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Design

It’s Time To Get To Work

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There is no “before and after” when it comes to growth. No big “I’m done! Fully formed human (or blog) here! I hope you like the finished me!!” like there is in room designs (although even that is questionable). The anti-racism work we have to do is more than just a single list of actions we need to take in our personal lives, or at this company. Creating equity here at EHD, in the design industry, and throughout our entire society will come from a conscious shift on every front, every platform, consistently, and permanently.

We are still a design blog, but we will be a better one. One that drives change, awareness, and strives towards equity in our field for Black designers and makers, and everyone else who hasn’t felt accepted or seen in the design world. We will have more Black and POC voices, designers, makers, writers and bloggers on our site and platforms, in our industry, and on our team. Diversity will be included daily and thought about consciously (but I will also be hiring a diversity consultant to guide us, because we aren’t going to be anti-racism and equity experts in just one week).

All of this is going to take daily practice, and we won’t get it right all the time but as you guys know the fear of not being perfect has NEVER held me back from talking. Being scared to make mistakes is counterproductive. Tomorrow we will continue to share design and style content, because that’s what we do, and it’s hopefully why you’re here. But we won’t go back to” business as usual” or “normal”. Ever.

This quote, from a video I saw this weekend, is what I’m now telling myself every morning: “Glad you are awake. Time to get to work” – Sonya Renee Taylor. And so we will.

Black Lives Matter.

Fin Mark

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Nelly

Thank you so much Emily and EHD-Team. Thank you for not just talking but taking action.

always a role model – not only in design but also in life.

Tina Schrader

Yes, Michelle, agreed. Exactly what I was thinking. The title of this post is what really resonated with me. It is indeed time to get to work — ongoing, lifetime-lasting work.

Trly

Bravo!

I am one of your Black readers who has previously challenged you to not only shine a spot light on black designers and voices, but to bring them into your tent. During the past week, I have seen more virtue signaling messages from companies flood my email. It seems that everyone company had a message written by the same PR team or diversity consultant. Good news, lots of good organizations are getting guilt money. Bad news, nothing has or will change in those corporations.

You are to be congratulated for stepping out early in this discussion, hearing the diverse voices in your community challenge you to do better and taking actual steps to make long term change. I look forward to having you document the changes that lie ahead and the difference these changes make. You didn’t have to step out and take the heat, but you did. I think you will be glad that you did!

As a black woman and aspiring designer this warms my heart! Thank you!Who are you hiring for your diversity consultant? I know a few anti-racist coaches and consultants. It’s important that you hire someone black. Happy to recommend.

Judy

Thank you, Emily.

Darla

It’s time to go to work indeed. All of these people have nowhere to go all day except protests. Put them back on the job.

Jenn

Seems you enjoy making unfounded assumptions.

When I look at the protests I make assumptions too….that they are people willing to put their comfort on the line to enact real positive change in the world.

They are the best of humanity. I celebrate every one.

super weird comment. so, people exercising their american right to assemble and protest injustice is apparently a waste of time. so what exactly is worth protesting? were the civil rights protests of the 60s a waste of time? should those people have just gone back to work? what about the women that protested for the right to vote? should they have just gone back to the kitchen? what about people that protested at the boston tea party? should they have just gone back to whatever the heck people did for work back then?
again. super weird comment that you’re making.

Marisa

Actually, Darla, I work 60+ hours a week at a hospital and have two young kids, and I and most of my colleagues have been attending protests regularly because it is too important not to be there. We welcome you to join us, before this country devolves fully into fascism. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Rusty

Yes! This is the reality. Real people. Real issue. Real action.
Thank you. xx

Hilary

Shame on you Darla. It seems you are entirely missing the point of this post, this time and this movement.

Samantha W Zutler

I’m looking forward to what’s next Emily!

