01 May 2010

Groupthink Break Up

A Lot has been said against Jason Sadler and his project 1 million shirts. A lot of it I agree with, but I want to try to present some things that may linger from a different view point. Some of this is a personal exercise to learn more about how and why this idea started. My goal is to get people to attack some misconceptions and thoughts in regards to this issue. So please, no personal attacks, this is an exercise and an attempt to change the direction of the conversation to look at this in different ways. If I miss anything please make suggestions and try to think of ways to not only prove me wrong, but to also think of how to combat these ideas.

  1. There is an existing market for second hand clothes in Africa. How can 1 million shirts spread over a continent of 1 billion people be anything more than a drop in the bucket when spread out over the continent?
  2. If it does flood the market, what is the harm in providing even cheaper shirts for people to buy? Won’t this give people the ability to spend less on clothing and more on investing on other projects?
  3. How is it ‘trash’ or ‘insulting’ to send second hand clothes when people happily buy and wear second hand clothes?
  4. Isn’t it a good thing that we are not just throwing the shirts away?
  5. By using social media and connecting people to the travel of the donation, isn’t it positive that people will be able to easily remain connected to what they contribute (ie. see where and how the project is growing and developing live via twitter and Facebook)?
  6. There are still some people who do wear rags and little to no clothes. Wouldn’t this help to clothe these people and improve overall hygiene of the continent?
  7. Who says the shirts have to be used as clothing? Doesn’t this provide a cheap product that can be used to make other items by innovative Africans?

That is what I can think of right now. Please let me know if I should add anything and please consider this as a discussion point not as a case in either direction for the issue.

Update : 6pm clarify question 5 and add buy to question 2

Update 2: 8pm changed opening phrase from 'plenty' to 'a lot' to reflect that this is not the end of the discussion