New t-shirt available here, with 100% of the profits going to Color of Change.
I wish our first post back was under better circumstances, and while we do have a lot of product announcements forthcoming, I felt that it was necessary to clearly state where exactly myself and my business stand on the current state of affairs.
I want to start by acknowledging that as a white male in America I will never understand the struggles facing minorities in this country. Also, being heterosexual means that I live in the ultimate state of privilege. Not only am I free from racism, but I will also never have to experience any of the other social diseases that it intersects with such as sexism and heterosexism. That is why I have waited until now to say anything. I wanted to take time and listen so that my words would come from an informed place, and not just one of emotion.
One of the things that has stood out to me is the trend of “woke whites” treating allyship like a badge of honor and failing to acknowledge the privilege we all have simply because of our skin color. I see too many of us making this about ourselves through rhetoric about the guilt, anger, and shame we feel. We need to stop being emotional and start being supportive.
This support needs to come not in the form of our words, but from our actions. We must remember that there is nothing impressive about caring. We must dump the shame and guilt that we so often profess to have and instead focus our time and energy on supporting black communities in ways that will lead to substantive change. Remember that while no white person alive today created the racism that infects our country, we are in the best position to initiate change.
We should be educating ourselves and other whites on not only the current situation but also the history that led us here. While we are all familiar with the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, how many of you know about Emmett Till, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Lamar Smith? The past has a way of highlighting how hollow the progress is that we have made in this country.
This is the time for us to listen and follow. We should be attending protests as guests who are present to support those that are being affected by the systemic racism of our country. Their emotion should be fueling this fight, not ours.
It is never enough to merely say you are not racist, for antiracism is a lifelong commitment to act and educate. Being an ally is not just for urgent moments, and the cycle of racism will never fully be broken without continual education and sustained action. I pray that we have finally reached the boiling point that history has shown to be necessary to bring about real change. Now is the time to refuse to be silent, and set an example that our children can be proud to follow.