So…. Our little New York office feels some kind of way about a new video making rounds today. Titled, “Hey White People: A Kinda Awkward Note to America by #Ferguson
Kids,” the video’s making lots of rounds on social media. Which will probably equal lots of money for the company behind it, calledSynergy Media
The video features a group of unnamed black kids, purportedly from Ferguson, reciting parts of a script that’s clearly been written by adults. A script that will make you think race is solely a black and white issue, by the way. Even if the children are from Ferguson, it’s unclear if or how they’ve been compensated. Either way, the idea that these kids are from Ferguson is paraded for consumption.
Towards the end, a white adult and a black adult make nice and encourage viewers to buy a FCKH8.com T-shirt. Five dollars from each shirt will supposedly go to unidentified “charities working in communities to fight racism.” Which charities? Who knows! What communities? Can’t tell you.*
The video concludes with a dedication, “For Mike,” and a quiet scene from the Ferguson street on which Michael Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson more than a month ago:
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). It’s now trying to do the same with its “Anti-Racism Gear.” According to its website, FCKH8.com “recently became owned and managed by Synergy Media,” a corporate branding firm whose clients includeMagnum bodybuilding vitamin supplements and pretty offensive “Buckeye Boob T’s” (the latter despite the fact that FCKH8.com says it’s anti-sexist).
There’s an entire economy around black death—and this ad campaign illustrates it all too well. Ironically, this economy’s profit margins depend on upholding the very racism this video claims to want to eliminate.
So there you have it, folks. Everything, it seems, can distilled, packaged, bought and sold—including racism.
Update, September 10, 2014, 4:55 p.m.: FCKH8.com issued a press release Tuesday indicating that Race Forward, which is Colorlines’ publisher, along with a few other organizations, would be receiving funds garnered through T-shirt sales. Race Forward has publicly responded.