To those for whom racism is unacceptable, and even to those for whom it is: what would you do if you found out a designer that you have purchased product from in the past was a “closeted” racist and portion of their product selections were targeted at consumers of the “darker persuasion”?
Considering how I would react in this situation came to mind when I received second-hand information from a mutual friend of the “Source” who is an acquaintance whom I don’t communicate with on a regular basis. The conversation pertained to a well-known Second Life designer (the “Designer”) and his/her views on race during personal time.
I have purchased product from this Designer in the past and, personally, will not continue to do so following this revelation. Neither will I put forth the Designer’s store brand as an option to those who, from time-to-time, ask where to find certain products. The store name is off my mental list of referrals.
Out of personal curiosity I asked other for their opinion on the matter. Several residents from a variety of backgrounds and interests provided their input. Some are designers themselves; some are culture and/or fashion writers, DJs/DJanes, photographers and other such entrepreneurs*.
Some, whom you will see an indication of, were given additional information regarding the circumstances under which this particular person’s bigotry surfaces. The Source has noted on several occasions, when in voice chat with the Designer, his/her racist viewpoint surfaces.
What would you do/how would you feel or react if you knew a well-known designer was a “closet” racist; his/her views being expressed in personal time when not surrounded by the attention of the fashion community at large? Would it influence your future purchases or opinion(s) of their brand? Why or why not?
The responses of polled persons included:
A full-on boycott of that person’s products should be in order. If they really wanted to be in business they should [have] kept themselves professional.
Once I knew I would be extremely reluctant to shop at their store. Whether it’s in their own time or not it doesn’t change anything in my mind, I couldn’t be comfortable supporting someone if I knew their views on something like race were so far skewed from my own.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: A disgusting opinion is still a disgusting opinion even if someone hides it most of the time.
It depends how strong the views are, if it’s just plain ignorance I may not react in anyway. If the views are very strong and damaging and also I had definite proof they said these things I would not shop at their store.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: I agree [that] people are less inhibited when they are drunk and more likely to say what they feel. It would still be important to me to know exactly what they said and to know that they definitely said it before I made a judgment.
The “Emily Post”-like topics should be kept in mind: speak only of the weather; never politics or religion.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: I wouldn’t change my mind. I’m still a no. [I’ll add] the designer being tacky when wasted to the list.
It would be difficult to support someone like that for the same reasons as “Beatrice”. Not that it makes a difference, because is racism no matter what the world.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: It doesn’t affect their ability to design but …. it affects my desire to be around them or their work. It’s my opinion that alcohol only tends to make people more open about what they say … not change who they fundamentally are.
I wouldn’t shop at their store and I wouldn’t miss using/wearing their products. I don’t shop at other stores for less serious reasons, so, this racism would be a huge deal for me.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: It’s hard to hide your innermost feelings when you are drunk. People are more likely to be their core selves – up front – when they are inebriated. It’s harder to put up a more “politically correct” persona when you have alcohol running through your body.
I’d be offended, but don’t see what them being a well-known designer has to do with it. It’s equally offensive from anyone.
I do feel that some designers should just keep their mouths shut for the good of their business. There are some …. who can carry themselves well and professionally. There are others …. who can’t seem to stop opening their mouths and I’m pretty sure it makes business suffer.
I agree with “Beatrice”. I’d be a bit reluctant to shop somewhere where I knew the designer was racist, as racisim is something I strongly oppose. Although some could argue the point their beliefs don’t affect their ability to design, but I think it’s whatever makes you more comfy … and I think I’d feel uncomfortable.
• In consideration of the use of alcohol: No, it wouldn’t change my opinon, I’d just think they couldn’t hold their drink well and wonder what else is going to come out, ‘cause often the truth comes out more when intoxicated, right?
In this case, the Designer’s behaviour has resulted in a damaged relationship with the Source. If information was to get out to the larger community, I’m certain it would impact his/her brand profitability – not to mention causing some short-term drama and social unrest.
What are your thoughts?
* Names of residents above have been changed to protect anonymity.