MJ

I know we are all created equal per our God and our constitution, so for me ALL LIVES MATTER! We score positions in the job world by our merits/talents not by our skin color, I would be sick if I had to hire people who had less talent but the their skin color was the right color than someone else’s with a perfect resume, also, because I have a diversity consultant telling me what to do with my business. As soon as the word equality comes up, out the door goes some real talented people, because they just might not have the look, which I find very racist. The door swings both ways in our culture, and the squeaky wheel should not always get the oil. I am so glad you are trying for ‘fairness,’ but you will never achieve equality. Think about what an irrational statement you are telling your followers on this blog.

anonymous

Wow. I have been a reader for years and this is the first time I’ve commented. Your comment makes me absolutely sick. If you can summon nothing from this moment in our nation’s history except for what you wrote, I am very sorry for you indeed. I’ll save your words and make sure I review them with my white children as an example of ignorance and hate, so that they are clear that I am raising them to turn out nothing like you.

CGinAZ

Amen. Amen. Amen

Kelly

Lol you can’t even put your name, get a spine.

Leah Butler

Who wants to do the work educating this white person? Let’s please dear god not make any black person do any more work educating ignorant white folks this week. I’ll start. If you see diversity as a negative rather than a positive thing that can contribute to you personally and professionally, you should start right there and do some thought. Start with the book “white fragility” or listen to the podcasts that Emma Watson just put together on Spotify. You need to hear from more black women and men and hear their experience. Second of all, you need to rethink the gut response of “All lives matter”. It is so hurtful. If you see a person hurting (or in this case getting systematically murdered and discriminated against at almost every stage in the legal process” you don’t yell “but what about meeeee?” “What about that nice white cop down the street named Fred?” “What about the military and the flag and freedoms?!” You help the person or people who are hurting. Black people do not have the same privilege and freedom in this country currently and it’s time for change. And if you don’t believe black people are hurting and… Read more »

Jenn

Thank you for saying what I was thinking, but putting it far more eloquently than I could.

Jenn

Meaning your words, Leah Butler.

Jenn

I love the idea of homework before commenting. Informed dialogue is sooo much more productive. And you and your team are certainly providing plenty of educational resources, we just all need to do the work of utilizing them!

Leah Butler

Hi! First of all, I would not delete comments. As hurtful as it is, to quote Childish Gambino (heart), “This is America.” It’s powerful and painful to see that we all aren’t living the same reality. Let’s face it head on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about whether it’s important to educate and provide resources for those making ignorant statements. At this point, a person would have to have their fingers so far in their ears that they MUST not be curious or interested in learning about how we, as white people in a predominantly white country have failed black men, women and children. Or they simply are not humble enough to admit to wrongdoing. (Oh, how much better life would be if we could all admit that we simply don’t know everything).

I think it’s great that we are all sharing books and resources (this coming from a person who literally shared a book and podcast 10 mins ago) BUT i think it is more powerful for you, in a position of power, to walk the walk. No need for you to provide more resources. That is what the google is for.

Lauren

Thank you Leah – I avoid posting a lot because it stresses me out to confront the hate. I appreciate you!

Rusty

I think that some people are so blinded by their ignorance and comfort zones, that no matter what, they cannot bring their heads out of the sand.
That’s how this problem started.
You know, the ol’ All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” mantra.
I often ponder whether it’s worth the oxygen to try to ‘help’ someone see sense when they are otherwise blinded?
I commend your efforts.

RJ

Why don’t we all watch Mark Levin this Sunday on TV and listen to two educated Black men telling what is happening in the black community.
Yes education ourselves is important!

Leah Butler

Personally, I do not trust Fox News to educate me (or anyone else) about the Black experience.

Rusty

Ooooh, yeah!
We had a “Media Watch” program aired tonight in Australia that put the spotlight on Fox News and their cronyism. They don’t have much leverage here, outside of print media. Phew!
I’m embarrassed that Murdoch came from Australia!

Trly

No. Please do not delete ignorant comments like MJ’s because it proves the point that there are a lot of people think just like her. However, they usually don’t say the quite parts out load. Like MJ, I agree that we are all created equal by God. However, we are simply not treated equally. And since she believe ALL LIVES MATTER, then she must believe and acknowledge that Black Live Matters. It is a simple math problem. To get ALL, you can’t leave out some. Thus, Black Lives Matter! If MJ thinks that positions in this world are distributed based upon merit, then she has not spent much time working in the real world. Unfortunately, believing that the world operates based upon meritocracy is naïve because we all have conscious and unconscious bias. And let’s not forget the “it is not what you know, it is who know” factor. Unfortunately, people of color typically do not know people in power because we have been typically been denied access. It is important to see the ugliness in the world so that we know it is really there. Like the horrific killing of George Floyd and others under the color of authority,… Read more »

Rusty

So then, a vote down button?

