Tuesday, May 25, 2010

find ways to counter the racism of their co-workers

This is a guest post by a white swpd reader named Sarah.*


I'm a graphic designer at a company that makes Christmas cards. More specifically, I’m head of the design department. One of our most popular products is a catalog of holiday photo cards, which are available in hundreds of retail stores nationwide.

Over the years, we have produced three catalogs with about twenty-five cards in each catalog. Almost every card includes a photo of a family or some children, which I purchase from stock photography websites. Out of all those cards in our catalogue, maybe two have ever used photos of black families. Before I was hired, there were none.

When I set out a month ago to begin designing a new catalog, I realized I had been remiss not to push for more POC in our books. I set a goal to include as many POC as I could get away with, knowing that at some point I would meet some resistance. However, I had no idea this resistance would begin after including a whopping two photos of black people.

After the second photo was added, several people made comments like, "what's with all the black people?"

"You mean, all two?" I would say.

After adding the third photo, the owners of the company started to refuse photos featuring black people, but they did so by citing minor imperfections, which I believe would have gone unnoticed if the families had been white. When I would show them the designs that incorporated black families, there would be this long silence where I could almost hear the gears turning in their heads, trying to find some reason to reject the photo without acknowledging it was because the people in it weren't white. They would say things like, "there's just something about this photo I don't care for."

Keep in mind, we don't even use model types, we have always used photos that depict "real" looking people, at the owners' behest. But now all of a sudden, none of the black people seemed to be attractive enough. It became really important that we find "better looking" people. So, we went back and forth three or four times. They would keep rejecting photos, and I would just select another black family photo.

"You’re so funny," one of my bosses said as I handed her another photo of a black family.

"What's funny?"

"Nothing, nothing."

Finally they realized that if they were going to stop me, they would have to state out loud that they didn't want any more photos of black families. (One of them got really close to doing just that, talking about how we know what our clientele looks like, and then she thought better of it and started backtracking.)

At different points during the project, some of my coworkers would try to find ways to get me to remove the black people from the album, and I would politely refuse. For example, one girl said, "In this one the top of the man's head is cropped off, so you should pick a different photo."

I pointed to about thirteen other cards with white people where the top of the head was cropped off and wondered aloud why no one had said anything about replacing any of those photos. "How strange," I said in mock confusion.

And then, the kicker. One of my (more blunt) coworkers came up to my desk, noticed that I had designed yet another card featuring two adorable black children, and then she said, "I'm sick of all these black people. Black people don't buy our cards."

I calmly told her that even if that were true, it wouldn't be a good enough reason not to include them in our line. After she left I started to feel woozy, like I was literally going to throw up at my desk. I was really surprised and disgusted by what was happening. Like I had looked under my living room rug and found a huge colony of maggots or something.

So, at the end of the project, I have one photo of an Asian-American family, three photos of Latino families/children, and three of black families/children, out of roughly twenty-five photos. That's way less than I was shooting for, partially because we ended up making a smaller book than I had originally planned on, but I am confident that I will succeed in adding more POC to successive catalogs.


* By the way, the title of this post is by me, macon d -- I say that because I wouldn't want anyone to think that Sarah's patting herself on the back or something for fighting racism in her workplace.

77 comments:

  1. Props to Sarah for being active in her pursuits. As far as what actually went on, it doesn't surprise me one bit...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not shocked by the comments or the behavior of the group deciding on what photos should be in the catalog. The sad thing is this happens everywhere and all the time. Where are the "Sarahs" for those companies? If they exist they should push for more racial diversity and they should be proud of themselves for doing their best to represent a greater and diverse group of people. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good thing you're the head of the department...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope more POC get into departments like these, and I also hope more Sarah types do, too. Thanks, Sarah, for actually saying something.

    The other day I was at the dentist's, and they had me watch an informational video about tooth implants (which I was resigned to needing, unfortunately). The video they showed me had all 100% white faces (and awful acting). It made me feel nauseous.

    Thank you for alleviating some of that nausea.

    ReplyDelete
  5. To be honest, part of me wants you to stop trying.
    I do not want to give my hard earned money to any business who doesn't want it
    That would be like rewarding them for reluctantly serving me.
    I wish people would be more like that ( I mean vote with their wallets).

    Now, if I were you working there, I would realise that the company ethos doesn't match my own, thus I would start planning to leave.
    I will do my best work, take advantage of any and all training opps. whilst searching for the next gig.

    Gone are the days when black folk need to beg people to take their money.

    You don't serve me, I don't care and I don't pay you.
    In a world of childhood entrepreneurs and photoshop, dear lord! Those tools are easily replaced.

    ReplyDelete
  6. p.s.
    In an era where big business is competing with 1001 small businesses for dimes, I say consumers need to recognise their power. Especially black consumers.

    The turning point for me:
    I used a butcher 5mins from my house (every week), I'd ask for something (like trim the fat off the lamb), he'd complain, yet bend backwards for his fellow white customers. One day he actually shouted at me about black people 'blah blah blah'.

    I thanked him and said don't bother cutting that meat up anymore, I don't give my hard earned cash to racists. He couldn't believe it!.
    He ran after me and insisted I pay for the meat! (he had started cutting it).
    I laughed and said.. 'No, next time treat your customers with respect'. I work hard for my money, I try not to give it to people who don't respect me, the meat is your problem and you will never see me here again'

    I don't care how much of an inconvenience it is, I will not knowingly support racist establishments.

    I say give them their pretty white families, work on your expertise, and then branch out!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sarah said...
    “After the second photo was added, several people made comments like, "what's with all the black people?"

    They (your co-workers) may not recognize their privilege if it bit them on the ass, but they know it when they see it, as in "too many black faces".

    @Sarah
    "I'm sick of all these black people. Black people don't buy our cards."

    We probably would if we saw more cards/products that reflect how we look and live; if we came away with the feeling that we matter in advertising. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to look for a birthday card or anniversary card with no black faces on it. This trend is industry-wide, reflecting what we see on the cover of magazines, in entertainment- beauty products and fashion. That’s the power of whiteness... to decide what image/race should be marketed to the public, with whites getting to define who the public is.

    If blacks make up 13 percent of the population, then to your co-workers it’s only natural that holiday photo cards favor a white demographic; to view it any differently is to buck against reality. Whites are simply used to being the focus of any endeavor or enterprise; with “racial diversity” being the show stopper...they’re fighting-words in your industry. Stay encouraged Sarah....

