It’s funny how folks talk about wanting to empowering women and girls, but which girls are they really talking about?
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This sentiment is perfectly seen in a new Gap Kids ad aimed for promoting Girl power–“Meet the kids who are proving that girls can do anything.” The girls–three white and one Black–are super cute and talented, but then you look closer at the ads, why are the white girls showcasing their skill and smiles and the Black girl is frowning and serving as a prop for another model to rest her arm on.
Sigh. Who approved this?
Of course, Black Twitter was not having it. calling the ads “racist,”passive” and “employing microaggessions.”
And yes, this is “just an ad,” but let’s be clear: This is part of a larger issue going on with the state of Black girls and women in this country.
Black women and girls are overlooked and ignored, relegated to being sassy sidekicks to white women in films like The Ghostbusters reboot, forced to serve as the backdrop in pop culture videos by Katy Perry and are made the butt of sexual inappropriate jokes made by basic white and talentless white women. Then our culture is hijacked, but when we rock cornrows or grills, the world calls us “ghetto,” but when white women do it, it’s hip, amazing and haute couture.
On a structural and social level, Black women are often left out of a conversation around police and state violence, pushed out of our schools and disproportionately placed into the prison industry complex. Not to mention, we have politicians wagging their fingers in our faces, magazines asking if a horse is more talented than we are and trolled when we speak out about the intersections of race and gender.
It’s never ending, whether its subtle or overt, and it’s exhausting.
But regardless of the tone deaf and insensitive message that Gap Kids and the rest of the world continue to send, we can never lose sight that Black girls are not props for white girls, they are pure magic. Just ask Marley Dias, Simone Biles, Mikaila Ulmer, Akilah Johnson and the countless others who make us proud everyday.
And We Thought We Came So Far: The Most Racist Moments Of 2014
1. 2014’s Most Racist Moments1 of 24
2. Artie Lange’s Racist & Sexist Tweet2 of 24
3. Sephora Singles Out Asian Customers3 of 24
4. Twitter Racists Hate The “New Annie”4 of 24
5. People Magazine’s Lame HTGAWM Tweet5 of 24
6. ’12 Years A Slave’ Headlines That Hurt6 of 24
7. Fergson Protestors Labeled ‘Animals’7 of 24
8. Huffington Post’s Really Uncomfortable “Once You Go Black” List8 of 24
9. Ebola9 of 24
10. “Breathe Easy, Don’t Break The Law” Shirts10 of 24
11. Fraternity Uses Dark-Skinned Blow Up Doll As Beyonce Sex Doll11 of 24
12. Sony’s Racist Emails12 of 24
13. New Hampshire Police Commissioner Calls Obama The N-Word13 of 24
14. Racist Halloween Costumes14 of 24
15. Richard Sherman Gets Called a ‘Thug’ By Media15 of 24
16. Watermelon Toothpaste Cartoon Featuring Obama16 of 24
17. Shonda Rhimes Labeled “Angry Black Woman” By NYT17 of 24
18. Donald Sterling’s Rant18 of 24
19. Bill O’Reilly19 of 24
20. John Boyega Responds To Racist Star Wars Fans20 of 24
21. Don Lemon Being Don Lemon21 of 24
22. New York Times Called Michael Brown ‘No Angel’22 of 24
23. Booker T. Washington Walkout23 of 24
24. Racist Stripper Goes On ‘N-Word’ Rant24 of 24