A pair of black women are selling subscription boxes to white people, telling them how to stand up for minorities — for a fee between $25 and $100 per month. This isn’t just their business model — it’s “a form of reparations.” It’s the latest form of Social Justice Warrior chic!
“Safety Pin Box’s message to guilty whites: If you want to do something, put money in a black woman’s pocket,” explained VICE News reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro, who spoke with the founders of Safety Pin Box, a subscription service targeting white guilt.
“The cash is in white people’s wallets,” Leslie Mac, a cofounder of the subscription service, told VICE News. She argued that white people feel a need to atone for white supremacy, and show that they are a “safe space” for people of color.
After President-elect Donald Trump’s election, the safety pin became a symbol of sympathy with minorities, since Trump was seen as racist, a threat to blacks, Hispanics, and other races. White people would wear the pins in solidarity with minorities allegedly targeted by Trump.
Mac and her partner Marissa Johnson reportedly thought the safety pin craze was stupid, but smelled a business opportunity. Following the smashing success of Birch Box, a subscription box for beauty products, similar boxes have sold well on sites like CrateJoy. If white people feel the need to atone for their guilt, maybe Mac and Johnson could meet that need, and make a buck doing it.
“It embarrasses me, honestly, that I just don’t have a world where I encounter naturally people of color,” a subscriber explained to VICE News. After one year of receiving the subscription boxes, she said, “I’d like to think wow, I will be so incredibly sensitized.”
But even that low bar is “probably unrealistic,” she noted. The white guilt is strong with this one.
What comes in the box? Instructions on how to alleviate white guilt. “Some tasks are simple, like give black people higher tips,” VICE News reported. The white woman subscriber explained, “You do three things every week. One is directed towards black elderly, one is directed towards the over-incarcerated, and one is media.”
— SafetyPinBox (@safetypinbox) December 25, 2016
“This subscription box is intended for white people who want to consistently contribute to Black liberation financially while doing measurable support work for the movement and learning what it takes to dismantle white supremacy,” the Safety Pin Box website explains. “Safety Pin Box encourages white people to take initiative in contributing to the movement for Black lives [Black Lives Matter], while getting guidance and educational resources from Black women.”
But the box doesn’t just help assuage white guilt — it will also direct money toward black activists. “Every month, Safety Pin Box will give one-time financial gifts to individual Black women who have demonstrated a commitment to serving Black people,” the site explains.
Here’s where it gets explicit: “Subscription fees, as a form of reparations, go directly to supporting Black women freedom fighters every month.” (emphasis added)
For many liberals, however, this is not enough. Some critics dismissed the Safety Pin Box as “just a beauty box for lazy performative woke white people.”
Others attacked the subscription box as a way “to pretend” alleged racism and racist government actions do not exist.
Mac responded to these criticisms by emphasizing the business aspect of her enterprise. “I think for us, it’s about actually providing a service that people are asking for,” the cofounder told VICE News. “There’s a market. It’s a business model because there’s a need. And I say all the time, had white people got their sh*t to gether and actually provided this for themselves, we wouldn’t have a business model right now.”
“We never pretended to be anything but radical black women, so we’re going to do some radical sh*t, we’ll see what happens,” Mac concluded.