    ReplyDelete
  8. If there's one thing I always believed is that racism is not dead especially within in corporate structure of society.

    Sarah, I applaud you for taking a stand on this issue. Although it is difficult to fight racism in the corporate/economic setting where one race benefits from it. On the other hand, this company is also short-changing itself by not widening their choices for target consumers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sarah,

    Glad to see you're out there doin' the damn thing instead of lamenting not doing anything and then running to PoC for Mammy Bosoms of Love and Condolences.

    So, at the end of the project, I have one photo of an Asian-American family, three photos of Latino families/children, and three of black families/children, out of roughly twenty-five photos. That's way less than I was shooting for, partially because we ended up making a smaller book than I had originally planned on, but I am confident that I will succeed in adding more POC to successive catalogs.


    I'm shocked you got THAT many PoC in the edition at all? That was probably 2 more Asian families, 5 more Latino families/children and 6 more Black families/children those assholes wanted in the first place!

    Attention ersatz White anti-racist allies! THIS is how you do anti-racism on the daily! THIS is how you utilize your White privilege to combat racism! Take some fuckin' NOTES!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't think this is the sort of product I'd buy anyway, but I really do appreciate the efforts of people like Sarah. I'm a bit confused by the word "catalog"; I take it to mean the company she works for is selling packs of Christmas cards so please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, aside from just confronting the racism in the workplace, I see 2 benefits to what Sarah's doing:

    1. If white people get home with a bunch of cards, and a few of those cards feature black families (or other PoC), they might feel an aversion to sending those cards, but at the same time, they're forced to consciously think about the choice not to use them and why they're making it, because they've already bought the cards.

    2. The relationship between racism in business behavior and individual behavior is a 2-way street. It's not just that customer expectations dictate exclusive use of white people's pictures; it's also that the business's behavior, if it only uses white people's pictures, leaves customers with the default option of being racially exclusive. There are certainly a portion (I doubt more than 10-20% though) of white customers who would like to be more racially inclusive, but who'll basically go with what's available.

    All that said, I am a little bit creeped out by the idea of sending Christmas cards with photos of random families, and I wonder too if there isn't a problematic racial aspect in it, a sort of exoticizing or objectification - "Look at me! I'm using these black people's photos to show my friends and family how non-racist I am while I sit on my ass and enjoy my white privilege!"

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Soul - exactly. It would have been interesting to hear what would have happened if Sarah had asked why her colleague thought that PoC don't buy their cards.

    Just did a quick calculation to see what a 'fair' representation of the US would be, given stats from publicagenda.org: for a run of 25 cards, you'd expect 16 or 17 white, 2 or 3 Hispanic, 2 or 3 black, 1 Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and statistically less than one of other races. So in a sense Sarah is actually achieved a fair representation of PoC in the card line (assuming those stats are correct)!

    @Sarah - can I ask what your original target was in terms of how many PoC photos to use, and how you got there? I'm trying to figure out what 'fair' means in this kind of thing - obviously, it needs to be more than token representation, but mirroring the statistics of the population breakdown feels kind of creepily mechanistic to me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @ richie

    The photos we use are place holders. we use them to sell the cards but once purchased the customer replaces the photos with photos of their own family before sending out.

    @dersk

    I didn't do any calculating. but if i were to do so I would use our actual main markets. major coastal cities.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Black people don't buy our cards." Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies >_<

    ReplyDelete
  14. @ soul and dersk,

    actually there was a conversation between me and the girl who said "black people don't buy our cards" where I talked about the possibility that we might have more black customers if we represented them in our books. I should have added that part as well.

    I should also note that I didn't get any push back against including Asian or Latino families until I started in with the black folks. Then people would say "well you already included these people, ( pointing to an Asian family) they arnt white" . This was another tactic to limit the ammount of black faces. It sounds like a complex coordinated campaign but it was all totally nonchalant and no one seemed aware of what they were doing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @dersk and others that have mentioned it-
    I don't think representation by percentage is the point. This is about exposure and equal RIGHTS, not equal amount in representation. Even if there was only 1 person of a single race in our whole population, it should be our job to make that person feel like a human being. Every person matters. It doesn't matter how many or how few, we all matter.
    Fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Sarah, thanks for the clarification, that makes so much more sense!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think a lot of white people view greeting cards in this racist, dichotomous way: there are some cards "for" white people (well, obviously these cards are generic and "for" everyone!), and some cards that are "for" black people. I'm white and to be honest, if I were wandering the drugstore aisles and saw a Christmas card with a black family on it, I'd assume the card was not "for" me, and buying it would feel farcical like arbitrarily draping myself in a ceremonial Kwanzaa robe. I'd worry the card's recipient would assume I was trying to be sarcastic or quirky. One time in high school, my (incidentally Taiwanese-American) friend gave me one of these cards for my birthday as a joke, and we all had a good laugh about it and listened to rap music afterwards. Admittedly, the card he gave me didn't just feature a photo of a black family; it also had green/orange/brown zigzaggy font and looked like it had been purchased at a safari theme park. Come to think of it, I feel like I've noticed more cards in this mold than cards "just" featuring black people.

    Maybe this is why, if I saw a card featuring an Asian or Hispanic family, I wouldn't hesitate as much to pick it up. I'm not as accustomed to seeing special designated sections for those cards. (Although that in and of itself surprises me since, at very least, I would expect there would be a section catering to Spanish-speaking Latinos...maybe it's a regional thing).

    I'm curious as to what POC think about these special, POC-designated cards. Are you glad they exist, or is there something unsatisfying/icky about settling for a pandering hallmark caricature with festive "African" or "urban" font and graphics? Some of the cards seem a bit stereotypical to me. Then again maybe that's just because I take for granted seeing greeting cards cartoonize and exaggerate "white" idioms and cultural fragments, and so really cards like "Diva Life" just represent a much-needed branching-out.

