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Old Frightful

H&M...Racist or a breath of fresh air?

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Okay, please let's be careful here.

Screengrab of H&M's website showing a child wearing the hoodie with 'coolest monkey in the jungle'on it

H&M have removed the above advert after a huge number of complaints from people complaining it was racist and offensive.

Personally I think it's a great photo featuring a little boy who looks quite the cool dude in a nice top.

I think it would be wonderful if an advert like this could be displayed and hardly anyone bats an eyelid, surely that would mean racism is well on the way out.

Am I being ridiculously naive?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

Okay, please let's be careful here.

Screengrab of H&M's website showing a child wearing the hoodie with 'coolest monkey in the jungle'on it

H&M have removed the above advert after a huge number of complaints from people complaining it was racist and offensive.

Personally I think it's a great photo featuring a little boy who looks quite the cool dude in a nice top.

I think it would be wonderful if an advert like this could be displayed and hardly anyone bats an eyelid, surely that would mean racism is well on the way out.

Am I being ridiculously naive?

 

 

I can quite believe it is innocent.  But, they were right to remove it.

In the USA, I did not have the same sensibility towards racism, so I often said things that could be offensive.  They did not cause offence to anyone of that ethnicity, as it was naive rather than malevolent.  But, I tried not to repeat it as I would not be naive the next time. 

That seems a fair response. 

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12 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

Okay, please let's be careful here.

Screengrab of H&M's website showing a child wearing the hoodie with 'coolest monkey in the jungle'on it

H&M have removed the above advert after a huge number of complaints from people complaining it was racist and offensive.

Personally I think it's a great photo featuring a little boy who looks quite the cool dude in a nice top.

I think it would be wonderful if an advert like this could be displayed and hardly anyone bats an eyelid, surely that would mean racism is well on the way out.

Am I being ridiculously naive?

 

 

 

Yes it would be great if nobody batted an eyelid, yes you are being naive if you think its something that people wouldn't jump on.

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9 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

So will we ever get to a point where an advert like this is acceptable?

Probably, yes.

In a handful of generations.

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Given that the other pic in the advert was a white boy wearing a top saying survivor I think yes it probably is racist, I’ll be charitable and say unconsciously so. 

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I'm not sure how they could miss that this would be controversial.

Quite clearly inappropriate, hopefully an error rather than racism.

Edited by Dave T

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I was desperately trying to work out why a little lad in a hoody would be racist but it was only when I zoomed in on the words that I realised what the brouhaha was all about (H&M have already apologised).  

I would agree that it would be lovely to reach a time when a little black lad could wear whatever the heck he wants (presumably his parents will have seen this before it went out, given his age).  

I must remember not to call my nephew a cheeky little monkey just in case someone hears me and calls me racist.  

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I'm not sure how they could miss that this would be controversial.

Quite clearly inappropriate, hopefully an error rather than racism.

I very, very much doubt H&M or indeed any well known chain of stores would be racist.  

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6 minutes ago, Saintslass said:

I very, very much doubt H&M or indeed any well known chain of stores would be racist.  

Me too. Individuals working for them or their agencies can be though.

As per most others, happy to give benefit of the doubt, this could have even been staged by people who dont have English as their first langauge. Or if in other parts of Europe I dont know if monkey is used in the same way.

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I often called my kids little monkeys when they were small. What I didn’t do was call my friend Mikey’s kids little monkeys, it just wouldn’t have sat right 

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There shouldn't be anything wrong with it but we don't live in a perfect world. I don't think there was any malicious intent in the photo but it was definitely not a sensible decision to publish it.

Edited by Wiltshire Rhino
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5 hours ago, Old Frightful said:

So will we ever get to a point where an advert like this is acceptable?

Im not sure.

Certainly not when monkey is still used as a racial slur.

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I think it was great to use the kid in an advert, but not wearing a sweatshirt with that logo on. Black people are under represented in the advertising and modelling industry, so it should be applauded to a certain extent.

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6 minutes ago, Wiltshire Rhino said:

There shouldn't be anything wrong with it but we don't live in a perfect world. I don't think there was any malicious intent in the photo but it was definitely not a sensible decision to publish it.

I wonder how many people were involved in the thought process that led up to using the photo, presumably in the marketing of H&M.

And I also wonder if they did it deliberately, with the thinking "Why not, he's just a little lad we're using to advertise our clothing, why should we shy away from it because some folk will take it the wrong way".

Also.there's the "No publicity is bad publicity" angle that they may well have thought about.

Be interesting to see how that theory goes.

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13 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

I wonder how many people were involved in the thought process that led up to using the photo, presumably in the marketing of H&M.