Rusty

Sometimes I wish there was a “vote down” button.

That way, there could be a system where if it got to some determined number, you could look at it and choose to delete it. Then it wouldn’t be simply your choice per se, but your members’ indication.
What do you think??

Susan

I would hate to see comments removed because the majority dislike them. Tyranny of the majority is a real issue that our Founders considered seriously. It is one of the reasons that we have three branches of government and two Congressional bodies, each elected differently (each state gets two Senators, regardless of the size of the state, and each state gets proportional representation in the House of Representatives.) The Founders did not want the majority to be able to dictate to the minority. Instead, they wanted both sides to compromise.

I love this blog, but I think there is significant lack of tolerance here for unpopular opinions – not by Emily, but by the commentators. Some of the intolerant comments here are quite bullying. Taking down the unpopular opinions would reinforce the power of those expressing their intolerance here. I would rather see the unpopular comments stay up.

But Emily can and perhaps should, establish standards of civility for all comments.

Robin

Seems this comment speaks, no, not speaks to, exactly to what Emily is putting forward in her post. This “all lives matter” patter is getting very old, and trite. And reverse racism is so 1970’s.
I am a “boomer” lived thru the 60’s, 70’s, etc. All that fun. So so sad it needs to continue.

awv

i got nothing but “wow” for this comment…and people wonder why we are where we are today

KJ

Why would you assume hiring Black people means hiring lesser talent? Voices/lewks/design from other people who do not look like Emily will make her brand stronger and *the world better*. There are lots of qualified folks out there, and Emily has acknowledged working on that within her team. Long overdue to be sure, but kuddos to finally *working* to make it happen. Providing opportunities to people who do not look like us does not hurt us.

I also want to note I know plenty of White people who were not qualified for their first, second, or third job but caddied for someone, had a friend who’s dad was a CEO, etc. and got in to a professional position and went on to be perfectly “fine” in their jobs. Surely, you do too.

RP

MJ: no one said ONLY black lives matter. Why so defensive???

Margo

First up, quick history lesson for MJ. It is the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, which declares that “all men are created equal.” Further, the framers never argued that all people were created equal. They were referring only to white men. So, while God may have created all people equal, this, regrettably, is not an ideal upon which our country was founded. If we ever reach a point in time where all people are treated equally, it will be in spite of our slave-owning founders, not because of them. Second, if it has not been recommended here already, I strongly recommend the second season of the “Scene on Radio” podcast, called “Seeing White.” It is a deep historical dive into the social construction of whiteness as tool of oppression and exploitation, and clearly illustrates how the founding of our country was not only racist, but actually depended on racism. There are so many clarifying “Aha!” moments in this podcast, in which notions of structural and institutional racism, which can sometimes be a bit nebulous, are brought into clear relief. Third, I think it’s important not to delete comments like this, because those of us who are fighting racism need… Read more »

Trly

Thank you for breaking it down so wonderfully!

Caitlin Taylor

Hi MJ,
To still be saying “all lives matter” at this point you have to be so willfully ignorant of the world around you, it boggles the mind. The POINT of Black Lives Matter is that all lives matter, but the problem is: AMERICA DOES NOT VALUE BLACK LIVES.

As for your strange assumption that hiring a Black person somehow means hiring a person with less talent, well that’s a fairly ignorant stance. If you want to educate yourself (and there are so many amazing ways you can!!), I suggest reading How to Be An Antiracist, Between the World and Me, or White Fragility.

Good luck to you, and I hope you make it out of the dark.

Valerie

Awesome! I am excited to see you work!

AVK

Thank you so much for posting this. I’m a longtime reader—I’ve read your blog since I was in college and I’m now a civil rights lawyer—but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. I wanted to say that I’ve always gotten so much joy out of following your work, and I really appreciate your ever-growing commitment to justice as well. We should all aspire to make the world a more just and joyful place, and you have my support for doing your part with your platform.

