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Design

A Pause To Act, and Plan For Action

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As a team, we’ve decided that the blog and our social media accounts will continue to be mute of design content this week in order to create digital space for the Black activists, content creators, and organizations who are sharing important information, and to amplify their content on our own platforms. This country doesn’t need design distractions or escapism from us right now. We are using this time to LISTEN, learn, unlearn, and understand how to be better role models for racial and social equity within the blog and design fields and our own lives. We are also using this time to be more active in this fight for justice (keep an eye on our Instagram stories for information about protests and marches as we hear about them, as well as ways you can help donate supplies to support local LA protests).

If you’re looking for more information on who we are listening to, what we are reading, and a list of just a few of the Black designers and makers you can follow to take your own first steps in the fight for racial equity, please head to Sundays post. Then head to our Instagram stories for some of the accounts we are following to continue our anti-racism and ally education.

To our Black readers – We stand with you. And we apologize it’s taken us too long to make racial equity a consistent priority at EHD. We appreciate your comments, feedback and constant engagement – seriously. We know that you are holding us accountable to making permanent changes, and we are putting together an action plan for what is to come. Right now it’s important for us to listen to our fellow designers in the Black community, understand what will create effective and equitable changes, and take more immediate actions in other ways. Black Lives Matter.

Beautiful art by Artist Danielle Coke, of oh happy dani (whose prints are currently sold out, but you can sign up for her newsletter to find out when they will be back in stock!).

Fin Mark

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Audrey

Alrighty then catch you ladies next week.

ellieg

Why is this comment being voted up? It feels insensitive and racist to me. It is important now more that ever that we all stand united in support of racial equity in the US. As Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Kudos to the EHD Staff for using their voices and privilege to raise the voices of the Black community.

KS

Yeah, this sucks because I ACCIDENTALLY voted it up. I thought I was clicking to see replies. I hope that’s what happened to other people, too. I agree that it feels insensitive and racist.

Mel

Agreed. It’s understandable to quietly take a break from reading our favorite blogs/forms of media when we need to take a self-care break, because the world is indeed overwhelming. But it has an entirely different impact and energy, Audrey, when you feel the need to broadcast that you are uncomfortable and/or unsupportive of people coming together to step into all of our roles to move society forward. Go ahead and take some time during your week “off” to reflect on what kind of impact you want to have on this world.

Annie

Martha Luther King will be rolling in his grave he was for peace for all not just for black people.

Kathy

Please check out @overcomingracism for Matthew Kincaid’s video on Dr. King and the true meaning of his work.

Vivian

Yes he is BUT right now or should I say for the longest time, the black community need our help. That is exactly what we are trying to do now.

Lily

Sure, but right now we’re focusing on the non-peaceful actions towards BLACK people. No one is claiming not all races deserve peace and respect Annie.

You sound like one of those “But ALL lives matter!” People so let me break this down for you so you understand how racist and clueless you sound.

Saying “All Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter” is like going to a cancer fundraiser and saying “All Diseases Matter.” Yes, they do, but we’re addressing cancer right now so shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Kelly

Annie, please don’t infer Dr. King‘s name to try to justify the casual racism of All Lives Matter. If you don’t have the empathy, education, or moral compass to understand the systemic racism that has held black people back since slavery ended (or can’t recognize that if a white person was in George’s shoes that it is highly unlikely that a cop would senselessly asphyxiate them to death, which by the way, is basically 8 minutes of torture) I suggest you read up about white privilege, or maybe the Tulsa Race Massacre, or redlining, or perhaps read a biography of Dr. King himself.

Carissa

How is saying see you next week racist??? That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

rachel

@Carissa It’s thoughtless because there was no need to advertise that she was doing so. Obviously, nobody is in her house with her snooping over her shoulder and inspecting what sites she’s reading to see if they conform to her standards or not. With her comment, she is voicing her opposition to the decision that EHD have made to be an ally for an important cause. Not believing in racial equity is literally the definition of racism. Since she did not bother to explain the rationale for her comment or stick around to engage further in the discussion, she is sending the message that the subject of racial equity is not an important one to her. Ergo the conclusion of many commenters here. I agree that this does not necessarily mean she is racist, but hopefully this comment helps you understand the reactions you have seen to her insensitive comment.

