In 2017, we introduced a product called Tailwind Tribes. At the time, we thought the term “tribe” represented the community atmosphere of the product and seemed like an appropriate name on the surface.
We were wrong to do so.
“Tribe” is a term many Native nations hold in esteem with deep meaning and connection, but the term also has a challenging past. For Native and Indigenous peoples, the use of the word “tribe” is racially charged (read: “European colonists…used the word ‘tribal’ synonymously with ‘savage’ or ‘primitive’”).
Over time, we started to get a few messages stating concern over the use of the word “tribes.” But there weren’t many messages…so, we noted the concern and kept on our present course. One day, if we kept hearing from enough people who were upset about it, we’d make a change.
But that’s the problem when it comes to discrimination and racism. If you rely on the majority perspective to guide the proper action, you’re going to end up being in the wrong an awful lot. Because the majority isn’t the group at risk of being oppressed.
And we fell into that trap. Our privilege was on display.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, our team started having a lot more honest discussions about racism and how we can work intentionally to become more anti-racist. Inclusion has always been one of our core values, but this moment in history showed that we needed to push beyond Inclusion to be the type of company we want to be.
One such discussion focused on the name “Tribes.” Could we feel right about offering a product with a name that isn’t only not Inclusive, but downright offensive to some of our members?
Our answer was “no.” So, we’re committing to changing the Tailwind Tribes name and branding by the end of the year. We don’t want to keep adding to the trivialization of the word “tribe,” nor propagate its hurtful connotations to Native communities.
We’re working through the plan and will seek feedback as we choose a new name, especially from members who have expressed concern or are impacted more personally by this decision. Once we have a new name, it’ll take some time to implement the changes in our marketing materials and software, but we expect to complete the transition by the end of the year.
We promise to continue to listen and learn so we can do better. Thanks for being patient with us. We hear you — and we promise to keep doing just that. 💙
CEO & Co-Founder
P.S. If you’re interested in hearing more about Tailwind’s anti-racism initiatives, visit https://blog.tailwindapp.com/our-commitment-to-anti-racism-resources/. We would love your input.
Daniel Maloney is the CEO and Co-founder of Tailwind (http://tailwindapp.com), a marketing platform trusted by hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. Tailwind’s mission is to make world-class marketing easy for everyone. A veteran of the internet industry, Danny lead New Initiatives at Google Maps / Local and YouTube, served as General Manager of AOL Video and founded other companies in the fields of e-commerce and visual discovery prior to Tailwind.