by Chanelle Adams
Going to the store anytime near the holidays causes me immense stress. Pressure to find the perfect gifts weighs heavy on my mind. I want to show people I appreciate them without turning my bank account into dust. On top of it all, trying to shop ethically is limited by the inadequacy of (un)Fair Trade and ‘green washing.’
How can we give gifts that communicate care under capitalism and white supremacy?
Being a consumer with radical values can be discouraging but there are ways to work around it! Shopping online saves me from being overwhelmed (or trampled in a mall) and it connects us all to products for, and by, queer folks and people of color. While most forms of goods and services include some form of exploitation, we can work to minimize harm by directly supporting smaller businesses that have anti-oppressive politics.
Whether or not you choose to buy gifts for a QTPOC potluck, for bae-friends or family members who are #woke, this list offers gift ideas to lift up causes that we can all get down for!
10 Anti(or at least less)-Oppressive Gift Ideas for Woke People:
1. Clear the Air
Not everybody needs a birthday-style glitter wall banner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect way to remind someone to keep getting free! GirlBye also does custom banners so you can create personalized messages, send affirmations, quotes, or even apologies.
Let’s leave the Suffragette white feminist shirt debacle in 2015. Support a vision of feminism led by Black transgender activists. This shirt “Real Feminists Support Trans Women and Sex Workers!” raises money to support trans and sex work activist Monica Jones.
There’s nothing better than snuggling up next to a fire while reading about resistance! Totally Radical Muslims (TRM) are an Oakland based group who started a zine to “confront, share, name and re-imagine experiences of islamophobia.”
Give the gift of supporting independent presses!
“School of Thought” is a Philly based collection of collegiate sweatshirts that imagines institutions founded on philosophies of the African diaspora in the US. In particular, QTPoC fam have flocked to Audre Lorde, Harriet Tubman, and James Baldwin designs.
Chani Nicolas, a beloved queer astrologer, offers healing words for social justice communities. On principle, Chani believe that “the experience of being accurately reflected is profoundly healing; perhaps it is the most healing thing we can offer one another. To me, this is what astrology is about.” She offers donated-based weekly horoscopes, and more in depth readings and workshops!
BRKLYN is a queer and black owned shop that sells more than just bowties! From “stay woke” to “pretty handsome” there’s a collection of tee slogans that you’ll love.
Mia McKenzie, award winning writer and founder of BGD Press, is always there for us. We look to her to explain current events with quippy commentary on the world’s fuckery. If you haven’t already, buy Mia’s award-winning novel, The Summer We Got Free and/or her collection Black Girl Dangerous On Race, Queerness, Class and Gender!
Posters brighten up a room, especially when they express liberation! Micah Bazant’s visual art contributions to social justice movements are stunning options for poster shopping. Right now, Hans Sayles is selling a limited edition letterpress print of Audre Lorde to fundraise for the Audre Lorde Project!
This book, made by life partners Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel, reclaims “traditional” Mexican dishes by looking back at the history of heritage crops and colonization.
10. Give Back to BGD!
Making a donation to BGD in someone’s name is a sweet way to sustain the labor of QTPoC community members.
Chanelle Adams, Managing Editor at BGD, wants to talk about the core issues at really inappropriate times. If she had more time (and foresight), she would make handmade gifts for her friends. She has contributed to the Feminist Utopia Project, The Media, bluestockings magazine and various zines.
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