“What the hell am I reading,” was my initial thought when I first saw a news article about this H&M hoodie. Probably because I looked at that screenshot (it’s being called an add but clearly it’s a product listing to be more accurate) and thought “nice hoodie”.
The furore that has broken out of this is way over the top and I feel sorry for H&M. Here’s why…
That slogan is only racist if you think in a racist way. I don’t, thus I didn’t see it as racist. Those that are up in arms about this (yes, I call them the ‘professionally offended’) clearly either think in a racist way, or have sadly been a victim of racism. But declaring this listing, product or H&M as racist just because a boy with brown skin is wearing it is utterly ridiculous.
Ask yourselves this: if you had seen this hoodie being worn by a white model would you have thought “ooh they dodged a bullet there not putting a black model in it” or “ooh can you imagine a black kid wearing that – how racist”. No you wouldn’t. That’s the issue for me, it’s only racist when people choose to make it racist. And frankly people who choose to be racist aren’t worth sh*t!
When the designer designed this was he or she thinking in a racist way? Of course not? When the factory in the far east made it (let’s face fact it was made there) did they think it was racist? Of course not. When the people (not sure what they would call themselves) at the photo shoot ask this model to wear it did they think it was racist? Of course not. It probably the young lads mum or dad was there, did they think it was racist? Of course not. When the product manager put it on the on-line store did they think it was racist? Of course not. Why did none of these people flag this up as racist? Because it isn’t and people only make it racist when they decide to do so.
I call my girls monkeys – it’s a term parents up and down the country use all the time for their kids. So why turn it into something sinister? I can only see one reason – attention seeking. It get’s people talking about racism in society – which is a good thing. But it’s get it talked about in the wrong way, totally the wrong way. Dragging a brand such as H&M down over something like this isn’t going to stamp out racism in our society.
But as this blog is called The Yorkshire Dad I thought I would ask my thirteen year old daughter what she thought. So Without any influence I showed her the screenshot above and asked her what she though of it (I did explain this was on the H&M site and she likes H&M clothes by the way). Do you know what she said? Go on, have a guess? No? Okay then I’ll tell you what she said, she said “I like it, it’s really nice”. That was it. She liked it. She wasn’t offended, nor did she think the photo was racist, nor did she make any comment about the boy model being black – nothing. What does that tell you? Well it tells you that by brandishing things like racism we’re positioning the minds of these kids who would otherwise just see this for what it is – a model wearing a hoodie!
Thanks for reading and I’d really like to know your thoughts on this one.
I ran a poll on my Instagram story last night asking viewers if they thought this was racist or not and the results are 90% of respondents didn’t think it was racist.