MLK day should be a day of remembrance, not shopping or deals

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the face of the Civil Rights Movement and has a day commemorated to his and other activists’ memories every third Monday of January.
This day was set aside to remember all those, including Dr. King, who gave up a part of themselves to fuel the Dream of Civil Rights. Yet this year that special day was marked by outrageous, shameless advertisements for tremendous discounts and phenomenal sales.
I cannot deny that more often than not most holidays are marked by a ridiculous amount of deals that cannot wait till a sensible hour and one-time offers that have people trampling each other to reach.
But that does not mean it is acceptable. It deeply disturbed me that the day given to honor activists that changed the direction of our nation was boiled down to 50% of off Kohl’s comforters and up to 70% off at select Sears’ locations.
Now I have come to expect the sordid advertisements around Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have even come to enjoy them on occasion.
These same advertisements are expected around Valentine’s Day and maybe even Halloween. These are holidays in which you are to shop, eat and be merry.
Yet a day that is set aside for those to be remembered is not a day for the retail industry to get a competitive edge. I guarantee they have very rarely dared to advertise for a wonderful Memorial Day sale or even an exciting Veteran’s Day shopping extravaganza.
I don’t doubt that there has been, in the past shopping deals for such days but I seriously doubt they have been advertised on such a massive scale as of late.
I am not against discount shopping. In fact on most Black Friday’s I am right there with all the other eager shoppers.
Granted, I’m usually in the back of the line and less eager because it is some horrid hour of night or morning and Starbucks has yet to open. Regardless, I love to discount shop. Yet, there is something unsettling about commercials that use Dr. Martin L. King’s Day as a reason to go out and get drunk with the pleasures of the addictive shopping experience.
The Civil Rights Movement made such a large difference for the lives of African-Americans, and it took a lot of passionate people to unfold and force back the layers of wrong-doing put on by slavery and the many years that followed the Emancipation Proclamation given by President Lincoln.
Those people, many of whom remain out of the public view, had a large part in creating how we, as Americans, live in true freedom today.
All those voices that chorused together as one for equal rights have blended into one day.  Dr. Martin Luther King Day represents all of them.
So I believe that it is only fair that I say that I fear for the day when commemorative dates like these become little more than the latest shopping adventure for that perfect summer dress.

Comments about this opinion can be sent to olivia.jasmine.brayan @live.mercer.edu