“All White People Are Racist.”
These words are presented on a bright, perhaps intentionally, Badger Red hoodie from University of Wisconsin student Eneale Pickett’s latest batch of Insert Apparel clothing. It was a striking thing for me to see, especially because — or perhaps only because — I am a white person.
UW student receives death threats after debuting new clothing lineEditor’s note: This article contains racially charged language that might be offensive to readers. University of Wisconsin sophomore and First Read…
When I first saw the hoodie, I felt uncomfortable. I wasn’t offended, or angry, or idiotic like the people who have only proven his hoodie to be true. No, I was uncomfortable because up until this point, I’ve considered myself to be one of the good kinds of white people, or at least one of the better kinds.
Most of the time, if it wouldn’t make the situation too awkward, I call out casual racism. I’ll share and re-share articles on Facebook and sometimes even write my own.
But the fact of the matter is my actions, and all the collective actions of white people as a whole, have not been enough. People of color are still affected by racism everywhere and at every level of our society. Too many lose their lives because of it.
Pickett’s most noteworthy item of clothing is really a reminder, not an insult as some have taken it to be, that not only are our collective actions as white people not helping in the fight against racism, they’re inhibiting it.
I also believe Pickett’s hoodie is a challenge for people like me. It’s a challenge for me to do better, such as by attending more protests or rallies. And it’s also a challenge to convince my other white peers who aren’t doing anything, or worse, doing the opposite, to see the light, so to speak.
While Pickett’s hoodie reminds all white people to remain conscious of their inherent racist beliefs, it also allows for the possibility of growth. It gestures toward the day when we, or maybe our children, have collectively decided to dismantle the system our ancestors created, condoned and profited from.
To my fellow white people who felt uncomfortable at Pickett’s hoodie, please don’t let that alienate you. Let it motivate you to be better.
And to those who reacted with death threats and racist speech, fuck off.
Also Eneale, if you’re reading this, thank you. I know those hoodies are sold out, but hit me up if you have any extras.