Saturday, December 09, 2006

Deconstructing Cornelius... The Finale

Come all ye opinionated has been the driving force of the past few post. I am so grateful that silence will not be the norm in our community. Your voices and viewpoints are necessary to open dialogue as well as shape the issues that affect individual communities statewide. I'm certainly appreciative that many of you took the time to weigh in and take your positions with vigor. It is these robust, thought provoking and stimulating discussions I so value. As facilitator of this forum, I believe that every opinion carries weight and I should consider the merits of the facts presented. It's that logical element of my soul that forces me to re-examine my personal stances and reality check myself for a learning curve moment. The point that Wal Mart has barn stormed across the globe with questionable practices, demands and sorted in-house doings is factual. It can't be denied that a company of this size has peddled influence and had a pac-man attitude to all that stand in it's way. But as I see it, these tactics are not new to our economy or democracy. This country's history and for the most part, the world has been filled with large behemoth corporations that have participated in "acts of pillaging" to success. Let's not forget the Carnegie's, Rockefeller's, DuPont's, Ford, Hughes and Kennedy dynasty's had dubious business distinctions that were thought to be scandalous in their era. However, these tycoons have immortalized themselves with foundations, museums, concert halls and other ongoing sources of philanthropy benefiting a host of benefactors despite prior faults and insensitivity's. Apparently, Wal Mart is the latest incarnation of the beast that we either love or love to hate. Just as long as we can have low prices in our consumer frenzied nation. Consequently, as Arkansas's GLBTQ communities partakes of corporate benevolence, we must be willing to comprehend and accept the concepts of oppression, racism, classism and ageism that have been apart of our statewide past and present. This monetary infusion should be directed to affect change across the board, not as a means to perpetuate the status quo. Our efforts should definitely be augmented with creative fundraising, many dynamic funding sources relative to our locale and adapting grassroot models to keep the big tent erected on our own terms, not solely on corporate America. There is so much I could say and there is still much to say, therefore, the dialogue has begun, let's hear more voices from the choir.

Next post: Updates 24/7 and "Talking out Loud...!"


Joe L said...

I can speak for Little Rock Capital Pride that we are VERY interested in exploring ALL creative fundraising approachs. We welcome input from anyone on ways that we can build a Pride event of, by and for the GLBT community.

Nick said...

Of the many, many problems that arise from accepting the $5,000 Wal-Mart grant, the most fundamental is that Wal-Mart’s recent sponsorship of GLBT community events will silence progressive decent and radical thought within the queer community. Let me explain:

If Joe is successful in securing Wal-Mart as a sponsor for Capital Pride, it is a fair assumption (given the way sponsorship works) that Wal-Mart’s logo will be plastered on promotional material, the website, and any schedules or programs that Capital Pride may produce. There will be no mention at Capital Pride or on the promotional material of Wal-Mart’s exploitation of women, people of color, low-wage workers, immigrants, and the environment. So while Joe and Donna Marie may admit that these practices are part of everyday business for Wal-Mart, and that they do not support such oppression; to the general public this dialogue will be non-existent. Rather than being encouraged to discuss the complex interaction between racism, sexism, classism, and queerphobia and Wal-Mart’s role in it all, the GLBT community will be only be encouraged to: 1) Thank Wal-Mart for its continued support 2) Shop at Wal-Mart.

As a sponsor, would you continue to support an organization/event that publicly questioned your corporate practices? Or an organization that dared to make the connection between your international human rights violations and oppression of the local queer community? Wal-Mart has just bought itself unquestioning loyalty from GLBT Arkansans. And GLBT “leaders” will seek to stop challenges to Wal-Mart’s racist, sexist, classist, and queerphobic practices in order to secure funding rather than be a part of this global conversation. For all that’s worth to a multi-billion dollar corporation, a few thousand bucks is one hell of a bargain.

To prove me wrong, I offer my own challenge. I challenge LR Capital Pride and the NWA GLBT CC to begin this dialogue by hosting an event or speaker that can speak to the corporate practices of Wal-Mart (and encourage attendance from queer and non-queer marginalized communities). All that I am asking is for these organizations to examine their sponsors and to at least publicly discuss the ramifications and motivations for continuing to work with Wal-Mart. Not too radical of a request. Include someone who can speak to the good aspects of Wal-Mart as well, if you’d like. Just as long as there is a conversation.

Renting the “High Cost of Low Prices” would probably cost about $5, and Wal-Mart Watch would probably send in a speaker for free (maybe even bring the movie for free too!)

If you’re afraid doing this might: 1) Cause the queer community to reject corporate funding from Wal-Mart. 2) Cause Wal-Mart to cut off funding… well then my point has been made. Otherwise there is no excuse for not having an open dialogue about where your money is coming from.


PS - Read this short 4 page article:

Donna Marie said...

I can speak for NWAGLBTCC that we also are VERY interested in exploring any and ALL fundraising approachs. We welcome input and ideas from anyone that can help us in our goal to secure a "Brick and Morter" home for our center.

Nick said...

Why did you write "[T]he dialogue has begun, let's hear more voices from the choir" and then block Amanda's comment as well as my own? It's your blog so do whatever you want, but it's disingenuous to say you're fostering dialogue when you're only accepting comments from people who kiss your feet for name-dropping their organization.