And I didn’t disappoint. I gave honest and thorough thoughts and dropped my Paypal.me link, allowing people to send whatever they thought my posts were worth. Maybe that was the problem. Because the posts didn’t generate much money.
And I felt embarrassed using it.
I felt embarrassed asking people to pay for my intellectual labor. I felt like this service might be something I should be doing for free. Or at least, not asking for payment? It's obvious that I’ve internalized a few fallacies…
1. Intellectual and emotional labor are not “real” labor.
2. My intellectual and emotional labor should be given away for free.
3. I shouldn’t ask white people, the beneficiaries of my labor, to pay for it.
When I’ve tried to sell things on Facebook yard sale groups, I’ve been asked to lower prices for things I’ve wanted to sell. My “everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt” self has just assumed, “Oh, people haggle prices all the time!” Until I started seeing people selling used, easily accessible baby carriers, like the Infantino Sash for $30 when you can purchase them new at Walmart or Target online for $25. And people buy them used for $30!
When my family was moving earlier this summer, we listed our 2 year old washer and dryer pair for $300 each. Great condition and lightly used. No takers. People who showed interest wanted me to lower the price. Later, after we dropped the price to $200 each, I came across a post from just a few weeks earlier, with 8 people inquiring about a washer that was over a decade old and dirty for $175. “Maybe its me," I thought. “Maybe I’m the only one who thinks a new-ish appliance is worth a little more than something that is 10 years old." But no. The differences are glaring.
It has been apparent that all people want a good deal. But in America, white people expect a discount when PoC are dispensing goods; I’m just not sure if its because they think we don’t deserve what our products or services are worth, or if they think they should get a discount because they have PoC germs on them.
This brings me to my next point.
This November, immediately following the historic upset (to some, it's a historic win for too many), a host of people took to wearing safety pins in solidarity with marginalized people who would fall victim to the Trump hammer. Safety Pin Nation, a Facebook group, and I assume the center of the safety pin hub, describes itself as “Stories & resources about being an ally to POC, people of different faiths, women, PWD, & LGBTQ folk. Wearing a safety pin is a promise & a responsibility.” Along with Pantsuit Nation, Safety Pin Nation sets itself up as a place to make white people feel better by doing very little. People of Color have been speaking out for so very long about how the world really works outside of the white privilege bubble, and how white supremacy hurts us. But suddenly, after an upset in the presidential election, white people are now able to understand and identify microaggressions and defend us against bigotry? No.
They don’t. And the implication is insulting.
Enter Leslie Mac and Marissa Jenae’s Safety Pin Box. From their website:
This subscription box is intended for white people who want to consistently contribute to Black liberation financially while doing measurable support work for the movement and learning what it takes to dismantle white supremacy. Safety Pin Box encourages white people to take initiative in contributing to the movement for Black lives, while getting guidance and educational resources from Black women.
And that there is the problem for so many people.
One of the best things about Safety Pin Box is that it is a business that gives proceeds to Black women. Black women are running a business that provides a service to white people, with proceeds going to Black women. And this fact makes people incredibly uncomfortable. How dare these, these BLACK women ask for money? For payment for a service/product they offer?