Do you notice anything uncool about anything in this poster:
Enter, one, Margaret Sawyer:
When Margaret Sawyer first noticed the Red Cross safety poster at a pool in Salida, Colo., she thought she was looking at an unfortunate relic of the past.
When she saw it a second time at an entirely different pool in the central Colorado town, she was shocked, according to NBC affiliate KUSA.
“I saw this one, and I just kept thinking, ‘It looks like they’re trying to do something here that shows all kids together of all different backgrounds, but they’re clearly not hitting the mark,’” she said.
Not only were the poster’s designers not hitting the mark, Sawyer thought, they had created an image that was racist. Sawyer complained to a lifeguard at the first facility and penned a letter to management asking for the poster’s removal, she told KUSA.
After seeing the poster a second time, she posted an image of it online.
“I felt really angry,” she said.
The poster — titled “Be Cool, Follow The Rules” — depicts various children playing at the pool. But white children are labeled as behaving in a “cool” way while children of color who are depicted defying pool rules are labeled “not cool.”
KUSA discovered that the poster was from a safe-swimming campaign in 2014.
The Red Cross (or is that offensive? Should it be Native American Cross? Oh, wait…”cross”….that could be deemed offensive as well….but I digress…) has removed the poster and issued an apology, stating that they “are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward.”
Rosemond said she wondered how an organization like the Red Cross, which prides itself on working with diverse populations, could allow material like the poster to be widely circulated,
One explanation could be that unlike witch-hunting, race-hypersensitive quota-counters, the Red Cross didn’t vet the poster through the thorn-tinted microscope lens of melanin counting everything in life. Surely the artist is a victim of institutionalized racism and drew the poster without the self-awareness of his/her own subconscious racist attitudes. Of course, the artist must have then mis-labeled a couple of the white (or non-black) kids as being “not cool” in the poster. I guess Sawyer wasn’t interested in noticing that.
Now that she has me paying attention to the pigmentation of the people in the poster, thank God at least one of the lifeguards is not only black, but also a female (wouldn’t want to get accused of sexism, now would we? That would be just too much for the Red Cross to handle effectively).
The whole irony here is that if the Red Cross or the poster artist even had race in mind, they wouldn’t have done this in the first place. Leave it to the race-obsessed to draw attention to skin color.
and she believes an apology is not enough.
“We are aware that the Red Cross has put out a statement,” she said. “We want to restate that that apology is insufficient, and their system for creating and evaluating material needs to be looked at, and they need to be extremely diligent to make sure that every poster is taken down.”
Sawyer, who spotted the posters, agreed and told KUSA that the incident reveals that the Red Cross probably needs to reimagine itself and its constituency.
“I’m just a citizen, I’m not an organization; but I would want the Red Cross to collaborate and build relationships with Black Kids Swim and other organizations that do advocacy around this so that this doesn’t happen again,” said Sawyer, the former executive director of the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project.
“Clearly, they’re thinking of themselves as only having one constituency, and that’s not true.”
Recall a couple of months ago the brouhaha over an Ellen DeGeneres GapKids commercial where this offended:
Just forget for a moment that this is Ellen and the Gap the offended are accusing of being racially insensitive through inclusiveness, here. Also forget for a moment that the two kids in question are real-life siblings with a totally reasonable, normal explanation for the pose. Just ignore that this photo was also part of the ad campaign:
Now conspiRACISTS may be wondering what the symbolism and latent racism is when one photo is in color and the other is in black and white.
Fanny Grace Lubensky (the girl resting her arm), 12, is Smith’s biological daughter with husband Steve Lubensky and nine-year-old Lucy Dinknesh Lubensky was adopted by the pair back in 2008.
While the pose may seem to be a little bit more appropriate now as it has been revealed the two are siblings, many still find the photo to be problematic, as it can convey casual racism — and Smith agrees.
Good grief. And of course the Gap also apologized for the racial insensitivity.
In a statement to Fortune, Gap spokeswoman Debbie Felix apologized to anyone who took offense to the ad, “As a brand with a proud 46 year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended.”
The publication also reported that the company plans to remove the image, but will move forward with the campaign.
I dislike this kind of bullying. The racism racists are seeing in the ad is the racism they bring within their own selves. Quit projecting. Quit creating racism out of thin air. Quit perpetuating it. Quit seeing the world filtered through those thorn-tinted lenses. Quit being part of the problem rather than the solution to racism.