What started as a seemingly innocuous Facebook post by the Yellow Scene magazine looking for a local business run by minority groups quickly turned into a heated debate followed by backlash by people who saw the post as discriminating against white men.
The original post by Yellow Scene, written by Johnathen De La Vaca, Managing Editor of YS, is as follows: “Hey folks. We’re making a list, checking it twice, because we want to be ready to bring the important stuff to your Yellow Scene pages this next year. Let me know in the comments which businesses in our communities are owned by people of color, LGBT folk, and persons that are differently-abled – also, who are the most need-to-know activists in Boulder County. Ok, go…”
The first comment on this post set the tone for what was to come: “I know of a local business owned by a white male, heterosexual, Christians; I guess that doesn’t interest you, though. You know, privilege and all that.”
From there, a back and forth from all points on the political spectrum began, leading to a spiral of backlash and gaslighting, as Shavonne Blades, publisher of the Yellowscene, tells us.
“Another person said ‘why can’t you cover this and not be controversial,’ and that stunned me because we didn’t think there was anything controversial post in any way shape or form.”
Many of these comments came from a internet messaging board From Erie residents in a group called the “No snowflake zone.” The article was posted on the board and from there spread among the users.
De La Vaca, who is Native American, says he has experienced racism all his life and says many of the comments they received were along the lines of All Lives Matter.
“When you read (those comments) through the lens of white supremacy that comes across as gas lighting. It’s a very polite way of saying “don’t talk about People of Color, women, minorities, lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders, we don’t want to hear it because everyone is equal,” but what they’re saying is don’t highlight people that are different from the majority.”
Blades says that there has been a more sinister impact from the backlash that has rippled out into the community. “A lot of people messaged us and said “we really want to support you on that post but we’re afraid of being harassed in the community.””
In response to the backlash, Shavonne Blades wrote an article Trump’s America in the Bubble which concludes with YS vowing to continue to seek inclusion and diversity in the New Year.
“In 2019, YS will be saluting the diversity that does live in this very homogenized place and will not accept being bullied into silence.”