    Regardless, I want to thank Sarah since reading this post really made me reflect on what up until now has been a subconscious but eerily segregationist mindset. I'm really uncomfortable with this. I will definitely scrutinize my assumptions about greeting cards and other media more carefully in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was reading an article about the HBO tv show Treme. One of the comments on the article from someone who claimed to be from New Orleans, said "I'm not racist but why are there so many black people on this show".

    from wikipedia:
    As of the census[79] of 2000, there were 484,674 people, 188,251 households, and 112,950 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,684.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,036.4 /km2). There were 215,091 housing units at an average density of 1,191.3 inhabitants per square mile (460.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 67.25% African American, 28.05% White, 0.20% Native American, 2.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 3.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

    Now of the 10 main characters on the show, half are White. If anything White people are over represented on the show.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @ pondering

    I used to work for American Greetings. They also had a line of completely offensive over the top "LOOK THESE ARE FOR BLACK PEOPLE" cards featuring "urban" or Kwanzaa style graphics and Black models. No I would never buy one of those, not even when I had a company discount! I bought cards with no photos or illustrations of people. I remember buying a Father's Day card at company headquarters and having to look really hard to find a card without a white man on the cover.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Sarah - hey, another question. I assume you guys sell on either to wholesalers or to retailers, not to individual customers. To what extent can you track the impact of the different racial mix? I'm guessing they're all the same SKU so you can't figure out how many frames with PoC vs. white sample pics are sold, but it'd be interesting to see the impact.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ Soul

    You and I think alike. I refuse to give my hard earn money to any establishment where I am treated in a disrespectful manner. I work hard for my money and I will not allow anyone, regardless of race, to treat me like a second class citizen. I do not go where I am not wanted. Period.

    As for this post, I sometimes wonder what is the problem with some white people in reference to black people? In the corporate business world, it is important to try to brand out and get as many customers as possible. Yet, I swear some white people have this image of how blacks think and buy. And it's always in a stereotypical context. It disgusts me. I sometimes wonder why CNN do not do documentaries on the lives and mindsets of white people. I swear some shit I have heard come out of some white people's mouths really makes much stomach turn. I wasn't surprise by Sarah's experience on the workforce. It is the one of the main reasons why I have my own business. I do not feel like battling the racial prejudice of ignorant fools Sarah works with on her job.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sarah,
    kudos on your victory. now that you've set a precedent, I hope it will be easier in the future.

    May I ask what stock photo sites you use? I do a lot of publications & web stuff where I work and we use a lot of stock images. I find there's a pretty good selection of photos of black individuals and families [and whites, obviously], but a very limited selection of Asian Americans, Latinos, and American Indians. Do you have any advice?

    This is a bit OT but I think these stock photo sites could easily serve as a SWPD topic. They're a good snapshot of how far we have NOT come race-wise...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hate Hallmark's Mahogany cards.

    Hate them. Half of them are icky sweet, the other half are religious - very few use humor.

    Greeting cards are the one area, I think where you could design the exact same card using black people & get away with it. But the default characters on cards are white & you have to either buy the card or get the icky sweet Mahogany card.

    Card shopping sucks. I usually end up getting cards without people on them at all. I also get a lot of cards with animals representing people but I guess that's a whole another post by itself isn't ?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you, Sarah, for this post. I've been in similar situations on much smaller scales. And I've committed to doing the same thing you did when I start teaching English next year. I will have state standards to meet and reading requirements which will, undoubtedly be overwhelmingly white (except in Feb. of course *eye roll*), but I want to see how much supplemental material (poems, pictures, narratives, excerpts from other books by POC - but without pointing out race) I can get in before someone says something to me about it. Your story indicates to me that it probably won't take much to push that envelope "too far."

    I think your post is a pretty blatant indication of your coworkers' sense of white solidarity. I think WP are in such denial that this group mentality exists, but it's so obvious in stories like yours - and in the spreading of racist email forwards or racist jokes among WP that it does.

    What do you do to combat the maggots-under-the-rug feeling? I'm unable to maintain relationships with people once I know that they're oblivious to their racism or that they're ok with it. The maggots come out whenever I have to deal with them, so I end up being all-business while trying to find an exit. But my mission with the English stuff is really to change the things I don't like about education, so I will need to stick around and deal with it. How do you feel about working where you do now? With your coworkers?

    ReplyDelete
  25. @riche...

    1) Absolutely BS. When you buy a mixed bag of jelly beans, you don't question why you don't like the green purple colour.. you simply throw it away. When asked you event silly reasons for why you don't like it.

    There is absolutely no precedent for what you are suggesting. White people largely do not question why they are prejudiced, they simply justify it. the evidence for this is all over this board and in the larger world.

    2) So basically you are saying that some white people need businesses to enable them to not be racist?. What a crock!
    So, basically white people have no moral compass but rely on businesses to make their decisions, choices for them?.

    Okay so, if the greeting card business in the area was putting out a catalog with 90% black images, the white people will buy it instead of finding a different publisher or complaining about the lack of whiteness on it.

    You are attempting to justify racism by blaming business, blaming too much choice blah blah blah

    Nah..... not falling for the okey dokey.

    ReplyDelete
  26. At what point does it stop being counter-racism and begin to touch upon tokenism?

    Just a thought. I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but many (wrong, of course) WP see this as including "obligatory POC", if you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @Sarah...

    Your additional info about the convo with the girl changes nothing in my mind.

    So what?.
    You provided her with information she already knew. If you don't target people they tend not to buy your products.

    As far as I am concerned let them bury their heads in the sand. There are 100's of small black companies whose bread and butter is making cards for a clientele/customers who they love, cherish, understand and respect.
    These small business have spent time, money, blood, sweat and tears letting the larger POC market know that they cater to them and in this tough economy, they are barely breaking through.

    What they don't need is a company that has to be cajoled, manipulated, bullied and damn near brow beaten to come in and steal market share right from under their feet, with their customers being none the wiser.

    For a second just think about this...

    Black folk have seen the endless cycle of businesses ignoring them and then still making billions off them because by their share size and distribution they could come in and swoop all their hard work due to 'new diversity practises' and by shifting sub standard products their way...

    I say.. let them stew in their white ignorance. And let the customers their work force despise seek solace in the arms of companies whose work force respect them.

    I understand why some others applaud you, unfortunately I cannot do so.

    I want to reward people who recognise my worth from the gate.

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Belkin.
    Amen.

    I reached this modus operandi in my late teens.
    I am careful about where i spend my money.

    I cannot tell you the number of times, I have entered a place of business and been either followed or spoken to rudely.

