Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pride Month Protest

     We all know that this month is Pride Month. And with celebrating and embracing all that we are, in supporting our friends and our family, in fighting against ignorance and hatred, we must remember that we cannot simply show up for a Pride Parade once a year and then try to assimilate into the heterosexual culture. We have to be smart. Not only in who we vote for, but also in where we shop. Target, for example, we can all enjoy that place, can’t we? Decent clothes, music, D.V.D.s, books, magazines and even video games, all in one place. Better selection then K-Mart without the corporate evils of Walmart, right?
     Well, almost. Actually, they contributed money, $150,000, to MN Forward (Minnesota Forward is a political action group that is funded by local corporations. Its mission statement says that, "MN Forward is an effort by Minnesota job providers to elect a governor and state legislators who understand the importance of creating private-sector jobs and economic opportunity in our state."). MN Forward then used the money to run television ads* for Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who, along with being well known for his anti - gay beliefs, has also himself contributed $250 to a Christian rock band that has been known to speak harshly of gays (The band’s name is: Junkyard Prophet). He said on his campaign website, “As a legislator, I have consistently supported the constitutional marriage amendment that protects traditional marriage.”

     Target is quoted as saying, “Our support of causes and candidates is based strictly on issues that affect our retail and business objectives.”
     Still, Target is not alone. There's also Best Buy, which is a good place for C.D.s, D.V.D.s and all your electronic or entertainment needs, right? Only if you like to entertain the idea that they spent $100,000 supporting Tom Emmer and MN Forward. So, what Target and Best Buy are telling you, the LGBTQIAP community is that, “We like you and all, but, uh, our profit margin is more important then you.”
     Is that the place you want to spend your money? My high school Economics teacher (or maybe it was my Accounting teacher, I’m unsure) once said, “You vote with your money.”
     Of course, you might be asking, “But Alexander, where do I go to get the stuff I normally buy at those stores (Target and Best Buy)?”
     I am still up to my eyeballs in researching these companies and corporations, but if you are going to ‘vote with your money,’ I would say places like K-Mart, Radioshack, FYE and Hot Topic would be good places to go. Are they the easiest and the cheapest choices to make? Maybe not. Are they principled? Yes. Would shopping at these locations instead of Target or Best Buy show respect for yourself, your friends, your families and your peers? Absolutely! So! Do the entire LGBTQIAP community, and yourself, a favor, and if you are going to shop, shop responsibly this Pride month, and every day, month and year that follows.

     And as kind of an after thought. Don’t shop in silence. Feel free to talk to your friends, family, neighbors and co - workers. If we are going to protests these people for the homophobic and close minded decisions they have made, we must do it on a grand scale.

* MN Forward actually donated 97% of its $1.9 million in contributions toward supporting Emmer.

With Great Hope,

Alexander Fisher

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