H&M sure is kicking 2018 off right. My fellow We Buy Black blogger Naomi Bradley wrote an amazing piece about H&M’s offensive ad. Read her article HERE. Naomi Bradley raises some excellent points. To piggyback off of her article, I would also like to express my outrage.
Even though I’m not a parent and I don’t shop at H&M, I’m furious at this advertisement. As Naomi pointed out, we have been referred to as a number of epithets including ‘monkey’ throughout history. Calling a Black person a monkey is degrading and for H&M to place a sweatshirt on a Black child that says, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle,’ is utterly deplorable.
Perhaps you believe that Black people have truly overcome and that we are on equal footing with the rest of the world...we’re not. And for anyone who promotes a colorblind approach to race, please read Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow.’ You will understand why a colorblind society is more pernicious to our community than anything else.
If H&M would have taken into account the racial tensions that have riddled the Black community then perhaps they would not have run this ad. Perhaps they would have run the ad despite knowing. Who’s to say? But that’s where this issue surpasses political correctness and becomes historical ignorance.
Mass media has always attempted to dehumanize members of the Black community. From political cartoons of early periodicals that depicted us with exaggerated features to ads like this; this is nothing new.
Remember, if you will, the Dove soap ad that ran not too long ago; it showed a Black woman stepping into a washing machine and coming out as a White woman after using Dove soap, or something of that nature. What kind of message does that send? It says that Black skin is dirty and if you use Dove you can rid your skin of impurities and achieve the cleanliness of white women.
Enough Is Enough
Again, this is nothing new. The image of our community has always been attacked and we cannot allow these companies to get away with their blatant disrespect. Like my fellow, talented blogger suggested, boycott H&M, boycott any company that does not take our community’s best interests into account, and buy Black!
H&M and all of the other companies who have run ads like this are insensitive and uncaring. And anyone who supports or defends ads such as these are just as disrespectful and insensitive. As much as we’d like to believe it, we do not live in a colorblind society. Since we’ve been shown that the rest of the world cares very little -- if at all -- about our community. It’s up to us to promote pride and dignity for our race. We can achieve this by buying Black.