A few years back, we launched one of our most popular tees, “Not A List.” As we visited Pride Festivals all over the United States, humans would see the design, read the words, and nod their heads in excitement – “Yes! I’ve been saying this my whole life – we’re all only human!”
The “Not A List Tee” was introduced during our first summer as a newly-formed community organization as part of our inaugural Pride Campaign with the goal of reminding humans that collectively — we have a responsibility to get better at seeing and honoring the humanity in others. We need to celebrate and honor our differences in culture, race, religion et. al. while also recognizing that we have a common bond that exists in the core human experience.
The message we seek to spread in the world is that labels associated with our identities should not be used to oppress any human and that we cannot be blind to the humanity of others.The vast majority of humans have resonated 100% with that message and understand the intended meaning behind it.
Still, every now and again we receive a comment from someone letting them know that this design conveys erasure of black history and black culture. In complete honesty humans, these comments crush us. Partly because a main pillar of our existence is to promote human rights, especially for those who face oppression and inequality, but also because when we sit back and reflect on those statements – they’re not wrong.
We are sickened by the treatment and racism black humans face in this world, and it’s important that groups of humans who sit in seats of privilege take action to help drive systemic change. That includes us. We must continue to do better.
What we love about the “Not A List Tee” is that, for those who are willing, it engages humans in incredibly meaningful conversations around racism, equality, honoring our differences, and respecting our unique histories and cultures. Through that respectful discourse, we’ve seen nothing but positive outcomes and impressive progress.
With that said, over the last few years and with the help of others having the courage to use their voices with conviction, we’ve been able to realize that we have an opportunity to reframe our intended message in a better way. One in which we honor and acknowledge our differences first and foremost, because we’ve always believed you can’t change what you can’t see.
As Maya Angelou said, “do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We’re taking her words to heart and taking action.
For more specific information on how we are doing this as it relates to Black Lives Matter: