Saturday, September 29, 2012

does my stuff have a story?

in the last two years, i've learned more about the personal effects of globalization than i've ever known before. and i don't know that much at all. i had always been familiar with the tags that say 'made in china/honduras/indonesia/taiwan/nicaragua/panama/vietnam' but scarcely gave much thought at all about what that really means. and then i started to notice that 'made in the usa' was rather rare. and then i realized that the themes in zoolander were actually serious themes that were not made up at all. i once read in the book that triggered my recent thought on these issues that instead of asking 'what am i wearing?' we need to be thinking 'where am i wearing?' it doesn't take more than one story about a child who was hit in the face by his employer for not working on clothes fast enough, clothes that would eventually be shipped to my state and sold in the department stores where i buy christmas presents for my family. and then i think, that can't be a daily reality for every single worker in every single sweatshop in every single country. but how do i know that? i'm not there. i see pictures, and i can say that i would never want to live that reality. and then i say that they have it better than they would otherwise. they get food and clothes and a job, i say to soften my pillow at night. but what if it were me?

would i want my reality as awful as it is to be ignored or glazed over so people in the 'first world' can cure their consciences and continue as if my reality is not the reality and theirs is?

in our spare time we create blogs that document asians sleeping in libraries and tweeting about our #firstworldprobs and complaining because our iphones take too long to update. i mourn the evils that prevail in the many facets of this world, and i buy a pair of shorts at jcpenny. that's too small to make a difference, maybe. but i am interacting with the problems that exist outside my door, and it is not an interaction that makes them better. i have bought into the injustice with my purchase, and it's fifteen dollars, not even a scratch on the surface of the whole issue, but in my life, i have been polluted. it's not just about how i supported the horror. i have tainted myself. 

christians are supposed to be different. people are supposed to notice something odd about us. perhaps for me that difference begins with refusal of certain purchases. the truth is, i didn't need another pair of shorts anyway. 

i just found out there are people here who can roast their own coffee beans. and i can knit my own scarves.

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