As many of you are aware of, the Clothing Company known as "H&M" decided to remove what became a controversial sweatshirt from its Children's Clothing Line. At first glance, it is not difficult to see why...
In the Context of American History, the term "monkey" was used as a slight against African-Americans. In short, Black people were seen as uneducated, less than human, even more animalistic compared to other Races alluding to Evolution.
Along with other choice words, terms like this were used to keep the mentality of African-Americans in place. Lacking confidence, dignity, and a real sense of humanity, Black people would never pursue the common American Dream with this mindset.
Over the years, much progress has been made to improve the mentality of African-Americans. We are not confined to the achievements of a Slave or seen as inferior on any Level. However, issues brought up during the recent Presidential Election have ignited the Conversation. How different are we...?
In all honesty, these two little boys share more similarities than differences. Let us look at the features: two eyes, two ears, nose, mouth, hair, able to wear a sweatshirt, and pose for this advertisement. In terms of Race, the only difference is the skin tone...and that was enough to cause division in the History of America.
I have read numerous comments suggesting that too many people are over-reacting. Why would our brain associate the black child with the word, "monkey"? As I stated earlier, this association was made in the past by those prejudice towards Black people. This Past was not so long ago that people have forgotten about it.
Of course, I believe that the Creators of this 'Message' at H&M were well-aware of how African-Americans and others supportive of Racial Equality would perceive this Message. Unless you live in a cave and missed American History class, everyone is aware of the negative association.
I find their 'apology' meaningless and shameful. How can you purposefully do wrong, then, apologize for doing it? Still, those sympathetic to H&M's position of simply making a sweatshirt concern me the most.
Insensitivity breeds Insensitivity.
Yes, the time will come when they will want others to be sensitive towards their feelings. When Insensitivity is given, I hope they understand how their remarks from this Controversy could have been better. Everyone is Sensitive about something.
Let us continue to learn how to treat others the way we want to be treated.
Eric Christopher Jackson