In an interview with the Huffington Post, a New Jersey-based student explained her line of clothes that she designed to confront people about their racist attitudes, saying it was time to make people uncomfortable.
According to Olatiwa Karade, founder of Splendid Rain Co., she decided to create the line of shirts boldly claiming "F*ck your racist grandma" and "Africa is not a country" following the 2016 election when the election of President Donald Trump turned on appeals to racism. She added that she was also responding to fellow supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who dismissed black voters in the south.
“I was heavily supporting Bernie Sanders, and I think a lot of people weren’t talking about the other side of racism and hate we were seeing, a lot of which was coming from a lot of liberal people on the Bernie side,” she said. “Whenever he would come out and talk about Sandra Bland, or talk about anyone who was a victim of police brutality, of racism, of prejudice, his following would really go on their ‘all lives matter’ tirade. I just felt extremely excluded and felt like I didn’t have a voice when it came to race relations.”
Karade said, rather than keeping her anger in check, she decided to do something about it by confronting racism up-front.
“I had to realize that it’s human to be upset about something that was upsetting, and I had a right to feel anger,” she said. “If I’m stopping myself because I’m angry, I need to figure out how to make that into something else and recreate it into something productive that helps me cope with my anger as opposed to just sitting in it."
In particular, she wanted to challenge people her age who are willing to excuse racism by family members due to their age of the circumstances under which they grew up.
“We have this generation of people who are like, ‘Oh, yeah, my grandparents lived through three separate revolutions but they’re old and sweet,” she said. “And I’m like ‘OK, but they also vote.’ We have to be honest about the people in our lives and who we need to educate. You can love your grandma, I’m not saying don’t love her, but you also need to be saying, ‘You know, grandma, black people are human.’ That’s an important thing to say to her.”
“I love my slogans, they’re very important to me and are honestly my thoughts.They are in my head," she continued. "When I wear them, I think people are too intimidated to say anything to me, honestly,” she said. “There’s probably a lot of talk when I leave the room, but at least when I’m there no one says anything. And that’s kind of the point anyway.”
Currently Karade's designs can be purchased at her Etsy store.