Dear Missouri Star Quilt Company

Dear Missouri Star Quilt Company,

Firstly, I have mad respect for what you’ve built. Jenny and I are super cool I honestly love her. I’ve done work with y’all a number of times. And I’m the first to celebrate another’s success because as one rises in the quilting industry, we all rise. However, your silence right now is doing harm to the Black community and harm to the future of the quilting industry at large.  

The story of moving to Missouri just trying to find a way to afford retirement and then transforming it into an amusement park for quilters is legendary. We all know it. We’ve heard you speak on it. We’ve watched you talk about it on YouTube and your website and Forbes and CBS This Morning and MSNBC. This is all spectacular and amazing omg I am living for the increased visibility of the quilting industry so much. So legit, thank you for all you’ve done. But with this visibility, you now represent the quilting industry for so many. So so so many. So so so so so many. You are quite literally THE face of quilting. And right now, your silence is communicating that black lives don’t matter. And if your silence is intended to maintain the business of quilters that don’t think black lives matter, that seriously breaks my heart and a legion of quilters that want racism to end. From what I’m hearing and reading, many of us are sorry that we gave you the money to build an empire only to silence black stories and black voices with it. 

You, right now, have a responsibility to the quilting community to do the right thing. We as a nation all need to stand up and say, “black lives matter”…. just as much as any other life. It’s so easy to say. Like so easy. So so so easy. So so so so so easy. American history is clearly and oppressive country, even with the white-washed account of its history in centuries of education. It was designed for White superiority and Black oppression. This country kidnapped and enslaved Africans for 250+ years. With freedom, came intentional mass incarceration to exploit a loophole to maintain free labor for the economy. The Black community accumulated no wealth, no standing, and even today there are innumerable laws on the books trying to oppress the Black community and make sure they achieve no wealth and no standing. I know you see and know this. And right now you can’t look away. Please don’t look away. 

Yes, I could have sent this quietly, but frankly I care more about trying to heal the pain you have caused to the Black community than y’all being a little embarrassed. And honestly, this can’t ignored. With your voice, you could pivot the ENTIRE quilting community to the path of anti-racism. That’s a lot of power. So please use it for good. Please. 

And honestly, I truly hope that I am wrong here. And that y’all have been doing a lot of anti-racism work behind the scenes. And instead of putting up a statement, you were really trying to figure out how to be a leader right now and implement tangible internal and external things to help end systemic racism and help shift the racist-leaning of the quilting industry to one of inclusion and equity and diversity. And I would eat crow like nobody’s business. Like all the crow. I’d eat it all. But a statement won’t do now. We need you to be the leader described above because, if quilting is going to survive beyond its current dominant demographic, we need to bring in younger quilters. And the kids aren’t down with racism. 

I seriously hope that this is received with love and true kindness for ALL. And I fully expect some popping off because we are all protective of Jenny, even myself. But right now, the Black community needs us. And had the Doans been a Black family and not White, they would still be struggling to afford retirement. 

With love and respect, 

Mathew Boudreaux

Mister Domestic

#blacklivesmatter

155 thoughts on “Dear Missouri Star Quilt Company

  1. I know this is an older thread, but I feel some of the issues raised are still relevant. A number of people have said that they are withdrawing their support from companies and personalities that do not publicly share the same voice at the same moment as that commenter.

    In the time since this thread, you have been quite vocal about asking people to join you in being an anti-racist and to fight against certain injustices in society. You are encouraging people to spend money on causes that are important to you while pointing out that other groups aren’t going far enough or just don’t get it. You speak of researching a point and having discussions to further understanding across various lines.

    Yet, it seems like you’re not going back to address issues you’ve brought up, that you’re not doing all of the work, and that your call to drill down into preconceived notions and to truly talk stop as soon as it appears someone isn’t going to completely agree with you. And in agreeing with you, they have to only focus on the issues that matter to you right as of this moment.

    In terms of Missouri Star Quilt Company, the company made a statement and pledged money. You prodded them to and they did. Is the company’s actions enough? That’s a question up for much debate. But you haven’t gone back to debate. Aside from a mention in one of your videos about comments on your misogynistic tone, which you refuted, there doesn’t seem to be much talk about your role in creating customers who have now professed themselves to be former MSQC customers because of your letter to MSQC and/or their non-mediation of social media responses. You haven’t gone back to examine what and how the company is doing to promote change. Why are the monetary donations important in terms of furthering or hindering a cause? Is it real action for change or only a PR stunt? Would customers allow them to make missteps along on the way as they try to genuinely (or disingenuously) figure things out? Do the good works the company has done for many communities across the country (remember quilts for cities/communities devasted by hurricanes, floods, fires, etc?) get cancelled out because the company wouldn’t regulate comments left by social media users? You seem to have brought up an issue, tired of it, and moved on. Or maybe it is mission accomplished? If so, I don’t understand the full mission at play here.

