Why Wells Fargo rejected a teacher’s Black Lives Matter debit card design


Courtesy of Rachel Nash

Wells Fargo offers its customers the ability to personalize their credit and debit cards with images “that reflect what’s important to you.” A family photo, a picture of your pet, your kid’s artwork — “the choice is yours,” the banking giant advertises on its website.

So Rachel Nash, a Baltimore city schoolteacher, tried, as the company advises, to “make a statement with an image.”

She designed a sleek custom bank card featuring a raised fist and three words — “Black Lives Matter.”

When her city erupted in protests over the 2015 death of a young black man, Freddie Gray, from an injury sustained while in police custody, the white English teacher had ironed “Black Lives Matter” onto a gray tank top and wore it to school. She wanted to express solidarity with a national movement protesting the string of police killings of black citizens and signal to students that she was willing to listen.

Now Nash, who says she’s fed up with white people who freely disparage black youth in front of her, wants to extend the conversation to cashiers and others she interacts with while she buys groceries, gets coffee, dines at restaurants — wherever and whenever she uses her debit card.

“A lot of white people in Baltimore have really problematic views about race, and they feel like because I’m a white person I agree with them automatically,” Nash, 29, said. “This is one way I can demonstrate regularly that I am not complicit in whatever their views are.”

But Wells Fargo rejected her design.

Two days after she submitted her image online, Nash received an email Thursday morning informing her that her design did not meet the company’s guidelines.

Read on.


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