Frederick Joseph is the 29-year-old founder of the New York City-based marketing agency We Have Stories, which represents marginalized groups. Earlier this year, the activist went viral for creating the #BlackPantherChallenge, which raised more than $950,000 to purchase Black Panther movie tickets for members of the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem. The project received support from Chelsea Clinton, Snoop Dogg, and Ellen DeGeneres, and in June, Joseph received a humanitarian award from Comic-Con for his work.
Joseph’s newest endeavor was more low-key. On Tuesday, he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a red T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Caucasian.” The shirt mimics the logo for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, whose name and emblem of a Native American character has been called “racist” and “offensive” by both players and fans.
“I wanted to see how people responded to the shirt — while there’s nothing derogatory about the word ‘Caucasian,’ there’s a certain privilege among some white people who haven’t been challenged on certain aspects of racism,” Joseph tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Joseph says the shirt caused a reaction every few minutes as he walked through the streets of New York City. “Still, no one tried to have a conversation,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle, adding that the woman’s response seemed to underscore a general acceptance of ingrained racial biases.
“Basically, I was being shamed as a black person for wearing a non-disrespectful shirt with a white person logo on it,” tweeted Joseph. “But people wear apparel and jerseys with logos depicting things such as a Native American and call them ‘redskins’ … whew chile, the hypocrisy and privilege!”
Joseph tweeted that he was surprised by the negative reactions, given how many other images appropriate or otherwise disrespect certain minority groups. “But it goes to show how fickle and hypocritical people can be,” he wrote.
He’s urging his followers to replicate his effort, tweeting, “I’d be interested to see more people wear shirts and apparel such as this to make the point and see how the people who have racist car decals, shirts, jerseys, etc., respond when the tables are turned (and still not really).”
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