rachel

@rachel Also to add to my comment above, it’s extremely important for voices with a platform and in a position to educate and influence others use that platform to speak out against injustices. Elected leaders, community leaders, influencers, celebrities, the press, etc — all of these people have the power and ability to give a voice to such situations. This is the only way any type of change can happen and it is the only way to have the type of society that everyone claims to desire. Every oppressed group in the history of mankind has needed the help of proactive allies to end the injustices that they face — by its very definition, part of being oppressed is that your voices are silenced. Obviously EHD have chosen to use their platform in this very specific way, which might look differently from how other influencers have taken action. Not everybody has to like it and that’s okay. But these actions are so essential.

jj

It’s hard to differentiate between the protesters and criminals when both are hiding behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

Elaine

No, it’s not difficult – protesters supporting equal treatment of black people are not ‘hiding’ behind the BLM movement, they are actively protesting in support of racial equity. Criminals are criminals. Any reasonable person can differentiate between the two.

Elaine

This comment feels racist because it is racist. Technically, nothing more has been said than ‘catch you next week’. But Audrey has posted this comment in such a way so that any argument against what she’s said can be countered with something along the lines of – ‘all I said was catch you next week’ or ‘why are you saying that, that’s not what I meant’ or worse ‘all I said was…, so you’re wrong in what you’ve said about me and now I feel bad that everyone misunderstands me’ (classic DARVO!). The reason Audreys’ comment feels so uncomfortable to us is because the phrase ‘alrighty then’ is often used to dismiss, diminish and belittle something as stupid or irrelevant. Technically it’s a ‘catch you later’ comment but the subtext is a little more covert. Something feels off about Audreys’ comment because something *is* off about her comment – she’s diminishing discussion on social justice for black people and saying she’ll be back when that conversation is over. She’s announcing her racism in a very quiet way. But we innately understand the real meaning of her comment even if we can’t quite verbalise what’s off about it. Racism doesn’t have… Read more »

JenniferinAustin

It’s being upvoted because many people are perfectly comfortable with the cancerous rock of White Supremecy that our society is built upon remaining exactly as it is. No matter, progress is happening whether they like it or not. “I MUST make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute… Read more »

Lily

Hopefully after you, Audrey, and everyone who upvoted you spend some much needed time on reading anti racist literature.

pecanLoaf

🖤🖤🖤

JJ Wahl

Thank you for lifting black voices.

“Anti-racism is not an identity or a checklist; it’s a practice.” — Andrea Ranae

Roberta Davis

I applaud your words and actions. Let’s all take time to examine our hearts, attitudes, and habits, and make the changes that are hundreds of years overdue. Onward to anti-racism and the actual practice, feeling and belief that all people are created equal. I’m sure it requires something slightly different for each person. This is a good time to figure it out and make those changes in ourselves.

Lisa Smith

I hope that, as others have requested, you will regularly feature designers, makers, creators, black/minority/POC-owned businesses, etc. I try not to be too much of a consumer, and find that when I do choose to purchase something trying to suss out who designed it, where it was made, who’s profiting, the environmental impact of it, will it last or just be trash soon . . . it’s a lot. I know it can seem like a relatively silly, small thing amidst all the more important societal reckonings and upheavals, but it is genuinely helpful to get advice from friends and professionals working in the space on what’s “good” so I have a spot to start from on not perpetuating inequality any more than I already do just by participating in the consumer economy. Please do whatever you can – and it sounds like you’re already thinking about it – to include an equity and race lens in your product roundups and featured designers, etc. I applaud centering black creators currently and hope you’ll intentionally make space for indigenous and trans and Asian etc. folks too. Bonus – it is genuinely really rewarding to seek out work from people who don’t… Read more »

Lisa

Yes to all this plus some deep thinking into cultural appropriation and purchasing original works. This thread pulls in international issues and struggles for product making communities world-wide.

Karyn

Crap, I accidentally voted it up as well. Not AT ALL what I wanted to do.

Hannah Robinett

This is a UI design flaw, not your fault. + symbol normally means to open up something, which I think a lot of people thought here. Very unfortunate.

EHD Could this be more clear with a either a thumbs up / thumbs down or clearly labeled VOTE button? Users should also be able to unvote if they click again.

Meredith

Hi Emily,

Can I suggest a feature on Rural Studio? They are doing really creative work in West Alabama’s Black Belt.

Alison

I hope the action plan is shared publicly. I’d love to see it.

Liam Gallagher

“This country doesn’t need design distractions or escapism from us right now.”

