So. Yesterday, after FCKH8 accused Colorlines of “race baiting” and spammed the site with links to their “call for an apology”, Colorlines updated their post on FCKH8’s video with the following:
Update, September 15, 2014, 5:28 p.m.:
Colorlines would like to acknowledge that we did not reach out to FCKH8.com before running the blog post “This is the T-Shirt Company Making Money Off of Ferguson.” We make the following clarifications in the post:
1. According to a FCH8.com statement, the kids were from Ferguson.
2. Our piece says, “Five dollars from each shirt will supposedly go to unidentified ‘charities working in communities to fight racism.’” After publication, we learned that the organizations FCKH8.com had designated as recipients were listed elsewhere on-line, including in a September 9, 2014 Shadow and Act story.
3.In our post we say “The company behind the video, FCKH8.com, has made a name for itself selling what it calls ‘LGBT Equality Gear’(which sort of covers some LGB themes, but sort of leaves the T part out)…” According to an September 13, 2014 visit to FKH8.com, there is a transgender-themed T-shirt on sale in the “LGBT Equality Gear” section of the website.
4. After publishing the post we later learned that the organization behind the campaign had designated our publisher, Race Forward, as a recipient of a portion of the proceeds from this campaign. Unfortunately, contrary to philanthropic best practices, Race Forward hadn’t been previously notified of the the donation and immediately issued a statement that it would not accept any funds from the effort. Race Forward stands by that decision and would not have accepted the designation had we been previously aware.
It is important for us to assure you that our readers can trust us to report and behave with integrity. For 16 years, Colorlines has been a news source where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. The questions we raised about the relationship between commerce and community politics with regard to race are important and legitimate, and we will continue to explore them generally on our screens.
At Race Forward, the organization you have come to know over 30 years —formerly under the name of Applied Research Center — our mission remains clear: to build awareness, solutions and leadership for racial justice. We do that by addressing: the impact of individual acts of racial discrimination within a deeper analysis of systemic racial injustice; the racial impact of individual and institutional actions and outcomes, as well as the intentions behind them; and the consequences of unconscious racial bias. Race Forward will remain committed to using this approach in considering any organizational perspective, opinion
We remain committed to working towards a vibrant world in which people of all races create, share and enjoy resources and relationships equitably.
—Colorlines and Race Forward
On the one hand, I get it. Journalistic integrity yadda yadda. But the above correction essentially throws the author, Aura Bogado under the bus. Yes, there were errors in the original post that should’ve been fact checked before publishing BUT those errors do not negate the original rightful critique. FCKH8 is completely in the wrong here, as evidenced by their temper tantrum and endless stream of spam all over the Colorlines post. As they say, “a hit dog will holler”.
FCKH8 REGULARLY uses problematic language and imagery when talking about POC and race, which is why their “anti-racism gear” and light hearted Ferguson video came off as disingenuous and incredibly opportunistic. How can an organization “support” an issue in which they have no understanding and are completely unwilling to learn? How can FCKH8 support anti-racism and accuse a non-profit dedicated to anti-racism of “race baiting”? ”Race baiting” is how RACISTS attempt to derail conversations about racism. Real allies don’t claim “race baiting” when called out. FCKH8 is not an ally to the anti-racism movement and does not deserve an apology.
There’s really no way to wrap this up other than to say I’m incredibly disappointed that this is where this story has ended up. FCKH8 will no doubt take this as a “victory” and not analyze any of their behavior or understand why the critique was made in the first place. Instead, they’ll use this situation to silence other POC who take issue with their “anti-racism work” and continue to water down serious conversations about race and equality all in the name of t-shirt sales.