The last few years or so, TOMS shoes have made quite the hit in popular culture with a lot of youth in America. Their shoes are trendy and stylish with a philanthropic twist: Every time you buy a pair of shoes from TOMS (usually upwards of about $50-$60), the company donates a pair of shoes to children in Africa.
Sounds awesome, right? What benevolent hipster WOULDN’T want to help out African children AND look trendy as fuck? Me.
And you’re probably going to ask yourself, “Well, Chris. Why don’t you support putting shoes on African children?”
And the truth of the matter is I do support charitable efforts, but only when those charitable efforts are stemmed in sustainability.
See, this is what you people don’t understand: Africa is where it’s at economically, politically, and culturally because of the legacy of colonialization which the Europeans left.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Well what does colonilization have to do with donating shoes?” and I’ll tell you.
Because of the European’s colonialization, many Africans lost their cultural practices as well as their economic stability which stemmed from sustenance farming and trade among the other local cultures that made up Africa. These practices helped maintain African culture and allow it to thrive for hundreds and hundreds of years. But the Europeans, being the saints they are, decided that Africa wasn’t doing it right. So, they destroyed majority of the sustenance farming which had allowed Africans to survive all these years, and instead, replaced it with commercial farming. They basically went from growing food to survive to growing tobacco for Europe’s economic benefit.
Along the way, their cultural practices fell by the way side. The legacy of growing crops and storing food and bartering all fell by the way side. Many Africans forgot their own practices of food growing and clothe making and instead replaced it with the practice of cash crops.
So, now, more white people want to go into Africa on their high horse and give “hand outs” to the Africans in order to “help” them. But what you idiots don’t understand is, by giving them shoes, BY GIVING, you’re only increasing the legacy of colonialization and allowing them to suffer even further.
It’s not enough to just give them a helping hand. We must show them how to be the hands which help themselves. Because the more hand outs we give, the more dependent we make them on us. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to stop, right? We must teach them how to make their own shoes, not send them ours. We must teach them how to make their own food, not send them ours. This is about sustainability, longterm sustainability. It just goes with the old adage: “Give a man a fish; you’ve fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; you’ve fed him for a lifetime”This is exactly what this is all about. Stop giving them god damn fish and just fucking teach them how to fish.
So next time you go to buy a pair of TOMS, realize you’re contributing to the deterioration of African society and furthering the legacy of colonialization.
Oh, and TOMS shoes works in conjunction with anti-gay groups. So, that’s another reason to hate them.