J Tateishi

Including a greater diversity of people, in my experience, really does up the quality of everything no matter the field —you already do great work and this will make it even better! It will also make many things new and challenging for you which I think you will rather enjoy. From our biracial Asian American home to yours—hooray!

Emily, it is heartening to see you so driven to make changes and implement practices for your team and content going forward. One other area that I’d also love to see you work toward inclusivity and diversity is in sponsored content by featuring and working with and linking to brands who are committed to doing this work as well. Hopefully being an influencer can mean not just influencing readers but also the companies (and events) you partner with or feature to be committed to diversifying their teams, speakers/spokespeople, and content and dismantling the systems that normalize and promote white experiences over black ones. Really, truly commend you for listening and using your platform to make a difference.

Aaaaaaand. This is why I come here. You are an amazing person on top of your design content. This is seriously the most authentic of all the crap I read and all the stuff that companies have been putting out in the word this week. I’m totally judging people. It’s true. If someone is putting out great content but is showing zero humanity, I’m done. No time for that. Keep it up! Cheers from Michigan.

Rusty

Yesss!
So many of my other design sites have fallen silent over this matter. I’m considering not following them and sticking with the couple (yes, sadly, only a couple, that are doing the hard work.
I’m going to actively dive into blogs by POC.
I usedto love Jungalow but Justina doesn’t blog anymore and I can’t Instagram due to time constraints… insta = rabbithole.

Addie

I’m looking forward to hearing, seeing and continuing to learn more. Thank you!

TMT

I’m so ready for this kind of influence. I’ll be checking in every day!

mariejeanne juilland

You mentioned wanting to let more people know about “Black designers and makers, and everyone else who hasn’t felt accepted or seen in the design world.” Here’s one who has not been seen/ accepted in the design world: BOA
@oistudio_
Her work is amazing!
Thanks from this white mom of 2 black kids ( actually young adults by now 🙂

Jessica

wow yeah. followed!

Rusty

I just read this. And I’m crying. Good tears.
I’m so inspired.
Your Future Self will look back at this moment in your life and be very, very proud of you. ❤

Suzanne

Thank you for modeling what anti-racism work and being an ally looks like. I’m looking forward to joining you on this journey.

Karen Murray

Thank you Emily…very inspirational!!

Hayley

Well done. It’s not your (or anyone else’s) job to educate me, but I’m still looking forward to learning together in this space.

Susan

I appreciate and applaud your plans to be more inclusive. As the mom of an adult daughter who has been physically disabled since birth, I am asking you to include design for people with disabilities in your definition of diversity. I am a lifelong fan of interior design, style, architecture, and style with a large collection of books, magazines, and pins. I can tell you that design for people with disabilities is a non-existent area of design, except for the rare article on “universal design,” which almost always is functional, but not stylish. I think universal design can be both. I would love to see you show us how to make it work. One place to start is with Michael Graves, the post-modern architect who became disabled in his forties or so. The experience of using a wheelchair completely changed his designs as well as his life,and turned him into an eloquent advocate for universal design. Here are other places to start: kitchen islands are not wheelchair friendly, but kitchen tables are. So maybe look for great kitchens without islands to post? Showers with glass enclosures are not wheelchair friendly; in fact, they can be dangerous. Wheelchairs need a minimum… Read more »

Susan

Marianne Cusato is the architect of the Katrina Cottages.

J

hi emily, long time fan but the graphic you reposted on your insta story tonight from “@takedownthepatriarchy” really concerns me. i think you might misunderstand the phrase “black lives matter.” black lives matter is short hand for “black lives are being violently taken away by a racist police force and a racist american society, so clearly they dont matter to this society. we reject this society’s notion that black lives dont matter, and assert that they do.” saying “all lives matter” is not akin to a spouse saying something hurtful but true. its akin to saying “i am ignoring your pleas for an equitable society. i am willfully and intentionally ignorig the point of this movement. and I prefer that cops would keep killing people with impunity instead of admitting to the fact that our society is racist.” i hope this helps and welcome input from others if there’s a better way to explain this.

jj

What do you call the rioters killing police and others? Have you ever read “The Black Matters” agenda?
They are anti-capitalism. Oh the irony of this declaration made by a movement that is the result of capitalism: “We are anti-capitalist. We believe and understand that Black people will never achieve liberation under the current global racialized capitalist system.” The videos that make us aware of police brutality are captured on phones that are a result of capitalism. The best way to elevate people out of material poverty? Capitalism. This system is why the United States is the most charitable nation.

