I get mail, paper and electronic. Today’s winner is this one:
Hey, you sell and ship a lot of stuff, and you write about racism, so I’m tossing this question to you — I don’t care if you post your reply, but please don’t out me. (Outing my stupidity is fine! Just not me!)
My question is this: Is it OK if I use torn pages etc. from publications like Jet magazine as packing material, or is that offensive?
Obviously, this is a white person who is worried about this, right? Right.
Why would anyone else even consider what magazines, newspapers, etc. were used as packing material? As long as it’s not Playboy pictorials or other adult stuff, who cares? Even magazine collectors like myself don’t wince (too badly) at the thought of destroying publications in terms of recycling them rather than collecting the past issues or saving them for future collectors.
This is one of those cases of being so overly sensitive to race issues that you go full circle and become racist.
The underlying premise here is based on faulty and racist assumptions:
1. That all people are white unless otherwise stated. And so…
* Not knowing otherwise, the seller here fears that a white person will be somehow offended by a non-white publication included in their box of merchandise.
* The assumed-to-be-white person receiving this package will now assume the seller is black — heaven forbid!
2. That people of color are intolerant and ridiculously possessive of their culture. And so…
* Should the recipient be a person of color, they will somehow be offended that anyone would ruin a proper African-American publication in such a fashion.
* A non-white person receiving their order with such packaging will assume the seller is also non-white; the seller has somehow misrepresented themselves.
3. That people should only read or subscribe to publications by color. And so…
* Any person of any color will find a white person reading or subscribing to any publications for or by persons of color to be some sort of poser or culture-thief.
These are not only faulty and racist assumptions, but fear based ones which, when given in to, perpetuate stereotypes and limit us all.
So my response is this: In the spirit of saving the planet by recycling, in the spirit of saving the planet by practicing brotherly and sisterly love, please, use any and all of your unwanted publications as packing materials — including your Jet Magazine. Treat your publications as you do people — as equals.
I would recycle my copies of Jet; but I save most all of my magazine back issues, no matter their “color.”