlist
Don’t try to be slick, buddy: Shopping online still counts as shopping. But, if that is the case, wouldn’t pulling items out of your wishlist or shopping cart then count as anti-shopping? Do it. You’re never going to pull the trigger on that camping equipment anyway.
Reenact the Cerulean Manifesto
Now it’s time to see what you’ve learned. If you can reenact Miranda Priestly’s diatribe from The Devil Wears Prada using toys that you did not buy today, then Meryl Streep has done her job.
Watch this video
Go to this website. I know we’ve been talking a lot about shopping, but let’s not forget what this is about.