Here at Clever Luck, we aren't the type of people who like to beat around the bush. We are people who come from punk, skateboarding, hardcore, graffiti, art, and service industry culture. That means that the way we carry ourselves as a brand is going to be influenced by the cultures we come from. You are not going to see overly fancy marketing campaigns, references to "brand voice", etc. What you see is what you get, and from the outset of our creation, Clever Luck has been designed to be inherently political. From the brands we carry to the people we support, our values will be shown. Unapologetically we might add.
The trio that makes up Clever Luck's ownership, is found in a male non-black person of color, a white female ally, and a white male ally. We recognize that all of us are beneficiaries of a deeply broken system, and we believe that there is nothing in our experience that could ever match the experiences of our friends in the black community.
We believe in community accountability, and for those that have the luxury of privilege, that it is to be used to bolster and uplift the oppressed, fatigued, and weary. Not by centering our voices, but uplifting those that need to be heard. The words penned here, are centered on the members of our audience that are white. Heritage brands have a tendency to appeal to white audience members. We write these words intentionally to cause some discomfort, but a discomfort that is positive. A discomfort that hopefully stirs life in your bones to better understand our positioning, and a discomfort that grows a deeper love for human beings. A discomfort that casts off complacency, silence, and apathy.
We won't apologize for or sugar coat our political beliefs, but the events in the past week go beyond politics, to the moral fiber of the recipients of inherent privilege in the United States.
In the past week, we have seen an uprising (that we fully support) in the States regarding the brutal and horrific murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police department. This incident was not an isolated occurrence, but rather a long-standing pattern that has infected every town, every city, every county, and every state in our country based upon seeds of white supremacy that have been sewn into the very fabric of our society.
Specifically, for our white friends that are apart of our Clever Luck community, we have a responsibility to acknowledge that we exist in a system that is set up to benefit us over people of color. No one is saying people's lives aren't hard, it just means that for white folks, their skin color isn't something making their life harder.
We are believers in radical change and action, and we want the white members of our community to stand up and say "no more". We believe, that one of the greatest ways white folks can join the fight against injustice, is to educate ourselves. It is not enough to to "non-racist", we must be "anti-racist".
To quote the white abolitionist John Brown, "If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by the wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments - I submit; so let it be done".
Let us have that sort of commitment. Let us have that sort of love. Let us have that sort of resolve. Let us have that sort of dedication to freedom from fear, oppression, and systematic harm. Let us be willing to put skin in the game to better our fellow humans. This is not done by hijacking black stories, but rather educating ourselves about our own privilege and the ways in which it has wreaked havoc. It is hard and exhausting work, but let us not complain as we have not been the targets of a racially biased system. Let us join the cries of our community for justice, by educating ourselves, and taking to the streets to amplify black voices.
We live in the internet age, wherein, there is no shortage of resources, and to put it frankly, no excuse not to learn. Our white friends and community members, now is the time to take up and read, learn, LISTEN, educate ourselves, and most of all act. If you choose to ignore the outcries of our black community members, their voices, their experiences, and their needs, the cycle continues. To quote Desmond Tutu "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor". To remain neutral IS to act. To remain silent IS to be complicit. We must not tolerate aversion to reality simply because it makes someone uncomfortable or it seems inconvenient. That attitude speaks volumes to the members of your community.
We have compiled a list of resources to help in self-education. We must remember, our black friends are tired and exhausted, and they hold absolutely no responsibility to educate you. Take responsibility for the crevices of your heart wherein racism still lies, even subtly. We implore you to stand with your fellow man, and aid in the dismantling of a system that has for too long destroyed the lives of human beings and their families while simultaneously profiting.
Below is a list of books, authors, Instagram accounts, musicians, documentaries, and black brands that you can learn from and support. We hope you find them helpful, enlightening, and they help bring about lasting change in your own mind.
To our black friends in our community: We see you. We hear you. We fight with you. We will continue to have conversations with our white friends and family members regarding privilege and white supremacy. We will continue to amplify your voices and experiences. We believe in your dignity, your humanity, your right to life. We love you.
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornell West
- Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko
- Disrupting White Supremacy by Jennifer Harvey, Karin A. Case, & Robin Hawley Gorsline
- Benign Bigotry: The Psychology of Subtle Prejudice by Kristin J. Anderson
- The Autobiography of Malcom X
- Blues People by LeRoi Jones
- Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
Classic Black Authors to Read:
- James Baldwin
- Malcolm X
- W.E.B. DuBois
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (specifically "Letter from a Birmingham Jail")
- Angela Davis
- Frederick Douglass
- Ralph Ellison
- Gwendolyn Brooks
Instagram Accounts to Follow:
- Check Your Privilege (@ckyourprivilege)
- No White Saviors (@nowhitesaviors)
- Rachel Cargle (@rachel.cargle)
- The Great Unlearn (@thegreatunlearn)
- The Conscious Kid (@theconsciouskid)
- ACLU (@aclu_nationwide)
Documentaries to Watch:
- Slavery By Another Name
- Soundtrack for a Revolution
- I Am Not Your Negro
- The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
- American Son
- When They See Us
Musicians to Listen To :
- Killer Mike, El P (Run The Jewels)
- John Coltrane
- Max Roach
- Nina Simone
- Zach de la Rocha
Black Brands to Support:
- Grits (@weargrits)
- Charles Miller Brand Denim (@cmbdenim)
- Blk Mkt Vintage (@blkmktvintage)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are valuable resources to get started with. Let us be those that learn, educate ourselves, learn from others' experiences, and ultimately put knowledge to action and not complacency. Now is the time.