    Issues have multiple sides and until people try to talk through the sides, as difficult or distasteful or unbelievable or shocking as they may be, we aren’t learning. We’re only making up our minds based on whatever we like/loathe in front of us.

    I’ve been thinking about my feelings toward various quilting and sewing personalitites and their social media personas, as well as the social media users who are vocal about their opinions toward others without revisiting their opinions of themselves. I noticed the original comment on Sew Liberated’s post which initially put in “black and brown lives matter” only to quietly delete the “brown” before people focused on it. I find it extremely interesting that people love Tula Pink so much that they push for her to declare her Black Lives Matters support, applaud her for it, then just as easily rush to defend her when someone else pointed out that her mother’s (and business partner’s) I Heart Tula Pink’s Twitter account has shown past support of Trump. When it came to negative comments on someone they liked, supporters’ principles could be surprisingly flexible.

    I’ve noticed the same of you. You feel very passionately on certain issues — the ones that touch close to home for you. You have a personal stake in supporting Black Lives Matter. You claim to want to be anti-racist. But do you want to stop hatred and bigotry and inequality towards everyone? Many times now you are drawing readers’ attention to Tamika Mallory. You are supporting her voice. Yes, she does have thought provoking things to bring up regarding the African American experience. She has also been called out many times for her support of anti-Semitic figures. Her past support of and refusal to disavow Louis Farrakhan has been much publicized. It lead to a break for her and other Women’s March founders with the Women’s March organization . I imagine a number of people have brought this to your attention these past few weeks. Yet you continue to highlight Ms. Mallory because her words fit into your current narrative.

    To use as example other well-known figures, in the past when Paul Ryan and others have responded to questions about Trump’s remarks with the acknowledgement that those remarks are “textbook racist” and “indefensible,” yet go on to support Trump’s actions, did you feel that they sufficiently disavowed Trump’s actions by talking in circles? When someone is asked to point blank disavow a figure due to that figure’s sustained hateful remarks and that someone dances around the issue and won’t do it, do you think that shows a desire to work on all hatred or just the ones that are convenient to them? If someone were to say, “I don’t agree with many of Trump’s statements. But he’s done a lot for the white community,” so therefore I’ll give him a pass (because that someone is also white), then is that okay? Is your response any different when I say that I substituted Trump’s name for Farrakhan’s and white for black? Is it any diffrent when I point out Farrakhan’s homophobia and thoughts on interracial marriage instead of his anti-Semitism? Are you telling people to be anti-racist but only in the ways that touch them directly? If so, that doesn’t and won’t accomplish fundamental change in society.

    Please do point out the instances where Tamika Mallory has shown a change of heart for some of the people she’s previously supported. It’s possible that I’ve missed any work she’s now doing toward stopping hate in its many insidious forms. Or, perhaps such work is not being done. I’ll continue to watch MSQC’s actions or silence, as I will continue to watch your actions or silence.

    The conversations some people are having for the first time now are conversations that others have had for decades. If we want real change, then we all need a true desire to listen, to learn, to show compassion, to admit our mistakes while trying not to repeat them. Maybe then there will be a chance that we can move forward with actual change rather than talk about it only while events hold our attention but then forget about them when it’s no longer convenient.

  2. “es, I could have sent this quietly, but frankly I care more about trying to heal the pain you have caused to the Black community than y’all being a little embarrassed.”

    I missed it. What pain has they caused? I guess I was in my sewing room – and I’m asking sincerely – but can you link to a situation they caused?

    1. I’m curious as well. Quite curious about why a man who is making money, generating social media influence, and gaining international popularity in the historically predominantly female field of fiber arts has recently spent so many words (some of them misogynistic pejoratives) talking down to women as if we did not know what racism was, or that it still exists, or that it must be fought.

      We are adults, Mr. Domestic. The vast majority of us are women. We represent a larger number of countries globally than you are likely aware. For many of us, English is not our first language. It would be helpful if you would bear that in mind, and follow your own ethos of “keep it positive” whilst speaking to us — passionately, convincingly, but respectfully — about needed change.

      Or do you perhaps believe that “only rioting and destructiveness bring about positive social change” (a paraphrasing of your own words) to the extent that you feel comfortable using “call-out culture tactics” toward your overwhelmingly female and international audience (i.e., your customers) to inspire them to social action?

      That’s too familiar. It’s also punching downward. Please do respect the very real women in your audience as you pursue your social justice goals.

