OH wait a cotton pickin’ minute, have you lost your cotton pickin’ mind?! You are trying to take cotton stems from us?!
I know, I know. Another black girl talking about something else that offends her in America. However, you are more than welcome to scroll off of this post because this just might hurt your feelings.
Or keep reading if you want to be more informed!
While I working for a home decor retailer after college, I did not enjoy bringing out the cotton stems every fall. It made me feel somewhat weird and powerless. because I knew the history behind cotton in the fall. I had no clue, however, why I continued to work for this company knowing that every year, they sold cotton stems faithfully. Oh. let’s not forget! They also sold cotton wreaths to match! How cute.
I guess, at first, I was not aware of the issue that other’s had about it. My college friend Jasmine Hockett-Sweets, better known as Jasmine Sweets, put on snapchat while walking into a home decor retailer saying, “When did this become a trend?!” I nearly giggled to myself because I knew of this trend but never thought twice about how someone else felt about it. (Guess, my crazy butt was brainwashed in the retail life. I was used to seeing this crap every year.) You would think the south would know better. How naïve of me to think so. However, Jasmine was not the only person not here for the cotton stems. While scrolling through facebook, I discovered a article about a woman being angry about seeing cotton stems in hobby lobby. Her response was “this is reminiscent of slavery and those who were focused to pick cotton.” (Daniell Rider, you now my idol, girl. Thanks for speaking up). Ms. or Mrs. Rider, you are correct!
Now for those who do not know much about slavery and cotton fields I am here to inform you that a retailer that sales cotton stems especially in the fall needs to do their research. Cotton fields were at their busiest in the fall due to the abundance of cotton produced. The end of August approaching fall was considered cotton picking season. So, was does this mean? Since cotton was growing in rapid rates and as high as five to seven feet high slaves had to work longer nights and quicker. The slower they worked, the more they got whipped. The longer the work day, the less they got to sleep for the next day. Also, let’s keep in mind slaves weren’t done with their day after picking cotton. They had other chores, cutting wood, feeding the mules, you know, stuff of that nature. They also feared of oversleeping and the consequences that came with tomorrow.
In other words, there were people that were picking cotton for you that were mistreated in the process. They were treated like machines and animals. They were treated like a product. So for those that are desensitized of the issue, you just might want to figure out and research more to understand the struggle of many just to make clothes and other products accessible to you.
So my reasoning for writing this is to spark awareness in a sense. Should retailers be allowed to sale cotton stems? Should they be taken off of shelves because of the offensive message it gives off to consumers? My answer is yes! I also believe Native American attire should be taken out of halloween/costume stores, but that’s a story for a different day. How do you feel about cotton being sold annually during the fall season? Tell me your thoughts. I just think we should stop throwing cotton on things and calling it rustic/ farmhouse.