    -Times when I have been about to purchase big ticket items, been treated rudely by the cashier or paid little attention at which point I have called the manager, asked for Head office details and watched the cashiers shake when I say:

    'Cancel/Void the sale' immediately, I will not spend money where I am not respected, there are 1000's of other stores who would love my business.

    - Times when I have gone to buy big ticket items and had my cash triple checked, manager called over to check it, white sales staff be rude, belligerent, chat with other staff all through the transaction and act like I am a criminal due to my wanting to spend my own money...
    I've let them carry on and when the manager finally agrees that the money is 'kosher'.
    I ask them:
    'now that you have checked my money 3 - 4 times, are you satisfied that it is genuine?. Cool, I want it back please. I refuse to be treated like a criminal in order to purchase equipment from you.

    I refuse to knowingly spend money where I am not wanted.

    There have been many times where I've simply not bought something I really wanted because of it. I might have to wait, or give it up. thats cool.
    But I will not endorse and contribute positively to someone whose only input in my life is negative.

    People... know your worth.

    When asked why? I state to the cashier that I do not need to give you a reason as I am well within my rights and secondly get your manager for me.

    I tell the manager what their staff just did and walk out of the store before they can even begin to say a word..
    Sometimes, I've had store personal run after me to apologise.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @ soul

    So are you saying you would rather black consumers have fewer products to choose from, but have all those products be marketed based on good, earnest intentions, vs. having a wider array of products to choose from even if some of those products came to market because of browbeating or cynical tokenism?

    If effect trumps intent when it comes to systematic racism, shouldn't it be the other way around? Customers who wanted to buy from small, black-owned companies could still do so, right? What about customers who just want, at the lowest price and least inconvenience, a card not featuring a likeness of a white man?

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Victoria,

    I don't feel very differently towards them as people. I feel differently about this country and what it means to be white. The revelation that WP will go to great lengths to support our own dominance without even realizing it is sickening but it would be hypocritical of me to pass judgement on my coworkers because I have observed every aspect of this tendancy in myself, which is the only reason I can recognize it in others. that doesn't make me better just slightly more aware.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Sarah re: "It sounds like a complex coordinated campaign but it was all totally nonchalant and no one seemed aware of what they were doing."

    I think this is both why racism goes unchallenged and why WP think that racism isn't a problem. If a loudmouthed bigot were saying, "Get those people off of our product," anyone could see what was going on. But the "You're so funny" comment is innocuous; to call it out as part of the racist edifice feels like making a mountain out of a molehill. But that--and taking things in other directions as Sarah has--is what needs to be done.

    And to clarify what the purpose of the photos is, it's like the pictures that come in photo frames that you buy at a retail store; you're buying the frame (or in this case the card) to put your own picture in, not buying the picture in the frame. But the picture that comes with the frame is chosen to make the frame attractive to the customer.

    ReplyDelete
  32. island girl in a land w/o seaMay 26, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    @ macon

    i agree that the word "heroic" may be a bit strong to describe situations in which white people push back against racism. doing the right thing is its own reward, and real heroes, imho, don't draw attention to their deeds.

    yet

    if i were to witness a white person pushing back against their racist peers and sticking up for POC, that person might very well become my hero for that day. i am thirsty for something redeeming about people from dominant groups, and the small act of calling a cashier out differential treatment of a Black customer (as posted elsewhere) and this vignette of the designer pushing back against racist coworkers are like precious drops of water in my empty cup.

    like david bowie says, we *can* be heroes, just for one day.

    ReplyDelete
  33. @Sarah re: "The revelation that WP will go to great lengths to support our own dominance without even realizing it is sickening but it would be hypocritical of me to pass judgement on my coworkers because I have observed every aspect of this tendancy in myself, which is the only reason I can recognize it in others."

    I have seen this expressed in sociological works like Bonilla-Silva's Racism without Racists and Trepagnier's Silent Racism, but rarely so succinctly. The problem isn't that "there are racists," but that there is racism, and that most of us WP can't see how it works in our own lives because we're convinced that "racists" are the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  34. There's always the talking point: "Expand your market! Many larger outlets (grocery stores, etc) stock cards featuring people who aren't white in addition to those featuring white people, because the stores have a diverse customer base."

    ReplyDelete
  35. @pondering...

    Please tell me how you have determined that this company not entering the game means that black people have fewer products to chose from.
    Lets step out of your white lens for a minute.

    There are businesses in the black community which you don't see, you don't notice, do not come into contact with because you chose not to engage them and possibly they chose not to engage you. There have been companies established for decades
    We do not need you or big companies to tell us what we need

    - Your premise is based on a notion of lack of black know-how or entrepreneurship.

    Do you really think black people are so limited that we do not exploit out own market? do you think we do not have competing neighbourhood entrepreneurs?

    - Please name one company that has produced a wider range of products for black people to choose from. Go on I dare you
    I'll pre-empt you and say it has never happened.

    Name any company, in any industry. Go on.

    And please do not insult my intelligence, I didn;t say a company had to be earnest... blah blah blah...
    Read again.

    - You might be okay with 'cynical tokenism' but please can you state any point
    ---where you have been the subject of cynical tokenism and how gladly and gratefully you welcomed it.
    ---how often you spend money with people who wilfully insult you, treat you like a stereotype e.t.c.
    --how many times you have been delighted by a major company announcing they are finally targeting your demographic only to be presented with 3 stereotypical options for decades.

    oh and finally...
    No. i think you need to read a little on the way big businesses operate and completely erode small businesses.
    read up on what and how companies with bigger budgets, distribution channels and marketing spend take over entire markets leaving the consumer with little to no choice.

    - There is a famous case of one of the major bottling companies using their incredibly large network and money to undermine and destroy a growing and successful black bottling company in order to gain the market and offer the same crappola.

    Here's a free lesson for you to 'ponder'
    Large companies are notorious for spending all their advertising + marketing spend to destroy a rival in order to gain the market. Once that is done its business as usual.


    SWPD: lose all sense of economic reality when it comes to black economic decisions
    SWPD: Presume that black people have no choice unless a white company comes in to give it to them
    SWPD: Attempt to convince black folk that they should settle and pay for tokenism.
    SWPD: presume that they can offer a better product cheaper than a well established black focused business

    - This is why I can't seem to stand this place for too long.
    It seems some white people lose all common sense when talking about black people and it just makes me give this place the 'side eye'

    ReplyDelete
  36. @soul, I guess most of what I wrote is largely irrelevant to the story because I failed to understand what the actual product being sold was (did anyone else understand fully from the original post?). I certainly don't want to justify racism, and I'm sorry for putting in front of your face words you've probably already heard way too many times from white people.