Agree to disagree. Your hearts are in the right place but not everyone is dying to get social justice lessons from a design blog. We are already inundated with this stuff from innumerable sources. Which isn’t to say that racial relations aren’t worthy of discussion — they certainly are. Maybe my kid’s swim instructor will read me his social justice mission statement before jumping in the pool.

Just my 2 cents though — I know many others here disagree. It’s your blog and you can absolutely run it as you see fit. I continue to be a big fan.

PG

I agree, racial relations are definitely worth discussion and I do hope to see real change. Our country, our world needs to come together and see the value in each other as humans beings.
We all need to show love and be loved for who we are, no matter our skin color. I am horrified by what is happening in our country and am praying for hearts to be changed and drawn together. I pray for the voice of those who really want to see positive change to be heard. I am seeking out positive suggestions to read, listen and learn from so that hopefully I am part of the change.

That being said – I agree with Liam. I do not come to a design blog to get social justice lessons. We are all trying to find ways to cope with what is happening in our country, a little distraction or escapism even for 10 minutes on a design blog,
doesn’t mean we don’t care or aren’t deeply affected by the chaos and turmoil going on in our country.

Rusty

One of the reasons this blog is hugely successful is that it doesn’t hide behind design only, with international blinkers on to social injustice. It tackles the big issues and actually speaks to them, instead of simply nodding and moving on.
I DO come here for the whole all-encompassing picture.

Becca

It’s my white privilege that I can choose to engage or not engage in thinking about race. BIPOC don’t have that luxury. It’s way overdue for us white folk to step back from escapism and start feeling uncomfortable. For a week, yes. But hopefully for much longer.

Need some design content? Follow, read, and support a Black designer.

Kiki

Becca, thanks for this. I, a Black/Latinx woman, came to say this, and it’s really heartening to see a white woman using her voice to say what I came to say. Thank you.

Anne

I think it’s also important to note that racism is inherent to every part of this country — including design — and ignoring it here only perpetuates it.

Robin

As to whether a design blog should offer other information, I am now 1. watching Riverdale 2. buying only cruelty free beauty and body care items 3. wearing right now my new tshirt from Everlane 4. not wearing my favorite pants (due to it being summer) from Anthro, (which I NEVER would have found on my own) 5. blow dry my hair from the front first, and 6. have discovered SOUP!
Seems to me EHD is a lifestyle blog, not just design (which is a good part, too!)
Keep it up! All of it!

Robin

And why aren’t these people protesting when EHD does post about clothing, shoes, soup? (I forgot 7. My bra!)

Liam Gallagher

Design, soup, clothing, bras, tv shows, a full week racial/political issues with nothing else…. gee, which one of these is unlike the others?

Rusty

The most critically important one!
Go figure 🤔

Elaine

Liam Gallagher…if one week of discussion of social justice for black people, one week in the course of centuries during which black people have been consistently mistreated in America offends you so much that you saw fit to write your comments, then you’re not doing quite as a good job of hiding your racist tendencies as you are of hiding behind your non de plume.

Alexis

Well said 👏🏼👏🏼

Rachel

I’m a design student, and I just got this email from IIDA.

I think it says everything that needs to be said about why design needs to pay attention to social justice, and be for everyone.

https://designmatters.iida.org/2020/06/02/a-letter-from-cheryl-durst-and-iida/

Caity

Hey thanks for sharing! I just shared it my Facebook:)

Abby Wolner

LESS TALKING MORE ACTION

mosie

I clearly see both sides of this debate. Following 9/11, Dominique Browning (at that time, editor of House Beautiful) wrote an absolutely stunning column regarding the possibly frivolous interest in improving and maintaining our homes during a time of such crisis. How could it matter, she questioned, that we choose drapes and furniture and we renovate (etc.) in the midst of incredible suffering. And then she answered her own question: because now more than ever, homes (no matter how poor or simple) represent the place of comfort that we all desperately need. The fact that so many are homeless or living in inferior circumstances doesn’t make this statement invalid. It actually reinforces the notion that safe and adequate housing is a basic human requirement. The name of the column is “Making the Bed”. And it was inspired by her young son asking, what is the point of such a task, when we are only going to mess it up again at night? Her response: We make the bed — and take care of all other household tasks and decisions; polishing and fluffing and freshening; repairing and maintaining — because these actions express the hope that all of us will return… Read more »

Leslie

I think I see both sides of this debate, too. But it’s appropriate to take a week-long cause from talking about lamps, though, I think.
This week I visited the blog of a Texas-based blogger who started off the post talking about how she realized she needed to be more antiracist. Then slid immediately into new t-shirts, etc. It felt a bit trite.
There’s a bit of a no-win situation, too, for these kinds of posts. They are important, but then some people accuse you of ‘virtue signaling,’ as if doing the right thing is objectionable.

