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Posted under: News Culture

This Clothing Designer Is Sparking Controversial Conversation With Her #AskMeTees

Don't be afraid of a little conversation.

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Most of us enjoy a nice graphic tee, but what if that same tee can get a real, meaningful conversation started? That's pretty much the goal of #AskMeTees. 

“I had fifty white people in my house for dinner who I didn’t know,” Ayana Smith, the creator of #AskMeTees tells The Root



Smith says that #AskMeTees were born out of personal frustration. There were certain assumptions being made about her neighborhood. Smith’s neighborhood, where she lives with her husband and two kids, is an area known for the highest levels of poverty and reported crime east of the Anacostia River. There were also issues like strangers walking up to her kids and touching their hair. 

Thus, the "#AskMe Why You Can’t Touch My Hair” shirt was created.

“Most other people are teaching their kids not to let strangers touch them," Smith says. "So why do you think it’s OK to walk up and start touching my kids?”

“Don’t assume anything about me,” she adds. “Ask me!”



Smith also makes it clear that #AskMeTees come with rules. “You better wear your #AskMe tee on the day when you’re in the mood to talk and educate people in meaningful conversation," she laughs. 

This is an amazing tool to get the right conversation started. Many times we have questions, but we're afraid to pose them. #AskMeTees kind of crosses that barrier.

“I think people are often afraid to be on the wrong side of an issue, and so they stay quiet around family and colleagues, but the conversations people might possibly have with strangers can be a lot more candid,” she says.

Maybe with a little more understanding, the world can be a better place.

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