September 27, 2021

Why Boycott It?

By Randall Bolles

The wrath of the right-wing boycott has reached a confusing and conflicting plateau.

The recent decision by Nike to place Colin Kaepernick as the face of a new ad campaign has conservatives burning shoes, cutting apparel and denouncing the brand.

In a feverish attempt to show their disdain, and ultimately hurt Nike’s bottom line, it seems they are missing a very crucial point, if you pay money for a Nike product, just to burn or destroy it, you have a severe misunderstanding of what a boycott is.

This is not to say that the left has not had their blunders with boycotts.

Admittedly, Occupy Wall Street in 2011 was a disorganized nightmare as protesters had a hard time singling out what to boycott; and it became too far reaching to cause any long-lasting effect, but at least they went out and tried.

Burning shoes and clothing is the zero sum of laziness in terms of a statement.

If you dislike Nike’s decision to employ Kaepernick as their face, fine; then stop buying their products in the future, but in the meantime, maybe donate those shoes to homeless veterans that seem to be a giant vocal point for conservatives.

This is not to make any distinctions about one’s politics, the issue at hand here, besides boycotting etiquette, is people today deciding whose struggle is more important.

Minorities are targeted by police? Try being the officer. Women want equality? Everyone deserves equality. Kaepernick made a sacrifice by giving up an NFL deal? Soldiers make sacrifices. Black lives matter? All lives matter.

Just because you want to discredit someone’s struggle because you have not experienced it, does not mean that that struggle does not exist. If I were to tell women that catcalling doesn’t exist, they would tell me that I’m a man and do not understand, which would be accurate.

We saw this last year with Keurig and Starbucks. People smashed their coffee makers because the business cut advertising with Sean Hannity. Once again, a paid for product being destroyed does not constitute a boycott. Starbucks was not even avoided. Right-wingers went to the coffee chain to buy a cup of coffee with the only intention of telling the baristas that their name is Trump, so they would be forced to write Trump’s name on the cups.

If any of this comes off as childish and counter-productive, that’s because it is.

There are plenty of things worth boycotting. Priests in Pennsylvania were just found covering up the sexual abuse of over 1,000 children last month. You could skip the self-checkout lines at grocery stores to support actual humans, and if immigration is your thing, having jobs. Retail giants such as Amazon and Wal-Mart have been receiving scrutiny for sub-par wages and poor work conditions.

The contest on who has a harder go at it in America is old and played out. If a large group of people are telling you what is going on and you decide it is not true, maybe you are not paying enough attention.  

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