Thank you for using your platform to spread the message. It is important NOT to escape from this. It’s white privilege to be able to escape. Thank you for introducing me to all the new voices I’ve “met” this week who are sharing their perspective and teaching me what I’m not seeing and how I can be better. And a huge thank you to everyone who continues to share their stories, calmly explain why “black lives matters” doesn’t discount all lives, tell us how we can make a difference, yell about the problems you’re facing even though I’m sure it’s exhausting to have to do. It is working.

Barbara Lee

I’ve been following for years and stopped commenting because I never got a response when I shared concern that you weren’t actively seeking black and POC applicants for your available positions at EHD (about two years ago). I also commented that sponsored content (parties on your patio etc) were missing any people of color or any posts unless you count your nanny. I’m saddened that it took a moment like this for you to decide to do what was always right. The question now is – what’s next in both your personal and professional life? Carmeon and Shavonda had an IGTV live today where they shared about the kind of true partnership missing from white peers in the designer space for Black designers and content creators. So, what are you going to do to open the door for better sponsorship opportunities or inclusion in spaces that have previously been mostly white but that helps generate income?? I remember the goop debacle. The conversation then could’ve been elevated but it wasn’t. I sincerely hope all of this talk isn’t for pats on the back and leads to real change.

Rusty

Caitlin … Thank you 😎

Rusty

This shocked me. I knnnnnnow it’s real as, but as a white, redhead, this would never ever be something I’d have to consider. O.M.G. 😳

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&v=coryt8IZ-DE

James

Come on guys, that’s enough virtue signalling for a week.
You’ve all been radio silent on the excess deaths caused by locking the whole country up and 40 million unemployed.

D.

I was not going to comment on this, but decided that I need to if I want to remain a part of this online community. This post does not appeal to me at all. Not because I’m racist or insensitive to the situation that’s going on right now in our country, either – you cannot get away from it. There’s nothing wrong with looking to design blogs for inspiration and taking care of your home. I need that for balance in my life, and, creating a pretty place is paramount for my mental health. The EHD staff does not need to give me lessons on how to be “woke.” At the same time, I understand the enormous pressure they are feeling as a business to prove to their community that they are “on the path” to correct any perceived injustices. I never for a minute thought of Emily or her staff as people who needed to do this. I don’t always resonate with some of their thoughts or sentiments, but it’s clear they are good people. I don’t need to tell them what they need to do to grow as a person because they are good people. Good people know… Read more »

Cheryl

My mother felt the same way on 9/11. She said “why on Earth is our TV programming messed up tonight? Because those terrorists knocked those buildings in NY down?” She was so sad she couldn’t watch her shows, it’s part of her nightly routine. In her mind life should have continued as normal. She obviously didn’t know anyone in the World Trade Center on 9/11 or else she wouldn’t have noticed, her routine would have been disturbed by this major event and worry and grief and loss. The revolution happening in our country right now is an exciting opportunity for a potential jump forward in the civil rights movement. It’s exciting, it’s messy, it’s scary, it’s necessary. If you can’t feel that, no one can make you feel it, you haven’t let it in. Empathy, compassion, sympathy, they’re all emotions that some people feel more than others. My world was rocked by 9/11 and things haven’t been the same. I cried when I saw the George Floyd video, it really rocked my perceptions. I truly hope this civil rights movement takes hold and changes our world for the better. We’re hopefully seeing/making/supporting history! So pick up a book or something… Read more »

D.

You response was incredibly condescending and smacks of ageism. Comparing my response to George Floyd’s death to your mother’s response after the 9/11 terrorists attacks was galling, to say the least. I’m not simply wanting my routine back and I have “let it in.” Why not ask for clarification of my comment instead of lecturing me with the self-righteous tone? You don’t know me or my heart. I’ve felt (and still feel) everything you stated you feel over the death of George Floyd, btw.
Sometimes people hold it in all those emotions, not wanting the world to be affected by our pain. That’s my MO – I work in senior living and I’m in crisis mode every day. I’m with seniors on lockdown, not knowing whether when they will get to see their family in person. I witnessed a 90-year old woman being told (through glass) that her son died of Covid by another family member. She died the next week. Don’t assume that I don’t feel deeply. I live with a perpetual lump in my throat and I’m acutely aware that I’m not alone.
Ask me next time I don’t write something as perfectly as you.

