Zach McKinley / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: Boycotting brands can only do so much damage

How many of us can truly say we do not support any brands that go against our political views? Do we really put our money where our mouths are, and, better yet, is it truly possible?  

I am not anti-gay, but I eat Chick-fil-A a couple of times each week and have plenty of Nicholas Sparks' novels on my bookshelf. Both the restaurant and author have been in the hot seat for homophobic remarks, yet I have not seen a tremendous change in those I know who support their businesses.

I see plenty of vegans who are anti-animal cruelty and PETA aficionados, yet you watch them strut down the street in a pair of leather Birkenstocks. I saw the H&M monkey shirt ad with the little black boy and decided to boycott, but months later I have since returned to buy blouses. 

Gucci released a blackface sweater, yet black people still wear Gucci slides, belts, etc. Years ago, after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, we saw plenty of Americans burning his jersey due to his partnership with Nike, but that has not stopped them from rocking its latest gear. In fact, Nike’s stocks rose after this incident.

It is quite perplexing that we can be totally against what a company or brand stands for or promotes, yet still put money in its pockets.

One recent example of people backing what they support would be the protests we’ve seen by Wayfair employees. After learning that their company sold $200,000 worth of beds to a government employee to use in the detention camps at our nation’s border, some employees at the company headquarters walked out in protest. According to CNN, Wayfair then donated $100,000 to American Red Cross, but that was not enough.

It's easy to post a tweet or story stating to boycott a company, but how long can we keep it up? There can be walkouts from jobs or calls for strikes, but is it realistic for it to be sustained long enough for there to be an impact? I think it's a nice idea if we all could stick to it, but is it feasible?

I feel that if we truly only bought things that were 100% aligned with our political views, we would not be able to have access to a large variety of products. I think these protests do not enact much change, and we should seek other ways to do so.  


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