  3. I admire your passion for justice. However — please do not use the pejorative “Karen,” as you have on Instagram. It is a deeply misogynistic term, and as such, insulting to your primarily female readership and customer base. (“Karen” did not originate as a callout meme on Black Twitter — it originated in 2017 with a Reddit user using the handle “F***_You_Karen,” whose purpose was to publicly humiliate his female ex.) As you (admirably!) pursue justice for POC, please take consciousness not to punch downward with casual misogyny. Thank you!

  4. Mister Domestic: of course BLACK LIVES MATTER, and ALL LIVES MATTER, regardless of skin color. But none of us: neither you nor me, have the right to publicly point to another person, in this case a lady and her family company, whom I`ve following for years. you can tell all of humanity what you think we all should do, but you have no right to publicly point out another person to do it. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF BLACK PEOPLE OR PEOPLE OF ANY OTHER SKIN COLOR. But we must defend the rights of EVERYONE.
    You coult well have adressed that lady, whom you say you know so much, privately, to give your opinion on the subject. But you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to name a person publicly as you have.
    Your attitude seems to want to “stain” that person publicly. You made me think that your intention ha been very bad and false: first you break down in praises and then crucifies her, in front of many people who you know follow her. Your words are very well crafted to discredit her.
    I hope that you are not offended by my rasoning, and instead serve to reconsider before doing something like that again.
    This is my humble opinion. I apologize for my bad English.
    Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    1. Yes, we do have the right to point to a company who by it’s silence and tone deaf choices are doing harm to others. We absolutely do have the right. And moreover, we have the responsibility.

  5. From Noelle Palmer, a white mother of a black child.
    “ When it comes to the issue of systemic racism and police brutality against those with black and brown skin…we as a white collective have no grounds to have an opinion that rejects its reality. Just because we have not experienced it, does not mean it is not a reality. And in fact, the fact we have not experienced it…gives further proof to the reality that it is a racial issue.”

  6. All Lives Matter means that ALL discrimination should end, not just discrimination against black lives. No white selfishness there – lives can be black, white or purple, it doesn’t matter. Their life matters.

    1. Did you ever hear someone say “All Lives Matter” before the BLM movement started? You didn’t and there’s a reason for that. All Lives Matter is a response. It’s not intended to support, it’s intended to silence. And by supporting it, you are indicating that you don’t really believe it.

    1. Eagerly await your videos and social media posts where you “eat crow like nobody’s business.” They made a statement & pledged money days ago. Man up and eat crow.

      1. Well, “Frank” I don’t believe anybody asked for Mr Domestic’s opinion on the subject either. And it’s rather presumptuous of you to assume I’m a racist just because I called out a bully for being a POS. That’s my opinion of any bully, regardless of their skin color. It’s unfortunate people can’t see the hypocrisy of people like you and Mr. Domestic.

    2. And you are a racist. If you don’t understand what he is doing. It’s time we all stand up for black lives matter. Educate yourself and watch 13th on netflix.

  7. Dear Mr Domestic, I love you. I think you are an amazing man. To stand up to the injustices against a section of our country that has and is being treated very differently from our own Lilly white asses, is wonderful. It’s about time EVERYONE stands up to wrong one last time. And it’s time to call everyone to stand up for what’s right. Many times in history bad ideas and people have gotten away with ugly murderous behavior, because no one stood up and said stop. Enough is enough. They get away with it because they are allowed to get away with it. When did doing the right thing become so hard? When did saying the right thing become a matter of turn your back and don’t get involved? I believe in my heart Quilters are a kind giving group that goes out of its way to help the needy. How many of you have made a quilt for a veteran? Sick child? Woman with breast cancer? Family that has lost everything in a fire? A pillowcase for a kid in the hospital? We can do this. We are strong women and men Quilters. Open your hearts and take a stand against injustice.

  8. I really wonder who made you, Mister Domestic, in charge of calling Missouri Star/the Doans out for their lack of a response or reaction to the BLM movement (or any movement for that matter). Who made you God, Judge and Jury? All you’ve done is start drama and put out your opinion while trashing a well loved company. I quilt and follow quilt sites for a hobby for a reason. I don’t want the ugliness of the world in every aspect of my life. You say you love MS, etc. I say bull because here you are calling someone out when it’s just stirring the pot and trying to put them in a bad light. Shame on you!