    Perhaps what I should have said is something more along the lines of this (call me out if it's BS again):

    Excluding white people who are consciously racist, A big part of the problem of whiteness comes through just doing what's easy. Systemic racism makes exclusion of and ignorance about PoC the easy, default choice. You go to a store and pick up a book/magazine/cards/whatever full of white people. Pictures in ads for whatever product is on sale probably feature a bunch of white people, or perhaps a group photo with 1 black person and 1 asian person thrown in to look "diverse"; I doubt you'll see PoC depicted except alongside white people or perhaps occasionally alone. This reinforces the idea in white people's minds that white is "normal".

    Does increasing the representation (hopefully not ridiculous stereotypes..) of PoC in books, magazines, advertising, movies, etc. have any effect of countering racism or is it just token BS? I don't have evidence to back this up, but I think it's a reasonable hypothesis worth asking about that increased representation chips away at white normalcy and begins to establish new ideas of normalcy. Or maybe more specifically, what kinds of representation are beneficial? And to tie things back to the original post, is what Sarah's done beneficial?

    ReplyDelete
  37. @ Sarah

    I was kind of wondering more about what your interactions with them are like, but it sounds like you're saying they're unchanged.

    In my experience, I've found that being direct with WP about racism causes them to either stop speaking to me or our conversations are brought down to a need-to-speak basis. I don't see it as being judgmental. I just refuse to be associated with people whose system of racial understanding I find highly offensive. But moving into the education field, I don't have a choice but to interact and associate if I want to get anything done.

    I believe, after writing and thinking about this a bit, that the instances I'm remembering involved me being more forceful, like actually coming out and directly saying what's problematic. That's likely why people were opposed to speaking to me afterward unless they had to. Like in a situation with people who would actually come out and say "What's with all these black people?" I'd probably respond with, "Is there a problem?" But, as I said in my other comment, I do want to be able to stick around and make some changes to how POC are represented and understood in education, not point out individual racists. So I'm trying to get a feel for being less forceful about it and not leaping to challenge someone, but patiently completing an objective instead.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @riche
    - There are more black players in the NBA. Has this changed the way white people regard black people or has a new stereotype been invented to justify this presence.

    - There are now more black people on TV, has this improved the course for racism or is it just fodder for more stereotypes

    - do you hear the way black celebrities complain about their treatment before someone realises that they are a 'celebrity'? it is no different from the masses.

    to me the product is irrelevant. a black woman on the cover of vogue means nothing when she is being made to look like anything but a black person or when the subsequent pages are filled with white people.
    Her being on the cover doesn't change the mind of a racist, they just shift the goal posts.

    You know, Iman was 'apparently was only that skinny cos she was a starving african'
    Michelle Obama only got a high paying job cos she was had the benefit of A.action..

    oh and Barack well... yeah you know the rest.

    There are more black people on college campuses than ever, so the goal posts get shifted...
    People think.. they don't deserve to be there.

    I'm afraid, I simply cannot agree with your theory.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sarah, I wonder whether you have any sway over hiring decisions? Perhaps, you'd have less of an uphill battle if your department were diverse? It sounds like it's largely white from your post.

    ReplyDelete
  40. My head would be dizzy too.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wow, Soul my sentiments exactly, as always, brilliantly put. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  42. @ Pondering

    Ironically enough, I don't really go card Shopping, as much as I go gift shopping. I shop at museum sales or gift shops. I always like to find something ...unexpected. I have started to look for craft books, money is tight and its best I spend time making "any occasion" gifts. In fact, I think I might start making my own cards for friends I hang out with and have pictures of!! So this card topic can go in many directions.

    @ thatDeborahGirl

    When I do go card shopping, I never notice the icky sweet stuff ( it's expected), but the religious stuff yes!! Its as if society thinks we all follow some definition of Christianity!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Its so frustrating to me when I come here and read the heartbreaking and angering accounts of racism in the work place and on my own job haven't a clue on how to combat racism when I see it either because I'm too stunned when faced with it or second guess myself as to whether or not something is considered to be a racist gesture. Definite props to Sarah on knowing how to effectively identify and handle racism especially on the job!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thank you Soul for putting it so well how difficult it is for POC companies to successfully compete against bigger more deeply established white owned companies.

    And from my experience I've found alot of smaller white owned companies to be up front and obvious with their racist practices (as opposed to bigger companies which have to rely on maintaining a good PR image within wider society).

    ReplyDelete
  45. @merri may no probs.

    @R.Yep, the smaller sometimes suck bad and thats all good. Cos I don't give them my money.

    I know some black people do the opposite, like when confronted with racism in an establishment they then buy even more just to show they can afford it...

    Me.... no way am I spending my hard earned money so some idiot can live large on his bigotry.

    No siree.
    I invite all fellow black people to consider doing this. Stop supporting racist people/establishments with your money
    Stop sanctioning and approving racist companies.
    Stop laughing off your racist colleagues jokes - don't jeopardise your job but change the way you deal with them.
    If you work for a company where you have to sell the diversity and feel like you are up against a brick wall... start taking advantage of training, use all their resources to not only learn your craft but to put yourself in a position where they will give you glowing recommendations when you decide to leave... and then leave.
    go somewhere you fit in.

    ReplyDelete
  46. soul's thread reminds me that we white folks who claim to care about racism need also to proactively patronize POC-owned businesses and overtly avoid businesses that we know to have racist practices.

    ReplyDelete
  47. @ julia

    istockphoto dot com

    everyone in the industry seems to use it like crazy. it's by far the cheapest and has decent stuff.

    @ dersk

    we are a smaller boutique company as are most of our competitors. for some reason we don't track our sales in that way. I wish we did it would be great to have some data.

    @ soul

    I totally agree with your posts 100%. But at the same time I feel I did the right thing under the circumstances, as opposed to not doing anything at all.

    @ Thesciencegirl

    So far no influence. That will change soon though I believe and I hope to use my influence to create a more diverse workplace when the opportunity presents.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Good work Sarah. I appreciate it. Your co-workers are ridiculous.

