Dear Corporations, Let's Be Socially Responsible
BY: KIKI N.
Reading time: 3 minutes
The internet exploded again with what we call "something that slipped through the cracks". It was an advertised image of a Black child modeling a "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" sweater.
Of course, many people on twitter had a lot to say about the image--from celebrities to consumers.
Here's the thing they no longer see things like this as a problem therefore didn't think much of it. @hm probably just saw a little boy advertising a hoodie. They don't see that we have been labeled as monkeys and they've forgotten that we still hang on to these things https://t.co/0eQnnS82Xo— Chyanne🍫 (@EmoShapedTears) January 8, 2018
Historically, Black children have been racially characterized as monkeys. Although this could have been unintentional, this oversight is neglecting the fact that companies like H&M SHOULD be socially responsible.
Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society; it involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate.
We all know this image was a VERY bad marketing decision and there definitely isn't going to be much of the "accepting of apologies" that people will have for H&M. These kinds of mistakes allow some companies to appear unaware of diversity training.
I think it is safe to say that companies SHOULD believe that their customers and stakeholders are aware of societal issues and ethics. Many people-- perhaps consumers were able to internalize what the term "monkey" referred to when they viewed the image of the Black child wearing the sweater labeled "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle". Also, some may have thought it was a coincidence. So why is it that these large corporations do not "think" like or research the regular consumer?
Corporations need to realize that people are not buying machines. We think and make decisions about what we buy. Images of a Black child wearing a sweater that states "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle" will prompt emotions and questions.
It pays to be a company that practices societal ethics and a company that people can trust. Companies constantly want to prove to its consumers that they know and understand diversity when in reality they don't.
Many people online stated that "if there were more Black people in the boardroom or making decisions, mistakes like this would not have happened"--which could be true.
"Diversity is most important in corporate industries because corporate industries are the ones that have the final say on a product being consumed. Since black women have a clear understanding of black women realities and culture, it is important that they sit on decision-making boards." - Mokgadi Raboshaga
Corporate companies have proven to us time and time again that they still don't understand the benefits of diversity.
H&M has apologized They told the Daily News “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.”
Kiki N. works in government. She has a bachelors degree in Sociology. She is interested in the Black women narrative and experience.
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