Rusty

Hi D
When I read your comment I was only able to take it on ‘face value’, because that’s what comments are, comments.
I guess it’s not really a discussion, but a semblance of forum, where people pass by each other.

The people who offer us the blog, for free, can do whatever they like. We choose to come hereand this place, foryears, has been a blog that also includes the owner’s perspectives and opinions on things.

By coming here, we “follow” Emily. That doesn’t mean we choose to follow her views entirely or anything, but it’s like visiting a friend. If uou anda ftiend have different views on, say politics, best notto dpenda lot oftime wiyh each other around election time, if you get my point.

So, Emily has before shared her perspectives, and I hope and stand for her doing so, on her company’s blog, again.

I feel for what you’re experiencing in your dedicated work. It sounds really difficult andquite a helpless situation.

Rusty

Apologies for all the typos. My hands aren’t working so well today.

D.

Very nice, Rusty. I get you. Thank you for your kindness.

Cheryl

I’m truly sorry I offended you but the tone of your first comment, especially the end, was pretty harsh. Thank you for your hard work with the senior community.

D.

Thank you, Cheryl, for your apology. I apologize as well for my harsh comments. I went back and read them – I was feeling a little overwhelmed with work and the death of George Floyd and the threat of rioting near my work. I craved a little design light to escape all this sadness.
I wish you well. Really, I do.

Cheryl

D., I’m sorry I only heard you in that moment and I’m sorry for all of us that this is our reality right now! It’s like a pressure cooker, right? Sending sun your way today, hope you have a few good moments. Internet hugs. 🤗

Heidi

Not sure that this is the right place to ask this question, but I just read that Emily’s friend and mentor, Jen Gotch, resigned from her company ban.do due to complaints of racism from her staff. Since Emily has written about Jen and recomended her book on this blog, will we get a statement about this?

Marie

Heidi I’m not responding to you directly – just kind of a Luddite and not sure how to make a separate post. I’ve read Emily’s blog for a long time. Love it/her but new to posting. I’m kind of appalled at how people are going after each other here. I loved Tony Dungy’s response to the Drew Brees controversy. Paraphrasing but he said people should not be afraid to say what they believe and you can say I disagree with you but let’s have a conversation about this. I’m really over all the judgmental I’m right/you’re wrong/I’m going to catch you out stuff. I understand this is a community. But honestly I’m not reading a design blog for social commentary.

Juanita

It is a very open secret in the design industry how awful it is to work at ban.do, and how rude/dismissive/narcissistic (and now apparently racist) Jen is to her staff, especially those who fail to bow down at her feet. (Just check out ban.do’s Glassdoor reviews, dating back years.) Every time I’ve seen Emily mention Jen, I cringe. To give her (Emily) the benefit of the doubt, perhaps as a friend she’s never seen how Jen interacts with her staff. Or, she knows all this and knew how important it was to stay on Jen’s good side.

Regardless, I’m glad this moment is shedding light on how small racist comments and microagressions build up to create a toxic workplace culture that perpetuates systemic racism. (For those looking for context, read the posts on a former ban.do employee’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/blaaankblaaankblaaank/.)

I don’t expect or want a formal response from Emily, but hopefully she is reaching out to Jen and encouraging her to take real responsibility (beyond the platitudes of social media), to understand how her actions caused real hurt to others, and to take concrete steps to make change in her company.

JenniferinAustin

EHD Team,

I’m posting this here because your system wouldn’t allow me to post in the previous post on anti-racism for whatever reason.

I’m specifically responding to JJ who essentially stated was having a difficult time differentiating between the good guys and the bad guys in the Black Lives Matter movement.

I would say that I’m having the same difficulty differentiating between the good police and the bad police that are hiding behind their unreasonable union contracts and protections like Qualified Immunity based on the terrifying behavior and assaults on citizens exercising their Constitutionally protected rights (including senior citizens, children, a pregnant woman, my neighbors, teachers, attorneys, social workers, the free press,etc..) I’ve seen occur nationally and in my own, “liberal haven” of Austin, Texas just over one week ago. It has been beyond shocking and revelatory to see the mob mentality, on the part of our police departments, play out in front of our very eyes. I’m profoundly grateful that we have cell phone camera footage and news footage to counter the shocking amount of initial lies the police have told the public in their official statements and reports.

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