    Also, those Mahogany cards are fairly awful. All that! You go girl! Diva! Fierce! Thanks for reducing black people to a few tired ass catchphrases, Hallmark!

    I actually work at a stock photo company, and hearing about the magazines knocking back photos for being too ethnic, or telling us our site has too many pictures of gay people, is pretty fricken ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Can I just say:

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIGHT RACISM. THIS IS WHAT ANTI-RACISM IS.

    ReplyDelete
  50. [I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE FOR THE LENGTH OF THIS SCREED]

    @ soul (part 1/3)

    Please tell me how you have determined that this company not entering the game means that black people have fewer products to chose from...SWPD: Presume that black people have no choice unless a white company comes in to give it to them

    You've posted that there are hundreds of businesses in the black community that have been established for decades, etc. Let's say there are 500. If Sarah's employer enters the market, that makes 501. That's one more choice to choose from. The only situation where this isn't true is if you assume some sort of predatory-pricing Walmart effect (but, see below).


    Do you really think black people are so limited that we do not exploit out own market? do you think we do not have competing neighbourhood entrepreneurs?

    No. I think that additional competition from Sarah's employer would constitute...additional competition...notwithstanding the existing, healthy competition from black entepreneurs that you mention.

    Please name one company that has produced a wider range of products for black people to choose from.

    You're right -- I probably could not name such a company. However, just to clarify, a range wider than the range produced by whom? Current black entepreneurs? I guess it depends on how you define "wide." I've bought greeting cards from boutique stationers and I've found those stationers' selections to be "better," sure, than Hallmark's. But technically you could argue Hallmark offers a "wider" selection because they are simply capable of cranking out more design permutations. You're right that I'm unfamiliar with the market for greeting cards produced by, specifically, small, black-owned stationers. But if the same principle were to apply there, then the same argument would apply there too. Plus, that isn't even the point. Absent that whole Walmart dynamic, Sarah's employer is just going to supplement, not supplant, the existing market.

    ReplyDelete
  51. @ soul (part 2/3)

    And please do not insult my intelligence, I didn;t say a company had to be earnest... blah blah blah..

    Why do you think I'm insulting your intelligence? You prefer to give your money to companies that sincerely (earnestly) "want" it, right? Even if company as a whole doens't have to be earnest and good -- it's a creature of capitalism, after all -- don't you prefer that its specific motives for serving the black market be "better" and more honest than, e.g., 'cynical tokenism' affected as a disingenuous mask for racism?


    - You might be okay with 'cynical tokenism'

    I didn't say I was. I find it problematic, but when I make choices as a consumer there are a number of sometimes-contradictory factors I find problematic, and in the end, I'm not a single-issue consumer, so to speak. My post just contemplates that there are POC who are the same way. Thelady, for example, posts that she bought American Greetings cards because of an employee discount.

    but please can you state any point
    ---where you have been the subject of cynical tokenism and how gladly and gratefully you welcomed it


    No, because I've never gladly and gratefully welcomed it. That would be pretty absurd, and if you think I'm suggesting that's how POC should respond re: the same behavior by greeting card manufactuers, I'd love to see you quote an excerpt of my post to back that up.

    As for being merely subject, well, I've been admitted to various math and science programs in large part because I'm female, so that probably counts.


    ---how often you spend money with people who wilfully insult you, treat you like a stereotype e.t.c.


    I don't mean to gender-derail, but see above. This happens every time I buy clothes, cosmetics, entertainment media, cocktails, health/hygiene products, you name it.


    --how many times you have been delighted by a major company announcing they are finally targeting your demographic only to be presented with 3 stereotypical options for decades.


    I've never been delighted; usually I'm alienated by stuff like this. But I've bought shit from Dell anyways because I have counterveiling considerations like convenience, money, etc. And I'm not even saying people on the receiving end of this treatment should compromise; I'm just saying it's better when they have that option, in addition to other, conceptually-less-problematic options.

    BTW I'm not saying our experiences are the same here, at all, but you specifically asked me whether I could name occasions when I'd been subject to X, Y and Z, and indeed I can.

    ReplyDelete
  52. @ soul (part 3/3)

    i think you need to read a little on the way big businesses operate and completely erode small businesses. read up on what and how companies with bigger budgets, distribution channels and marketing spend take over entire markets leaving the consumer with little to no choice....Here's a free lesson for you to ponder: Large companies are notorious for spending all their advertising + marketing spend to destroy a rival in order to gain the market. Once that is done its business as usual.

    Wow, what's with the condescending tone? Here's a free lesson for YOU to ponder [that language is obnoxious, isn't it?]: for the strategy you describe to succeed, barriers to entry must be high. This is true for Walmart (entrants need to acquire real estate, build new stores and arrange distribution channels) and it was true in Allegheny v. Mid-Atlantic, the bottling case I think you're referring to. You've said yourself that for greeting-card entepreneurs, entry barriers are low ("In a world of childhood entrepreneurs and photoshop, dear lord! Those tools are easily replaced"). Once the large company took over the market and raised its prices to supra-competitive levels to recoup predatory pricing costs, what would prevent saavy black entepreneurs from flooding back into the market? Plus, just as an anecdotal matter, in the greeting-cards-for-white-people market already occupied by large companies there are tons of small competitors. Lke I said, I've bought from them. Try finding an analog for this site in the field of, say, wholesale beverage bottling and you'll see that not all "big companies," "small companies," "markets," etc. interact subject to identical industrial-organizational principles.

    ReplyDelete
  53. @ pondering,

    NO with the tone argument.

    And affirmative action is not "cynical tokenism."

    ReplyDelete
  54. I remember the first time I walked into a Hallmark store and asked the manager if they had any black Santa Clauses or angels. This was in the early '90s, and it was extremely hard finding these for Christmas tree ornaments. Her hostility was immediate, and when I asked "why not?", she looked like she wanted to kill me.

    Before that she was all smiles. This is at the heart of the dilemma minorities face. You don't usually know who the enemy is and who isn't until you mention inclusion, even when it's a very gentle question or approach. You learn that around a quarter of whites, if not more, you're just there to be exploited like a robot for your labor or as a consumer, and are otherwise hated for having the audacity to want to share the planet with them. Since they're usually fake in their friendliness, you're have to be on guard b/c you don't know who is a hater and who isn't, like the woman who wrote this post and didn't learn this until she wanted inclusion.

