2018 has just started and we have our first public misstep in advertising: H&M had a black boy modelling a hoodie that brands him as the “coolest monkey in the jungle”.
Are you kidding me?!
The white kid next to him is the “survival expert”.
Ah… if only someone had caught this during the photo shoot and reversed the sweaters…
If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here.
H&M has apologized. And have pulled the ad, and the hoodie.
They have stated their internal procedures were not followed.
What are those procedures, I wonder? And which part was missed?
Here’s what I know about racism:
It’s insidious. It’s systemic. It’s everywhere. And because of these things, racism often isn’t caught it when it’s happening – because we don’t recognize it as racism. (And by “we” I don’t mean people of colour…)
How did this happen?
I’m going to sound like a broken record.
I asked these question when Dove found themselves in hot water last year, and I’ll ask them again:
Especially with the current “sexy” status of Diversity & Inclusion in the corporate world how did this happen? How did this ad make it past all the levels (and the procedures) it would have had to and “go live”?
I’ll give you a hint: the decision-making table is missing some key players…
We got an apology. Now what?
It’s time for something more than sorry. It’s time for real change.