Dear Pantsuit Nation,
You definitely don’t know me. I have been a silent observer of your closed and mostly “private” Facebook group for a few weeks now. Watching you grow into an influential collective. Over 3 million members strong! Your brand is storytelling, especially post-apocalypse. It seems now that the Orange Menace is inevitable…you want to amplify voices affected in the aftermath.
With this in mind, I expected there to be an abundance (not just a couple) of stories from people most severely effected by the Orange Menace. Immigrants, disabled people, people in the LGBTQIA+ communities, black people and other non-black people of color and the people who intersect into all of these groups. I was excited with the idea that there would be a white audience, ready to listen to the most vulnerable voices among us.
Although I rejected the first dozen invitation to the group, 13 was the charm.
However, while the content is lovely and the collective lamenting feels therapeutic on the outset, I am not IGNITED! I am not INSPIRED! The tone of the page is self-centered as fuck and congratulatory. Congratulatory for what? I’m not sure. There are so few stories from the most marginalized groups, I wondered what the point actually was.
I get it, you share what’s submitted to you and these are the stories being submitted right? I think maybe, you could work a little harder to invite more diverse story telling into your group. With more than three million members, someone will know someone who knows someone who can get you connected with people who really deserve a platform and allies willing to stand with them. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center hate crimes are up, more than 800 reported incidents since the electionand, and the numbers continue to rise.
What are you doing with this group and it’s three million members, really?
This is the question I keep coming back to. Three million members and where is the call to action, how are you creating real change?
You seem to support the efforts in Standing Rock, though I have seen no natives at standing rock being given a platform in your group. You share links to your zazzle account to promote your merchandising, so I can see you know how to leverage your platform.
You are leaving some people out. In particular, black women.
Perhaps, you just don’t have clear direction. As an ally, it is always so difficult to know where and how to get started.
Enter Safety Pin Box
Safety Pin Box is a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.
– Marissa Jenae Johnson & Leslie Mac, Creators
Leslie Mac and Marissa Janae reached out to your national Pantsuit Nation page in the spirit of allyship, hoping to get their story and their service in front of your membership…surely, this is the kind of story that deserved to be told.
The service literally puts allyship into a box, packaged and wrapped for white consumption. Calls to action in monthly, bite-sized pieces of brilliance. Finally, a clear-cut way well-intended white people can make change in ways just wearing a safety-pin or telling personal stories can’t. Surely, Pantsuit Nation would support these two entrepreneurs and social justice activists and black women…right?
Not at all. Even after dozens of people shared it with your group in hopes you would amplify both the message and the women behind it. The resistance was real, the refusal was evident and while I’m not even surprised at your one-sided ideas of allyship, I’m definitely disgusted.
You didn’t bother to respond to my requests to post at all. However you did respond to someone with this unimaginative canned and tone-deaf message on twitter…
It wasn’t helpful so, I have a few questions…
What exactly are you doing with this group? Who are you supporting? How are you supporting them, beside story telling and PSN specific actions to buy PSN specific merchandise? Are you a non-profit or for profit and if it’s the former, where is that money going?
Do black lives matter? Where is that represented in your space?
Do black women matter? Why wont you amplify these voices?
You can direct your answers to me here or on Twitter – @Jenina_ishere – I’ll wait.
PS – for anyone interested in being an effective ally, please check out The Safety Pin Box
Peace and love,