Christmas is not only a religious holiday, but also season for shopping. The Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement was called on to respond to the economics of Christmas.
“Jesus doesn’t sell toys,” Najuma Smith-Pollard, program director for the Murray Center, told Our Weekly Los Angeles in a story comparing the roles of Jesus and and Santa Claus. “When it comes to influence, if you’re talking about selling toys, Santa has more influence.”
“Santa Claus is a less controversial symbol for people to receive, accept and promote. Jesus is totally controversial in his message, method and even in his death, burial and resurrection—everything about Jesus Christ is controversial,” she said.
Considering the difficulty of escaping the consumerism of Christmas, there’s a movement within the African American community to direct holiday shopping dollars toward Black-owned businesses. Louis Farrakhan called for a national boycott for Black Friday.
Rev. Mark Whitlock, executive director of the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, told Los Angeles Wave newspaper that this movement should also consider public policy.
“The foundation of any social movement must be about economic justice – because without economic justice, all we have is a lot of uproar and no systemic change,” said Rev. Mark Whitlock, executive director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.
“And we know as you deal with social justice and civic engagement, it often deals with public policy and public policy always proceeds economic development,” he added. “Without the proper public policy, not only do we lose the voice of government – which is the largest funding agency in the United States – but we also lose the opportunity to have companies, who tend to pivot based on public policy, get involved in that change.”
Photo Credit: Otto Yamamoto / Flickr