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A Call for 'Respectful' Black Friday Celebrations

A Call for 'Respectful' Black Friday Celebrations

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Dear fellow Northwestern students,

With Black Friday happening this weekend, we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the actual meaning of the occasion, and how that should guide the way we celebrate this Friday.

Every year, our campus suffers from some form of culturally offensive activity that isolates many people and entire communities, which consequently affects the broader Northwestern community. So every year, we must write this letter to caution our friends, peers, and communities to not allow this day — or any other — to become an occasion to have fun at the expense of our peers and the cultures and traditions we should cherish.

Black Friday is primarily celebrated in the United States, and does not commemorate the mostly African-American ensemble of the 1995 film Friday led by Ice Cube and Bernie Mac. Instead, Black Friday refers to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day and is often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Although it is not officially recognized as a federal holiday, it is celebrated throughout the United States.

This occasion is used to celebrate the holiday season and rampant capitalism through sales, discounts, physical altercations over a zhu-zhu pet, and occasionally murder. Unfortunately, instead of partaking in these cultural celebrations, some of our peers choose to throw “Black Friday” themed parties that are insensitive, offensive, and detrimental to our community. Watching the film Friday (or the following sequels) while smoking weed, shooting guns or dressing up as an “Ice Cube” do not commemorate Black Friday; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members who choose to partake in this sacred tradition.

This weekend, please join us in honoring the tradition of Black Friday with appropriate, tasteful and respectful celebration. On Friday morning, we’ll be at the K-Mart waiting in line for discounted piñatas, tortillas, fake mustaches, and sombreros--hope to see you there!

Yours Truly,
Smangston Hughes
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