Today, the word sellout gets thrown out quite, a lot of times to artist or famous people, that abandon their beliefs/values for the sake of profit. First, let us check out the definition of “sellout” in the dictionary.
To betray one’s cause or associates, especially for personal gain
I want to start with a few examples of what a sellout is, after that I will try to find the “gray areas” where a person could be viewed as a sell out in the eyes of many, but has their reasons for doing it.
You work for a small company that focuses on keeping the data of their costumers/users safe from being exploited by larger companies, as in Google, Facebook. You know how their algorithms work, how well the data of the users is protected against their algorithms etc. One day, you want to see what other opportunities you can get, by sending out offers to other companies. You get an offer from Google, pay is better than now, fewer hours of work, you get free food and drinks. You know how their algorithms work, and what damage they do to the privacy of users, but still the deal is too lucrative, and you decide to quit your current job, for the sake of a better opportunity and well more money.
You are a streamer that plays games on Twitch, you upload your videos on Youtube. Furthermore, you are not doing in full time, just to get some money on the side. A company approaches you that sells energy drinks, to sponsor your videos. You don’t drink energy drinks, and you know that they are loaded with sugar, and if consumed daily the consequences can be very harmful to your health. The money they offer you is very good, so you decide to promote them, and start drinking their energy drinks on streams.
There are many more examples, but these come to my mind as good ones, for a person selling out.
The common theme for selling out is, when you know better, the product and service that you are promoting is not good, can potentially be harmful, but you endorse it because the money is too good to pass.
The gray area
Of course, you have examples when it’s not as black and white, if a person is a sellout or not.
You are a single mother with no money, and a child to feed. You can’t land a job, that could support you and your kid. A company hires you that sells a certain product that doesn’t actually help a person, basically you are selling placebo products. You take the job, because you need the money for you and your kid.
You are a rapper that had a breakthrough with his debut album. Not only that, but you sign with the label, you want to put out a new album, and the label dictates ideas that should be implemented. The ideas don’t represent your values and ideas. You agree to it, because you have family members that you want to help out, and you need the money.
If we compare both cases, the only difference is, the mother sold out out of necessity. Yes she could’ve taken a lesser paying job, but that would’ve meant, getting evicted, staying hungry. She wanted a head start in life.
The rapper did it for the greater good, he sold out to help out his people. Is he selling out? Yes, but his reasons for doing it are still important. If down the road, when he has enough money, and is again at the same crossroads, and he decides to do it again, now he is a true sellout.
Again, does the end result, justify the means?
Every person on earth is, at a certain point of life, a sellout. The question is, how long do you allow yourself to be one.
If you have a choice, and you know better, you still do it for money, success and your personal gain. You are a sellout.
If you don’t have a choice, you have to do what you have to do to survive.(as long as you don’t harm the surrounding people with doing it, as in selling drugs) Don’t forget to change your ways once you have a choice.
If you don’t know, or you don’t care, and you see it as money is money. You are ignorant, educate yourself, better yourself etc.