Question: Does racism have to be intentional to be racism?
There are endless examples of over the top blatant racism and then there are those subtle examples like this ad. Whether it is due to ignorance, or intentional indifference remains to be seen. But the fact of the matter is, I didn't notice anything particularly racist about it. I just didn't like the imagery. That is, until I did the research. My question is. If I didn't know what the historical context was, I wonder if those who created this ad did.
Gap has issued an apology for a racially charged ad that drew fiery backlash on social media.
Ellen DeGeneres and GapKids partnered for activewear line GapKids x ED, and the line’s campaign launched with an ad featuring four girls from Le Petit Cirque, three white and one black girl, socialized with the tweet “Girls can do anything.”
One of the white children in the image is resting her arm on the head of the only black child featured, a distinctly unempowering pose that harkened back to an antebellum South in which black children were used as armrests and footstools, and a present where black children are systemically devalued.
Gap responded to the widespread criticism and shared how it planned to rectify its error in judgment.
“As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended,” Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix said in a statement, “This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.”
In this instance, image matters more than intent. And the lack of racial and cultural diversity at the executive level, which allowed that image to be approved and circulated, is one of the many ways in which institutional and systemic racism functions. Those girls, all of them, deserved better than to be placed in such a racial tableau.
Gap took responsibility and made the right decision. Hopefully, more corporations will take notice.
In looking at the photo I wonder if whoever created this campaign realized that they put these children in a "racist" pos. I also wonder if anyone would have realized or gave this ad campaign a second thought if no one pointed it out......