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Things taken as racist vs. racist intentions:

H&M is being targeted because of their hoodie ad featuring a black child in a hoodie that says "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle". [highsnobiety.com]

I thought it was interesting that it's quite obviously "racially insensitive", but not exactly racist, unless of course they intended to portray the child as an actual monkey. (We're all just apes anyway, regardless of 'race' ).

What are your thoughts? If we were post-racism, then this ad would be totally harmless. Nobody would even link the two concepts. Clearly, we're not.

Should a company be vilified for being ignorant about racism? Is that not sort of the ideal that we all become "colorblind"? Is that even possible? Since culture and skin color have become so intertwined, would anyone really want that? To give up their distinct cultural identity to make race 'not a thing'?

By Spoony4
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12 comments

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0

Would the company publishing adverts with children of other races in the "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" in different colours as part two of their ad campaign silence the critics? Or what if black kids were the only race not wearing "Coolest" hoodies in adverts would they feel the black kid was victimised?

I thought all the kids looked cute, loveable and privileged in the lovely H&M clothes.

2

H&M really dropped the ball, here, how on earth did this make it through the whole publishing chain?! Should it be offensive? No Am I offended? No. Is it a silly thing to publish given the nature of political correctness these days? Absolutely, dumbest thing they could probably do!

Zoidburg Level 5 Jan 9, 2018
0

There is a difference between being insensitive and being racist. The company was probably insensitive and not racist.

Donwelty Level 4 Jan 9, 2018
1

Thete is a difference between being insensitive and being racist. The company was probably insensitive and not racist.

Donwelty Level 4 Jan 9, 2018
2

Am I offended? No. Should H&M have known better? Yes. Imo, there are more important things to worry about. Don't like the hoody? Don't buy it. People are upset that others aren't offended because they think they should be. This entire situation is crazy.

this. absolutely this.

2

They should have put the white kid in the monkey and the black kid in the mangrove jacket and there would have been no problem

That fact that they didn't shows ignorance at best and covert racism at worst.

Definitely fire everyone involved in that campaign and the company isn't to be vilified. But if defend their actions when it's brought to their attention, then yeah, vilify the company.

but why can't a black kid wear a hoodie that talks about monkeys? I have a friend, a black friend, complain about the watermelon and fried chicken stereotype. Dude loves both watermelon and fried chicken but can't eat them in public because people keep calling him a stereotype. his exact quote: "Like, who the fuck doesn't love fried chicken? It's great!"

Does this mean a black kid can never wear monkey-themed apparel in an ad? Isn't that a little unfair to the kid? What if he was told he could take his pick of the hoodie to wear and he picked the monkey one over the jungle survivor one? Is the kid at fault for being insensitive? I don't think so. What if it turned out the panel that approved the ad were all black? would that change the situation any?

And now that I think about it, even the jungle survivor one could be seen as racist. They'd have to pick two white kids and the black kid would have lost out on the modeling gig.

@Spoony

A stereotype brought on oneself is not a problem.. let him eat watermelon, fried chicken, admit he has a big schlong and that he can't swim... .then it's not a sterotype but his actual type, you know?

But when third party advertently, or inadvertently, uses those labels on a person and if inadvertently fails to respect that those labels are harmful to other people, then it's a problem as I see it.

And no... if an all black panel decided that ad was good to go, then they may be ignorant of the allusion (doubtful) or they may have thought that that allusion no longer mattered (poor research) or they could have even thought it was a grand joke at the expense of their community.

I agree that on the grand scheme of abuse, it's slight... as you or others have said, people call their kids "little monkeys" across racial divides. But we also call our kids "boys" and that also carries a contest in the black (at least US) population and thus care should be had.

3

Omg, this is so stupid. There being an issue about a kid being referred to as a monkey, I mean. What parent hasn't told you to stop acting like a monkey or said you're my little monkey? They refer the monkey to being playful, carefree and hyper as one, in my opinion. I don't see how this is a problem. People still just want to be offended by everything and find something wrong with everything.

I have absolutely heard that from both white and black parents. calling their children monkeys. an interesting scenario:

What if you saw a black kid at a park wearing this? would people find it offensive in real life? What if they found out that the kid was from a mixed-race household and borrowed the hoodie from his white brother because he liked monkeys? what is the specific thing that even makes the juxtaposition of the child and the hoodie racially insensitive? it is OUR beliefs that make it insensitive? If nobody put the two together like that, would it still be racist?

2

This is not the first time H&M has flirted on the edge of racist. It is in extremely poor taste given the times we live in. We are not post racism by any stretch of the imagination. I avoid H&M for many reasons, their choices are appalling. I vote with my pocket book and I vote against them.

what do you think a path to post-racism would look like? I personally have no idea. I don't really know if even SHOULD get to a point where we ignore race entirely.

I don't know exactly what the path to post-racism will look like, however I do believe we NEED to get to a point where we ignore race. We are all humans. We need to accept people for who they are not skin color and we need to level the playing field and eliminate the horrible conditions created by years of national policy aimed at keeping those of non white skin in poverty. I don't know how it is going to happen, but I am sure my children's generation and my grandchildren's generation will be moving us in that direction.

2

Sometimes it is hard to know intent. It is strange how much conflict and tension different skin tones cause in humans. I guess it is as simple as some innate tribalism, possibly reinforced over time in various ways. It is proof we are often not rational animals, and products of our evolutionary past...we cannot seem to get past.

Rudy1962 Level 9 Jan 8, 2018
0

Sometimes it is hard to know intent. It is strange how much conflict and tension different skin tones cause in humans. I guess it is as simple as some innate tribalism, possibly reinforced over time in various ways. It is proof we are often not rational animals, and products of our evolutionary past...we cannot seem to get past.

Rudy1962 Level 9 Jan 8, 2018

Largely it is because in the US if your skin isn't lily white you are discriminated against from before you are born til you die an early death. We will not let it go until skin color is not an issue, til all humans are treated fairly.

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm trying to understand it. America probably does have more racial problems than most countries. However, it is not unique to us. It is a human problem.

@HippieChick58 true. and in parts of the country you get discriminated against for being white. i went to an all black elementary school, i was one of two white kids and got picked on avery day by the older kids. an interesting thing to note is that my peers, first grade and second grade kids didn't even seem to notice i was white, which is refreshing in hindsight.

also, ginger kids get picked on well into adulthood, albeit in a more lighthearted manner.

1

I agree it's racist.

but not willfully racist, right? they weren't trying to say that black people are monkeys. they were trying to promote a hoodie with a self-affirming message that when paired with a person of color could be seen as racist, but i doubt there was any ill will. in fact, they were probably trying to find ways to add more black people into their modeling, rather than just being the store for white people. they f'ed up, sure. but i don't know if it's racist exactly.

1

Did they have other ads with white kids/asian kids/kids of other ethnicities in the "monkey" outfit? Because if they did, then the media are just using cherry-picking, and this whole thing is people reading in a problem where there isn't one.

Rhetoric Level 7 Jan 8, 2018

there was another (white) kid in a hoodie about being a jungle survivor. people get upset about things that are upsetting. apparently that upset them. tbh i don't know if I would have even looked twice at it.

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