The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


A different kind of boycott

 A different kind of boycott
A different kind of boycott

A different kind of boycott

No doubt some of you have already read my columns on this page.After inundating the newspaper almost daily with my opinions, theygraciously asked me if I’d like to have a regular column. Itjust goes to show that the squeaky wheel really does get thegrease. I can only hope that my columns prove to be more than justnoise.

Noise, however, is not always a bad thing, especially ifit’s used to wake people up politically or to increaseawareness on topics of importance. Boycotts are another way ofaccomplishing the same goal.

Throughout history, the boycott has been employed routinely as ameans of protest, usually with the intent to shame and/or punishthe actions or policies of an individual or group.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, African Americans employed boycottsas a weapon to end discrimination and segregation in theirnon-violent resistance movement.

The Montgomery bus boycott, sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parksfor refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger, was one suchboycott, which resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling statingAlabama’s racial segregation laws for buses wereunconstitutional.

Hispanics, under the leadership of César Chávezand the United Farm Workers, boycotted grapes and lettuce toattract attention to unfair labor practices and inhumane workingconditions.

In 1980, the United States boycotted the Moscow Summer Games toprotest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Where, you ask, is this civics lesson going?

Tomorrow a group calling itself the Boycott for Equality isorganizing a nation-wide boycott asking gays and lesbians and theirstraight allies to “drop out of the United States economy forone day to demonstrate that [gays] are vital and important membersof [American] communities with significant economicpresence.” Not the most articulately worded statement, but noless significant.

To achieve the desired goal, the group is asking that gays,lesbians and their supporters: 1) not go to work, 2) not spend anymoney, 3) withdraw $80 from their bank accounts, the amountestimated that each gay man and lesbian woman contributes to theeconomy on a daily basis and 4) not to use their cell phones.

What do cell phones have to do with boycotts? I wondered thesame thing. Apparently cell phone companies track daily usage, soby not using cell phones tomorrow, companies will be able to trackthe direct impact that gays and lesbians have on the financialsuccess of the cellular industry.

According to organizers, the Boycott for Equality has beenplanned as a response to President Bush’s support of theFederal Marriage Amendment, Congress’ refusal to pass anon-discrimination law that includes gays and lesbians, and themilitary’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policy that,according to boycott organizers, “continues to make a mockeryof the service of lesbian and gay service people.”

“GLBT citizens pay taxes everyday to support ourgovernment and society, just like heterosexual citizens. As such,we will no longer be treated as second-class citizens without thefull protection of the law in employment non-discrimination orlegal status in marriage, adoption or other rights,” DaleDuncan, boycott organizer, said.

What kind of impact could such a boycott have on the economy?Studies suggest that gays and lesbians contribute $500 billionannually to the US economy and that the one-day boycott could havea negative impact of over $1.4 billion.

The reality, however, is that the boycott is unlikely to realizeits goal. The reasons are many, lack of planning and publicitybeing one, and the general apathy or unwillingness of most gays andlesbians to participate in anything that might inconvenience thembeing another.

Why do I say that? Simple, gays are voracious consumers andmaterialistic beyond any straight person’s imagination.Asking gay men not to go shopping, eat at a restaurant or use theircell phones on a Friday is no more realistic than asking JimmySwaggart to officiate at a same-sex wedding on national TV.

That said, what do I personally intend to do? Honor the boycottas much as possible. After all, it’s just one day. Andit’s not like they’re asking me to give up Diet Cokefor Lent.

What can you do? Well, if you’re gay or lesbian or astraight ally, all I can say is do what your consciencedictates.

As a teacher, I cannot ask anyone to miss class, but you couldfind some way of making your sentiments known. For example, youcould wear an article of clothing as a visual statement of yoursolidarity.

But if you’re going to do it, you might as well make itfun. What about wearing something pink or purple? After all, onemeaning of gay is “bright” or “lively,” asin “don we now our gay apparel.”

“Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la, la, la…”

It’s settled: I hereby declare tomorrow Pink-n-Purple Day.So, if you see someone dressed in pink or purple, be aware of thecourage it took to take a stand by standing out.

For more information concerning the boycott


George Henson is a lecturer of Spanish. He may be contactedat [email protected].

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