Emily

Most people who are anti-capitalist recognize that the explosion of productive capacity we have seen since the industrial revolution is only possible under the capitalist system that gave rise to it. AND, at the same time, these people realize that once we have this productive capacity, we have to move beyond capitalism in order to achieve global justice. So what you’re pointing out is not something anti-capitalists don’t know… it’s in fact at the heart of their point. You can call it an irony, or you can call it “capitalism gives rise to its own destruction.” There’s nothing contradictory about that.

(Also your point about charity…. ugh. We wouldn’t “need” charity if we lived under conditions of justice, because everyone’s lives would be flourishing and our material needs would be met. So the fact that the US is the most charitable nation is a mark against it.)

JJ

We have to move beyond capitalism in order to achieve global justice.
Could you explain this?

Emily

Yes definitely. What I mean is that capitalism is an economic system that uniquely allows for an explosion in innovation, productive capacity, etc. That’s why we’ve seen such unparalleled growth since the Industrial Revolution. In that respect, it’s wonderful. Capitalism has made it the case that for the first time in human history, we’re able to produce enough goods for all people to live a decent life. But capitalism is also a system organized around profits above all else. What this means is that our markets are organized around efficiency and growth, and any concerns about the “fairness” of distributions are irrelevant from the point of view of capitalism. This is just a fact about capitalism. Rising inequality, etc., is not something we can tax our way out of, even if we wanted to. Rampant poverty is one of the key features of any capitalist economic arrangement. So for the most part, anti-capitalists want to instead move towards an economic system organized around human flourishing, not profits. This can come in many forms: socialism, democratic socialism, communism (as that term refers to theories developed in the late 1800’s, NOT as it refers to today’s “communist” states). The point is that… Read more »

Jane

Here is a quote about the impact of “All Lives Matter” from Rachel Elizabeth Cargle that explains it better than I ever could: “I’ve come to describe this as a collective gaslighting from the white community. Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power (or in this case, keep their own peace), makes a victim question their reality. Why do those who counter black lives matter act as though black people aren’t aware of the glaring disproportionate statistics of police brutality, of health care racism, and of mass incarceration? This is our reality. You deciding to ignore it for your own comfort doesn’t make it any less true.”

Hi Emily,
Thank you for letting the black community, and the larger design community know where you stand when it comes to anti-racism, diversity, and your commitment – in business, blog and personal life – to being a part of the solution to change and to #BlackLivesMatter. We are very thankful that you’ve been open to share what you are looking to achieve – Hiring a DEI coach is an excellent place to start to understand how to shift within your organization, and with help doing it. I was just on a town hall meeting that shared some very valuable insights to help guide businesses through creating equitable, anti-racist organizations. It was hosted by Rachel Rodgers and was incredibly insightful, just sharing a link in case it’s helpful – you can watch the replay https://helloseven.co/townhall-2/

JM

I am so thrilled, Emily, that you and your staff are committed to educating yourselves about race and inequality; and are also committed to making significant changes in your company. It would be so easy to separate business and social justice; however, it moves me that you are facing the risk of displeasing clients, and are accepting the monumental task of thinking and acting socially responsibly.

I have served as an educator and facilitator at the Building Bridges Human Relations Camp based in Long Beach for 13 years—- where we discussed racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. What an eye-opener! What I have learned is we each start wherever we are and proceed the best we can. Guilt from inaction will not empower us. We can begin today to LISTEN to people’s experiences, read, and speak out. Thank you for doing all of these things; I appreciate your open hearts and your determination to act. Sending love and strength to all of you on your journey.

xxx JM

Jessica

Thanks Emily – this sounds like a good plan.

Leia

YESSSSSS!!!!

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