Comment permalink

Purple, Pink, and The Colors of Silence

I am so sick of how fashionable it is to "support" a cause by showing or wearing colors. The people who participate in this are no doubt under the assumption they are doing good - but the message it is really sending is concerning. I see these acts as a way to fit in - more than a way to help out.

During the month of October we are bombarded by PINK - pink is everything in October because it is the color that shows the world you support Breast Cancer. You know how to really support breast cancer though? Giving your time and money to that cause. What is a pink shirt or a pink bucket of chicken really doing? Well, in the first case the pink shirt tells everyone you are aware of Breast Cancer - is it helping? Probably not. You could have donated the money for that shirt directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation but I suppose you couldn't look super cool and anti-breast cancer with your friends if that was the case. In the second example you could have purchased a pink bucket of KFC chicken where KFC would have donated 50 cents of the purchase to help find a cure, but don't forget - at the same time you are exposing yourself to known carcinogens in that same chicken that might actually cause breast cancer. The message is clear but the way to express it seems a little misguided, right?

How about purple, you ask? Well, today is the day when a lot of people have decided they are going to support gay youth by wearing purple, changing their facebook picture to purple, having purple drinks and food, purple parties - all in the name of gay youth that have taken their own lives. How does this help? I don't know. I suppose the message and the media sponsored campaign against gay youth suicide is out there to make a difference - to let the gay youth know that they are "not alone" - but I feel this purple bonanza falls short on many levels. Again, the money you spent on that purple shirt could have gone right to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention instead of on a shirt you might wear one day out of the year. This foundation helps all people who may have thoughts of suicide - gay teen or not. Should the message be that we should support just gay teens? What about troubled straight teens? What about other people who have their whole lives ahead of them? Gay teen suicide is nothing new - it was just made new by the media, and much like "missing white girl syndrome" they are making it seem like there is only one type of person that matters - young, gay, attractive, white, males.

I guess what I want to say is if you want to really support something you can't just wear a color. You need to look deep inside of yourself, give yourself strength and take action. Donate your time and money to the cause you support instead of a fashion statement. The success of the whole thing depends on all of us - and perhaps the best way to destroy a cause is to commercialize it, because in the end, everyone will forget about what is really important and just wear colors - silently.