The black people of New York City are against a proposed ban on the sale of fur garments. Some argue that it is part of their culture. The Pastor of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, Johnnie Green, is leading the campaign for fur. He argues that the Democratic speaker of the city council, Corey Johnson, has been culturally insensitive to the historical importance of fur within the black community in New York City. Johnson wants NYC to follow San Francisco and Los Angeles in banning the sale of fur. See bobcat and lynx fur trade statistics.
An elderly black woman protesting outside City Hall said that, “It’s part of our culture to wear fur”.
There were rival crowds outside City Hall in New York City who were shouting at each other across the police line. One man, a black rapper named Safaree Samuels, arrived wearing a lynx coat (see above). Crowds supporting both sides of the argument roared in disapproval and approval.
The protesters included New Jersey skin dealers, Greek immigrant furriers and African-American pastors. As it happens the skins of animals are part of the city’s history. The two beavers in the city crest are a reminder that the fur trade helped to make this city rich. There are 150 fur businesses in the city centre. They create over 1,000 jobs and $850 million annually in revenue.
Under Mr Johnston’s proposal, New Yorkers can still wear fur and the sale of used fur garments will be allowed but anyone selling fur items will be subject to fines of up to $1500. Any money made illegally under the ban would be forfeited.
Pastor Johnnie Green said:
“Go back to the Harlem Renaissance and the black elite, movie stars, the athletes, wherever they showed up on the public scene they were draped in their fur coats. Come to any black church on any given Sunday during the winter and it’s populated with mink coats, mink stoles, mink hats.”
Comment: Yes, Pastor Green, I’m sure many black people wear fur and I’m sure that it is part of black culture and history in New York City but that does not make it any more moral and viable to wear it today in the 21st-century. You are missing the point. In referring to the history of black people wearing fur you are referring to a black past. Times have changed. People are more aware of animal welfare and environmental issues. They go hand-in-hand. Concern for the environment is concerned for nature and concern for nature does not permit killing animals for their skin or breeding them in tiny cages in the most cruel way.
Mary Ann Persad at the City Hall protest agrees with me when she said:
“It’s a dangerous mentality to carry on doing something with the excuse that it’s always been done that way. We’ve seen this with human slavery. We need to continue evolving.”