5.30.2014

Bigot or just Jaded?

Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred on the basis of a person's ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

Ok I can admit it, I could be considered a bigot.  I distrust other artisans based on a variety of characteristics. There are so many people faking it: not really making what they say they make, or making it; but not the way they say they do. If I have just met you, I don't trust you. There are things that make me distrust you more than others.

If I am at a show that I consider to be a "local" show and someone drives in from Montana in a huge box truck that they have been sleeping in for weeks, I have will have trouble believing you. The artisans I closely know are almost constantly in their workshops, making, doing admin work, researching, developing. For us to go out with three or four weekends of inventory and not come home in between would be a very tough thing to do and still have a business when we got back. I am not saying it can't be done. It is done, and quite often. But for me this is a red flag. I defiantly need to get to know you better before I trust you do what you say you do.

The huge influx of foreign and "fair trade" goods makes it hard for me to believe certain things are hand made by the artisan representing them. I am not saying the things on the display are not hand made, just not made by the person claiming to have made them. And honestly, especially if the artisan is a recent immigrant. I know this is AWFUL to say, to admit to. It is my biggest fault as a human being that I find myself thinking this way. I do my best not to, and I do my best to get to know the truth as quickly as possible as not to harbor or to pass on my distrust on to others. I blame this on the influx of foreign goods into art and craft shows that are advertised to us artisans and to the public as "juried" or "hand made". There are even tutorials on line on how to fake your photos to get into shows: photos that supposedly show you MAKING something! So yes, too many caucasian people selling things made in China (or other places) as their own, has made me doubt the people originally from China (or Guatemala, or any other place on earth) are making their own stuff. Is it awful to think: yes. Am I alone: no. Am I the only person gutsy enough to admit it and start a real conversation about it: maybe.

I also distrust anyone selling their products for under "industry standard" pricing. Of course there will always be some fluctuation in this depending on where you live and where you sell. However, if you have a 20 inch long silver necklace for sale for $20 I will either believe you are lying and it's not silver, or you are lying and you didn't make it (and imported it from overseas). With silver being about $18 an ounce here, there would be no real profit in that necklace for anyone taking the time to make it themselves. It is hard enough to compete with Wal-Mart, but to have to compete with the equivalent at a show a few booths down from you is almost impossible. I believe this is why some shows ask for a range of pricing when you apply. It is to help weed out people hurting the entire industry. As a friend of mine just stated today "to be the cheapest is a refuge for people who don't have the guts to point to their product or service and say- this isn't the cheapest but it's worth it"

I would love to think we as the human race are all honest. But we are not. We are human. A few bad apples have spoiled it for me. Am I a bigot? Maybe in the truest most base sense of the word. But I feel that I am more jaded- "made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience" than bigoted. I search out the truth whenever I can, I like my mind to be changed.


1 comment:

Noel Wurst said...

We'll said. Thanks for the honesty.