We messed up. Hold on, let me walk that back even more. I fucked up. On March 17th, I put up a lighthearted go-drink-and party-for-St-Pattys-Day! post on Instagram. It didn’t even occur to me until a few days later that this was poorly posted in the wake of the Atlanta Massage Parlor shootings and murders on the 16th. I just didn’t think.
My immediate reaction was to delete the post. It lived online for a few days and didn’t get tons of traction anyway. Bam. Deleted. My bad. Crisis averted. That honestly would have been the same response I’d advise a client to do in this situation. But I realized, that shouldn’t be the end of it. Just because I burned the evidence doesn’t leave us clear. So 6DG stepped up in support and made a donation to Stop APPI Hate. Not as some penance or punishment, but as a way of doing something instead of nothing.
Now, before we even get into whether we should be doing something, here’s a little encouragement. We are going to fuck up. We’re not going to say the right thing. We’re not going to do the right thing. And of course, many times we actually will. And hopefully, the good will outweigh the missteps. It’s an extremely complicated space and for that reason, we see so many brands, including ourselves, awkwardly step into it, if at all.
Should we say something?
When do we say something?
Are we saying the right thing?
Are we representing the right perspective?
How does this support our people?
How does this reflect our values?
That’s a shortlist of a million concerns that comes crashing in when you start having a voice about world issues. If you even feel remotely comfortable speaking up for social justice, or the environment, or humanity, in general, that means you’ve got experience. And that experience was probably earned through a painful path of mistakes and apologies.
For the rest of us, we just don’t have that experience yet. And for something you’ve never really done, why would you expect it to go perfectly? Like anything else, you make a mistake, you learn from it, make changes. Try again.
So should you even try?
First, YES if your intention is to genuinely help. If your heart is behind it for the benefit of others, and even if you’re not saying the right thing, you’re at least trying. Trust that people will recognize the attempt. While good intentions don’t exclude you from doing harm, or receiving backlash, or any other consequences, at least you will know what and why you tried. You’ll apologize, you’ll learn, make changes, and try again.
– Josh Terry, Creative Director