And I also wonder if they did it deliberately, with the thinking "Why not, he's just a little lad we're using to advertise our clothing, why should we shy away from it because some folk will take it the wrong way".

Also.there's the "No publicity is bad publicity" angle that they may well have thought about.

Be interesting to see how that theory goes.

If they did it intentionally then they deserve a huge backlash.

Monkey is still used as a racial slur, a quick google search brings up plenty of examples of it, to dress a black child in a top saying coolest monkey just shouldnt be happening.

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10 minutes ago, Dave T said:

If they did it intentionally then they deserve a huge backlash.

Monkey is still used as a racial slur, a quick google search brings up plenty of examples of it, to dress a black child in a top saying coolest monkey just shouldnt be happening.

Your use of the word "backlash" caught my eye as subconsciously I thought I read the word "blacklash" which was a bit unfortunate.

Which then got me thinking, does anybody remember going back quite a few years when (IIRC) the West Indies slaughtered the English cricket team and the headline on at least one of the nationals' sport pages was "Blackwash".

Would that word be accepted today?

 

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I think a generation after people stop throwing bananas at black people is a good time for that advertisement.

People might then think it’s just cute.

 

Edited by Copa

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9 hours ago, Saintslass said:

I was desperately trying to work out why a little lad in a hoody would be racist but it was only when I zoomed in on the words that I realised what the brouhaha was all about (H&M have already apologised).  

I would agree that it would be lovely to reach a time when a little black lad could wear whatever the heck he wants (presumably his parents will have seen this before it went out, given his age).  

I must remember not to call my nephew a cheeky little monkey just in case someone hears me and calls me racist.  

I agree, I didn't get what all the fuss was about at first. Maybe its a generational thing but when I first saw the advert I just saw a kid modelling a hoodie, I didn't see a 'coloured' person.

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10 hours ago, Dave T said:

Me too. Individuals working for them or their agencies can be though.

As per most others, happy to give benefit of the doubt, this could have even been staged by people who dont have English as their first langauge. Or if in other parts of Europe I dont know if monkey is used in the same way.

This was my first thought. Round ours 'cheeky monkey' is an almost universal term for a child regardless of gender. 

However, I couldn't be sure whether this was the case outside of the North of England. I'd also have no idea whether the black community use it.

If they do in the same way then it is a sad situation that they can't use it, if they don't then it's more than a little inappropriate. Regardless I would have erred on the side of caution with something so delicate. 

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Having just seen this covered on Sky News, I can't help but feel that some people are wanting to say "political correctness gone mad" but know they will get shot down. The guy on there appeared to suggest this is more an American issue, but I disagree. 

On an RL forum I am very very surprised if people here are not aware of monkey being used as a racist slur against black people. I recall racist abuse directed at the likes  of Des Drummond and Martin Offiah when I was young, which involved them being called monkeys, having bananas thrown onto the pitch and monkey chants.

We still see these incidents in sport now

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/4818156/roma-3-chelsea-0-champions-league-fans/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/2671079/mario-balotelli-hits-out-at-monkey-chanting-by-racist-bastia-fans-in-instagram-post-after-1-1-draw-with-nice-in-ligue-1-clash/

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/13/football/yaya-toure-racism-fifa/index.html

 

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5 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Having just seen this covered on Sky News, I can't help but feel that some people are wanting to say "political correctness gone mad" but know they will get shot down. The guy on there appeared to suggest this is more an American issue, but I disagree. 

On an RL forum I am very very surprised if people here are not aware of monkey being used as a racist slur against black people. I recall racist abuse directed at the likes  of Des Drummond and Martin Offiah when I was young, which involved them being called monkeys, having bananas thrown onto the pitch and monkey chants.

We still see these incidents in sport now

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/4818156/roma-3-chelsea-0-champions-league-fans/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/2671079/mario-balotelli-hits-out-at-monkey-chanting-by-racist-bastia-fans-in-instagram-post-after-1-1-draw-with-nice-in-ligue-1-clash/

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/13/football/yaya-toure-racism-fifa/index.html

 

Has anybody said they are unaware of black people being called monkeys?

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10 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

Has anybody said they are unaware of black people being called monkeys?

I find the questioning whether it is inappropriate strange, when to me it is not even ambiguous - the only factor is whether it was intentional. You can also sense  the eye rolling from a couple of posters too, one making a rather silly point about calling their nephew, and another saying he didn't get the fuss before he worked it out - well I didn't get the fuss before I saw the black kid wearing a top saying monkey either.

But the point was more at the coverage that this is an American thing, when it is absolutely prevalent in the UK and certain parts of Europe (don't know how wide in Europe).

I would also hope that the defence of the people involved is that they did not know the word monkey was used as a racist slur.

Edited by Dave T
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