    1. Matthew, for the record, MSQ collaborated with a smart, entrepreneurial, young, hip woman of color — Crafty Gemini — on the MSQ You Tube channel years ago, which is how I found her. I’ve followed MSQ for years, and I’ve yet to see anything on their videos or in their business that was racist or unloving or less than grateful and compassionate. While I appreciate and share your passion for the BLM movement, I thought this rant to MSQ was incredibly condescending and rude. I’ve always liked you and your channel, so I’m really disappointed. I don’t agree with many of your criticisms of MSQ or your presuming to be the self-appointed moral authority or spokesperson for all quilters. Ironically, for someone whose mission it is to spread joy and positivity and kindness, you wrote an aggressive, righteous, judgmental letter was totally predicated on assumptions about MSQ’s views and publicly slammed them. Like everyone else, they are running a business during unprecedented times and may be dealing with issues that we’re not aware of (nor is it any of our business). I think you’re way out of line demanding that they do what you want when you want it, and to presume that quilters as a whole need you to make MSQ do something so that quilters can “pivot to anti-racism.“ Have you decided that all quilters are racist now and that we need you or MSQ to explain racism and that MSQ is harming black people? Seriously? Judging by the posting on this thread, they were gracious enough to respond. Keep it real now and acknowledge it. This is not the way to effect change.

      1. have you shopped in their stores with a black person? They followed us around afraid that we would steal. They didn’t follow the old white ladies around.

      2. Checked in to see what happened with this andI watched your comments about MSQC on your 6/12 facebook post (ya’ll white folks broke my brain):

        –You said you acknowledged MSQC on their site (not yours?). I didn’t see anything on their facebook page or website—where is it? What does it say? You haven’t even thanked them for their statement or donation on your site?
        — Fact check:: they did not promise to donate $25,000 a year in perpetuity, as you said. They promised 5, $5K donations — ONE of which will go to efforts supporting BIPOC. As you said, facts are important;.
        –Now you say their statement is flawed? And you’re complaining about “course correcting” viewers who asked you to apologize to a company you blasted, using a bunch of assumptions, before checking in with them privately? Yes,you helped with a great fundraiser while working a full time job and your affiliate gigs. Kudos to you and everyone who helped, as these are extremely stressful times for us all. And, yes, absolutely, people threatening your family and anyone dragging your beautiful daughter into the muck is horrid. But now imagine trying to run a family business during a pandemic, where your many of your workers (some of whom are members of your own family) are dealing with threat of illness from Covid 19 (or illness or death for all we know); kids out of school/child care due to the pandemic; concerns about providing for themselves and their families with the income you provide in the face of record unemployment and a looming global economic depression; constant worry and business adjustments to help ensure worker and customer safety [look at their Covid respond on their website]; uncertainties about the post office going under; and tourist/group visits (and resulting income) to you stores seriously curtailed. Then, along comes your ‘loving” colleague who, out of the blue, publicly “shines a spotlight” on the business YOUR kids helped build, in part (according to their statement) for not wanting to jump on the “virtue signaling bandwagon” at this time or whatever reason. This is how you treat people you claim to “love and respect”? (June 11, when you posted your scathing open letter is Jenny Doan’s birthday, by the way; you might have at least wished your friend who you ‘love and respect’ a happy one)/

        Matthew, thank you for showing us who YOU are: self-righteous, smug, and clearly not above dragging down others for your own grandstanding and unapologetically finger-pointing, shaming, judging, manipulating, and criticizing people you claim to love and respect. I call that kind of behavior abuse, and it’s unacceptable, full stop.

        I just made a purchase from MSQC and send them a note to thank them for their statement about BLM and donation and letting them know that I found your letter to be appalling and that I will no longer subscribe to your channel or buy your fabric or any other products with your name on them.

        I’ll keep supporting the ACLU, DNC, as I have for 20 plus years, and the BLM movement. I’m really sad. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. But I’m fortunate to live in blue Massachusetts, and there are plenty of people who advocate by trying to lift others up in unity instead of tearing people they “love and respect” down and dividing.

        Bye, Felicia

    1. Like slavery was shoved down the throats of black slaves? Or like Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck? Or … what? Does it really make you uncomfortable to say that Black lives matter? Are you so thin skinned that you can’t bear to speak the words?

    2. Really? Imagine how BIPOC feel when being constantly confronted by your casual racism and microagressions every damned day!

  9. I don’t think the company has mentioned how much white lives matter either. Put on your big girl panties! It’s not like this company is refusing to sell to black people! Not everything is about race unless you want to make it about race!

    1. Wow, you have some deep seated issues. Nobody is saying ONLY black lives matter. Simply that right now (and for centuries), black lives have mattered less, if at all. If your house was on fire and needed a firetruck, but they stopped at every house on the way to your house, because “all houses matter”, yours would burn to the ground because of selfishness. That is exactly how you sound right now. And really, “big girl panties?” That’s your mature response to a serious issue, and a well worded, respectful plea for a statement. I hope your children don’t pick up what you’re throwing down, because the world is bigger than your backyard.

      1. Exactly right, Frank.”All Lives Matter” is pure white selfishness coming from people who just can’t stand it when something isn’t all about them.

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