Buy USA, Vote With Your Dollar

One solution to slacktivism is seeking right brands

Recent social and political movements have motivated teens to share their political stances via social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Viral posts include an IGTV video dismantling systemic racism and an infographic about why the police should be defunded.

Clearly, these examples are from two different sides of the political spectrum, both of which have large youth followings on social media.

However, since most high schoolers are not of voting age, they often fail to inform their political views from anywhere other than the digital world.

This action, or lack thereof, is a form of slacktivism, a term coined by Dwight Ozard and Fred Clark in 1995. In their usage, the term had a positive connotation and referred to the “bottom up activities by young people to affect society on a small personal scale.” Now, the term refers to lazy activism which requires little effort or commitment and does not truly spur change.

Instead of posting a black square on Instagram in support of BLM or changing your profile photo to support the current mainstream humanitarian issue, young people should find impactful ways to help the causes they care about.

One of the simplest ways to do this, is to be mindful of where you shop and what companies you endorse. For instance, a study has linked 82 suppliers, including Abercombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Gap, H&M, and Nike, to forced Uyghur labor within Chinese internment camps.  Purchasing from these brands makes one compliant in the violation of human rights, and continuing to support them while speaking out against the atrocity clearly illustrates slacktivism.

Yes, finding transparent brands takes more time and, potentially, money. But, by supporting brands like Los Angeles Apparel and New Balance, both of which produce their pieces in the USA, you are supporting American jobs and contributing to an ethical economy that prioritizes their workers and the quality of their pieces.

The Center for American Progress reports that in the 2000s, US multinational corporations cut their work forces in the states by 2.9 million, and increased employment overseas by 2.4 million.

Supporting brands that manufacture in the states is a patriotic effort that supports the economic growth of the USA and helps create more jobs for Americans by fueling businesses.

Furthermore, one can take the initiative of supporting local small businesses, rather than large corporations. By supporting one’s community, you contribute to the growth and success of entrepreneurs while boosting the economic status of your neighborhood.

Deciding where to spend your money at a young age leads to financially and ethically conscious decisions in the future. Generation Z will not be limited to the digital world forever. Thus they must begin to find more direct methods of activism within their individual life choices.