Black Friday: A Special Rite of Passage With My Black Family

November 29, 2019

I’m not always the fondest of turkey, but I always look forward to shopping on Black Friday. Although the day after Thanksgiving is often reduced to “capitalist consumption for the un-woke masses,” it has become a favorite family tradition of time spent with two women I love, my mom and aunt. It always includes a meal (we rarely get to eat together now that we’re on separate coasts) and the belly-aching laughter that always ensues when we’re together, plus a few purse purchases.

To be sure, there’s more than laughs, bargain brawls or door-busting deals associated with Black Friday. In recent years, demonstrations protesting the brutal state-sanctioned violence against black folk, and calling for an end to monetizing holidays have erupted during the busiest day of the year for in-store traffic. For some, Black Friday signals participation in an oppressive capitalist paradigm. And because said system interlocks with racism, sexism, transphobia, anti-immigration and all other forms of oppression, participating in Black Friday shopping can be viewed as supporting unjust systems. For others, it is about savings and discounts on coveted items. But for me, Black Friday shopping is a trip down memory lane and a family ritual.

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