    I'll just mention that Paul Rand and his supporters know this.

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Sarah - Hey, a SWPD: see race as binary: white or non-white.

    @jlie - Totally agree that mirroring racial demographics isn't a good way to be fair. But then how do you judge what a fair mix is? Just plain gut feel? I really don't know what the answer is on that one.

    ReplyDelete
  56. @Dersk re "@Sarah - Hey, a SWPD: see race as binary: white or non-white."

    Exactly. In a society that is ordered by de facto white supremacy, white or non-white is the essential distinction in terms of race. The process of different ethnic groups becoming normalized or accepted in this society is one of being "whitened" due to this de facto white supremacy. Also, the white/not-white dichotomy, as explained by Robert Jensen among other, points up what he calls "the depravity of white supremacy," the fact that whether one is white or not is all that matters in terms of privileges extended.

    In Sarah's example, the other employees saw the all-white sample photos as just pictures of people. It was only when people of color were introduced that they began to be aware of race in the photos at all, though of course it was always there.

    ReplyDelete
  57. @ soul

    I appreciate everything you've said both about where you spend your money and your suggestion to take as many skills as you can from racist workplaces and move on ASAP.

    I've been doing a lot of the things you suggest but it is a constant battle as their are so few safe spaces for us to work/live/shop. I walked out of a auto dealership because I was treated in such a condescending manner. The guy lost a guaranteed sale: I knew what I wanted and I needed a car right then. Instead I found another dealer nearby who treated me with some respect, it was still a white male salesmen but he behaved in a respectful manner.

    My supervisor and my coworkers both make xenophobic comments. I ignore them and do not participate because I need to be able to use them as references to find a new position.

    ReplyDelete
  58. @ Willow,

    As I understand it, the tone argument is when you try to invalidate someone's substantive point based on his tone. I haven't done that -- I've tried to invalidate soul's substantive point based on economics and, additionally and distinctly, I have objected to his blatant, over-the-top, condescending tone.

    I agree that it is grossly unfair to dismiss affirmative action policies in general as cynical tokenism. However, when your instructor admits he approved your application for his course because "I knew it would look good to have a woman [in the class]," I don't think "cynical tokenism" is an inaccurate characterization. When an institution strives to increase representation of a group not out of a sincere interest in alleviating oppression but, rather, solely to benefit from the superficial, cosmetic effects of affirmative action, I think you get a situation not-disimilar to a greeting card company sticking in some photos of black families solely for the sake of appearing, you know, "multicultural." That's not to say that even these smirking, half-hearted nods towards anti-oppression can't generate real positive effects. (In fact, that's part of why I question whether it's necessarily bad for a company to get into the POC greeting cards market, even if the company does it for the wrong reasons).

    ReplyDelete
  59. @pondering....

    Firstly, Clap for your self at trying to pull the 'gender' shit... But GTFOH with that mess cos lo and behold.. I am a woman.
    Thanks for asking by the way but all your assumptions in here, you are WRONG.

    bwaaahaaahaaaa!
    You are serious?
    3 posts full of FAIL, full of trying to justify your lack of economic acumen, your complete lack of understanding that 500 businesses offering good items + 1 new company offering stereotypical bollocks in a market place does not equal progress or good tidings.

    And you fail at your explanation of tokenism.
    GTFOH with your mess. SMH.
    Borrowing from RVCBard: 'and they say black folk don't read.....

    ReplyDelete
  60. @thelady....
    anytime.

    Just remember, don't force anyone to take your own money from you.

    If you are in a workplace with racist staff, especially one whose business it is to SELL to the public. Don't waste time trying to get them to grab business from the mouths of other people.

    If you see a market but don't have the no how, then find a way to sell the idea to someone else.

    Its all about people respecting you and your wallet.
    Gone are the days when black people needed to pay premium for discarded the dodgy parts of meat and still endure abuse whilst doing it.

    Fuck that.

    ReplyDelete
  61. @thelady....
    anytime.

    Just remember, don't force anyone to take your own money from you.

    If you are in a workplace with racist staff, especially one whose business it is to SELL to the public. Don't waste time trying to get them to grab business from the mouths of other people.

    If you see a market but don't have the no how, then find a way to sell the idea to someone else.

    Its all about people respecting you and your wallet.
    Gone are the days when black people needed to pay premium for discarded the dodgy parts of meat and still endure abuse whilst doing it.

    Fuck that.

    ReplyDelete
  62. [Dear pondering,

    Hush. This isn't an economics blog, and more than that, picking nits and asking questions that you could easily Google would just further derail this thread. ~macon]

    ReplyDelete
  63. @Sarah

    By the way, feel free to share with your bosses and coworkers that I am both white and put off by companies that have a sea of white faces in their marketing. Unless I have no other option, I generally do not to use their services.

    I'm not sure exactly who your bosses and coworkers think their clientele are, but more POC in their catalog means they are likely to gain a customer in me.

    ReplyDelete
  64. @Sarah

    Thank you. You're awesome.

    Just curious, are you able to ascertain if the inclusion of POC photos have hurt or helped sales?

    ReplyDelete
  65. @Tyler

    unfortunately there is no way to know for sure. with new products and even older ones there are so many factors that can make or break an item. But blogloggers picture frame analogy is exactly right and it's hard to imagine someone shopping for a picture frame is going to be swayed by the ethnicity of the family in the sample photo. Maybe I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I pretty much agree with jlp. I can't say that it has any anti-racist benefit buying from companies that refrain from flooding us with a "sea of white faces in their marketing". But I think I'm more likely to buy from a company that avoids doing so. Whether this is progress of just smart companies gaming the system in a way that perpetuates existing (mostly white) power, I really don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Can these people be taken to court?

    ReplyDelete
  68. @thesciencegirl,

    If the staff in this workplace are so ridiculously uncomfortable with lifeless photographs of POC in their presence, then what do you suppose would happen when they got a POC coworker?

    ReplyDelete
  69. i've been a reader of this blog off and on for about 6 mo. now. more off than on once i realized how quick macon was/is to censor dissent. in retrospect i geuss his unwillingness to print some my posts was justifiable. but for others, no.

    still, i do hope he posts this one, because it IS on topic, but also relevant to a larger issue-which is swpd itself, overall.

    most of you swpd'ers are laboring under several misconceptions; but there is a single main one: namely, you believe that Racism is illegal.

