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On Black Joy, Mutual Aid, and Disneyland

A few weeks ago, The Snack Sack began fundraising for a special event - sending 6 Black families to Disneyland this winter. As we saw in the recent Snack Sack blog post, The Racial Wealth Gap in the United States, people of color have far less wealth than whites due to the long history of explicit and systemic racism. With many living paycheck to paycheck or near the poverty line, the dream of Disneyland is one that many parents had never thought attainable for their children. Our capitalistic culture values profit over people, and thus fun often has a price tag that can be difficult to meet for low income families. Birthday parties, holiday presents, and family vacations often take a backseat to simple survival.

The Snack Sack believes in the extreme importance of Black Joy. That means Black adults and children deserve to have fun and experience things that are often “off limits” for those without the wealth to purchase them in this society. Sending these families to Disneyland is a very blatant reminder that for poor people, there is more to life than simply surviving, despite what others may claim.

When someone refuses to donate to Black Joy and other things they deem “non-essential,” they are saying that poor people must only think about survival until they can afford to spend “surplus” cash on fun. The thing is, by doing that, they are putting a price tag on happiness; they are saying someone must make a certain amount of money in order to experience joy.

Imagine what it would look like to magically “rebalance the scales” and eliminate the extreme wealth inequality that is the product of centuries of white supremacy and exploitation. If there was no racial wealth gap, Black families would be able to afford Disneyland at the same rate as whites, and white people would have less money to waste on yachts. However, we live in our current reality which has been very intentionally crafted to benefit whiteness at the expense of everyone else. When the system is set up for certain people to be poor, we cannot tell them “you can only experience joy, fun, and happiness when you have enough money” because chances are they will never hit that (moving) target within the current structures. Black people do not have to “earn” the joy that wealthy white people are allowed access to.

The Snack Sack created this Disneyland fundraiser because Black families deserve joy and fun, not just slogging along and only thinking about survival until maybe one day they hopefully make enough money to stop being judged by donors.

The Snack Sack was created to provide food to families who needed a little extra help when Covid hit, but we firmly believe in “wraparound support.” By contributing to rent, utilities, and yes even FUN, we are all coming together to redistribute wealth in support of mental health, security, happiness, and joy.

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