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Dear Fraternity Collection,
We need to talk.
A little over a month ago, I signed up for your email list so I could lust over your cute shirts with uniquely-designed pockets, although I never actually buy anything from your store. I can never get myself to spend the $35 on a plain t-shirt, it just seems a little over-priced (broke college student problems). But fortunately, I no longer have to worry about impulsively buying anything from your website because I will never pay a penny to support your company. Before I start ranting and get ahead myself, I'm going to tell you (and our readers) a little story.
Last week, you sent out an email promoting your new "Our Southern State" bow collection. I opened the email and gushed over how cute everything was until upon further inspection I saw a bow with a Confederate flag on it. I immediately went to Google and Twitter to see if anyone else noticed your ad. And there were crickets... which left the burden of speaking out on my shoulders (although, it's not really a burden at all).
First off, your timing alone couldn't be better to prove how ignorant your company is. With the ban of Confederate flags happening in states all across the nation, it seems like it would be common sense for your designer to think twice about creating this bow. There are so many resources and current events all around you to show you how terrible this symbol is. But, since this so obviously didn't raise a red flag in anyone's mind, it just goes to show how rooted your workers are in their ideals.
In attempt to uproot you from your ignorance, here is a little history lesson. The Confederate flag was adopted by some states way back in the mid/late 1800's to differentiate themselves from other states who were banishing slavery. The states under the Confederate flag were fighting to keep slavery legal and the Jim Crow laws alive in America. This flag does not represent "southern pride", it represents hate, oppression and, above all, racism. After the Civil War, the flag was adopted by the KKK and different white supremacist groups. This flag has a horrid history, one that no human being should be proud of or want to continue to represent. It is a symbol of hatred that your company has now plastered onto some fabric and quite literally wrapped it up into a pretty little bow to sell for a profit.
Fraternity Collection, there are two main things I want to say to the people of your company. First, you all should be ashamed of yourselves. A small bow might not seem like it would make the biggest impact, but there's so much more to this. It's about your morals as people who represent this company, and the lack of respect you have for other human beings. You are attempting to make a profit off of a symbol that caused so much hurt and pain, and not only that, you're selling it for others to wear and represent.
Second, I want to make it clear that the Greek community has nothing to do with this company. There are no ties at all. People in fraternities and sororities may be your main audience/customers, but those who make purchases from your company represent their own morals, not the morals of the Greek community.
One last thing, although I don't expect you to know this since you're company obviously doesn't think twice about anything, but Mississippi banned Confederate flags. Putting the flag on a bow to represent Mississippi... well, you tell me how much sense that makes. I understand that the people running this company are rooted in their racist ideals, but I am requesting for you to not project your racist ideals and symbols onto other states. I encourage you to learn how to be a part of the solution, not the problem. If you need further assistance on this, I would love to talk.
This article originally appeared on The Odyssey, the ultimate source for millennial content written for students, by students. The content captures real conversations in local communities across the country. Breana Brill is a contributing writer for The Odyssey and a second year student at Michigan State University.