Dear Family and Friends,
I know many of us shop on Black Friday for good deals. This year, after the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson and many other deaths, many of us have been shocked, angry, and sad. It is hard to imagine if any of us (or our kids) were shot by police how our parents would feel if they were told that there would be no trial. But that happened here. So why am I asking you not to spend money on Black Friday?
People in this country are so scared of Black people and so racist toward Black people, that they will stand by and allow cops to shoot unarmed Black men and kids on the street without holding them accountable. They also lock up more Black people than any other group. Truthfully, we as Asians aren’t targeted as much, so it’s easier for us to turn away and say that’s somebody else’s problem. But we have power too, and when you have power, you can’t look around and pretend that you can’t do anything to help. So we have to choose whether we use the power we have as a people for good, or for evil.
It is only a matter of time before all this racism hurts us more than it already does. People protest (and sometimes they riot) because they have tried to live under the law, but the law doesn’t protect them. They know the legal system doesn’t work. So what else can they do? That’s what’s happening with some people right now. They are angry because they feel helpless. They can’t go to court and ask for justice.
I went and protested in New York City, but there are many other ways for us to fight for justice. I hope you will consider not spending money on Black Friday to support the Black people of this country. I hope you will consider asking your friends not to spend money. There’s a call to boycott Black Friday in support of Black people’s lives because so much of the property-protection system in the United States is based on cops who discriminate against Black people. We benefit from this system, so we have to speak out, as much as the next person. It’s also to add to the power of Black people who have a lot of buying power.
I know this request might mean missing out on a sale for something that you’ve wanted and haven’t been able to afford, but what it also means is that in our own small way we will be supporting the many Black people in this country who deserve to live in peace and safety. Black folks are our people too. Just like we are theirs. Their leadership in, and creation of, the civil rights movement increased our rights as Asians. For that, we can be grateful. No laptop, computer, phone, television, or device, is worth the sorrow of the fathers, mothers, daughters, and brothers out there. We love family, so we know this is important.
As Asian immigrants and children of immigrants, we benefit from a system built on the backs of Black people enslaved by white people. We still benefit from a system that imprisons, beats down, and kills so many Black lives. I wish this were an exaggeration, but you all know I was a lawyer for years. I witnessed first-hand that the system is unfair to Black people. I want to love this country, but only if I can be a part of making it greater and welcoming to all people. Let’s join together.
It’s for these reasons that I urge you not to buy anything on Black Friday.
Please consider sharing my note with our other relatives and friends. Or, of course, write your own.