The question we are all asking ourselves over this recent Gap advertisement scandal is: Is passive racism just as bad as straight up racism. Although the another really good question to be asking ourselves is: Since when is it okay for a bunch of people to stare at images of young, flexible girls on the internet for this long? But let’s focus on one nonsensical thought at a time.
Recently Gap released an ad campaign featuring La Petite Cirque, a girls aerial arts team, meant to empower young girls. But black girls young and old felt differently about the ad when they noticed that the only black model in the photo was not showing off her acrobatic skills like the other girls. Instead she acted as an armrest for the taller white girl.
Twitter of course exploded in anger. All it takes to enrage Twitter these days is to say a color and an adjective and someone will find a way to be offended by it. Which isn’t necessarily bad. There has to be anger and feelings to promote change and conversation, that’s what has backed all great civil rights movements of the past. But with just how simple the subjects of controversy can be and how often they seem to now occur—even if by complete mistake—could be adversely affecting the message.
Put it this way: passive racism is like fettuccini alfredo, and racism is like veal saltimbocca. The ready availability of microwavable fettuccini alfredo makes it not nearly as appealing on a menu when you’re looking for a true authentic Italian experience. In the same manner, passive racism is so easy to come by because of how ingrained it is in our society, so it’s not entirely something to freak out about when you see it ready to eat in Costco, frozen at Albertsons, in a box at Ralphs, and vegan-ized in Wholefoods.
When passive racism comes across our table here in America, don’t act like it’s fresh veal saltimbocca and lose your goddamn mind. Treat it like fettuccini alfredo and express that you’re just plain sick of the same old thing, and then order some linguini. Don’t demand that Gap repeal the ad and apologize for “triggering you”. Teach them why this repetitive, racial issue is something we all need to be mindful of, then do your shopping at Banana Republic and sit down.
Because if we keep rallying everyone up over every dish of boring ass fettuccine alfredo, people are going to get burnt out. And by the time we have some real good saltimbocca hot on the table, America will have already left to get Chinese food.
Pick your battles Twitter, and don’t treat every battle like it’s a full on race war.