    RACISM
    IS
    NOT
    ILLEGAL

    there are no laws against holding racist and/or white-supremacist views.

    but, as i say, a lot of you folks seem to think that there are. oh, i realize that you may cognitiively, factually, get that it's legal-the Klan, the Confederate Hammerskins, Stormfront.org, etc are all above-ground groups after all...but deep inside, you consider Racism so utterly abhorrant that it just SEEMS like there must of course be dire consequences for any Racist(whether mild or extreme in their racist views).

    an example from this post is where sarah states that her boss almost said aloud; No more blacks. but then she 'thought better of it' and 'backtracked'. it's like sarah is implying that this woman came THIS CLOSE to being busted. but busted for what?

    then commenter izzy wonders if there's some way to take the company to court...again, for what? there's no discrimination, no intimidation; i suppose some ultra-rarified Hostile Work Environment case could be made, but it'd be a very long shot.

    so this is where i'm supposed to identify myself as a WM and state how staunchly AR i am, and how racism SHOULD be illegal, etc, etc...but i'm not gonna do all that.

    for one thing, it doesnt seem to work; you all seem to get mad at any WP who says anything off-script, no matter how they try to ingratiate themselves. for another, i don't care what swpd'ers think of me; i know well enough for my own self that i'm not a racist.

    thanks...

    ReplyDelete
  70. randy,

    where's your evidence that most "swpd-ers" believe that all forms of racism are illegal? Many are illegal, but obviously not all are -- racist jokes, for instance, while obnoxious and often hurtful, are not illegal, nor were say, the racist signs held up by a lot of Teabaggers.

    You say you've been reading here for six months -- why? What keeps you reading? What particular value does this blog have for you?

    (As for the claim that I refuse all dissent here -- you're not reading closely. A lot of dissenting comments get published here, though it is true that I don't publish blatantly racist or willfully oblivious comments. Why subject readers here to that?)

    ReplyDelete
  71. What was the point of letting randy's post through moderation? Wait, don't answer that - it would just derail more. Randy obviously has nothing to offer here, so let's get back on topic.

    ReplyDelete
  72. randy himself does not really deserve a reply, but his kind of comment is a good example for us all of how whites talk about race when they/we get threatened. Criticism evokes a strong emotional response that leads to wild exaggerations and the assumption that critique in a public forum is the same thing as calling the police to have you arrested. Depending on context, the WP either gets very angry and verbally aggressive (like randy) or withdraws into sullen silence and avoids this POC or POC in general in the future. What the WP does not do is listen to the criticism, reflect on it and engage it.

    I'm not going to say that every time I'm criticized by a POC that I end up agreeing with the criticism, but I do try to slow down the emotional defensiveness and give myself time to reflect on the critique. I try to stay in relationship. I've been in a few ugly fights over the years. If possible, after a blow up, I wait a few days (or weeks or months) until my own emotions have settled down and I've gotten some sense of perspective, and then reach out and try to reconnect. More often than not, when I've reached out, the other person has been nice to me and appreciative of taking the first step to try to heal a breach and discuss the problem. I don't give up my own separate judgment (I couldn't and still have integrity as a person) but I try to pay attention and learn from other people about their points of view and, in the process, often come to change my own. And sometimes what I learn is that when you have hurt another person, they are going to stay hurt and angry, and you have to live with that.

    And to make the obvious point: many observers note that WP "catch" themselves from making racial statements and interrupt, back up and repair them. This is because they don't want to be seen as racist, or because they are uncomfortable talking about race, not because they think they will be arrested. Unlike randy, some people believe there are norms and customs and human relationships that are constrain behavior without being codified into law.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Ah, I see... it's like buying a frame with a stock photo in it and you put your own family's holiday photo inside.

    That's... really prejudiced of the company. I can't think of anyone who would be put off by families of color in a stock example pic, for pete's sake!

    I worked for a news organization which uses stock photos to illustrate things, and we had policies about using inclusive and appropriate photos -- IE: you don't automatically pick a shot of a white guy's hand with a syringe by default if you're doing a story about doctors, and you do not use a POC pic in a story which could have stereotypical undertones: an Asian computer whiz, for example. It's really key to think about inclusiveness of images and context.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "Unlike randy, some people believe there are norms and customs and human relationships that are constrain behavior without being codified into law."

    I think Randy does believe that. What makes his post such a fail is his rediculous assertion that nobody else does.

    Back to the original topic, the actions of the OP seem like they should come naturally to any WP who has gone through the process of acknowledging their privilege and recognizing our current state of de facto white supremacy. It's not as if Sarah made some great sacrifice. All the genuine appreciation expressed by POC in this thread leads me to believe anti-racism may not be so complicated and fraught for WP if we would focus more on simple and quiet everyday action and reflection than on rhetoric and
    appearances.

    ReplyDelete
  75. @Jas0nburns and other WP

    "All the genuine appreciation expressed by POC in this thread leads me to believe anti-racism may not be so complicated and fraught for WP if we would focus more on simple and quiet everyday action and reflection than on rhetoric and
    appearances."

    I would like to learn more about what white people have actually done to combat racism (other than talk about it, or teach people about their privilege, or wallow in that privilege).

    Do you have other examples of what you have done ? Can you point the way to a series of examples as strong as this or the flip the script video ? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  76. @argon

    Well, I think that this post when brought down to the bare essentials, can be used as a basic guide for us WP in challenging white supremacy. It may not be in a big showy I Am An Activist™ kind of way but more in a quiet I want to be a decent human being kind of way.

    1. See something racist
    2. Speak up about it/call it out
    3. If possible, change the situation in a way that undermines that racism

    And it sounds silly, because it seems so obvious, but I think that's what Jas0n was trying to get at. We need less theory and more everyday actions and we need to not expect a cookie or a pat on the back for it.

    I don't have a list or a bunch of links, but generally the kinds of things I'm talking about shouldn't be blog worthy, they should be mundane (not that racism is mundane, but that if a WP stands up against racism it shouldn't be an OMG I am so anti-racist look at me! kind of thing), it should be something we do without thinking, simply because we recognize it as being the right thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

Please see the "commenting guidelines" before submitting a comment.

hit counter code