Recently, a commercial photo in which an African American boy wears a hoodie that says ‘COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE’ on H&M’s official website has drawn widespread condemnation about racial discrimination on social media. Although H&M gave the public apology and that controversial product will no longer be sold, the public didn’t seem accept such a simple approach.
Many black celebrities also protested this event in public. For instance, the basketball star LeBron James said “We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!” on Instagram, and singer The Weekend announced that he refused to cooperate with H&M anymore. However, the boy’s mother seemed that she doesn’t think it was a big deal.
Although this African American boy also wears other clothes in the commercial photos of H&M, most of people still thought that H&M’s the lack of sensibility to racial issue made them do the decisions to let black boy wear that kind of clothes ,especially compared to the image of one of a white child modeling a hoodie with the words “JUNGLE SURVIVAL EXPERT.”
This event has brought out reactions ranged worldwide, plus the reaction to this mistake of H&M was thought to be perfunctory. Last week, many H&M store in Johannesburg, South Africa were trashed over by local radical party, EFF. Activists kicked over clothes rails and shoving mannequins, and South African police even had to use rubber bullets to disperse a mob. For security, all the H&M stores in South Africa have been closed for a while. “All self respecting people in the world should boycott H&M and there should be consequences for their actions,” Floyd Shivambu, a member of EFF said on his Twitter.
Netizens also indicated that this is not the first time that clothing brand has the racial discrimination problem about the products. American clothing brand A&F and Germany clothing brand Spreadshirt both have launched T-shirts with patterns that discriminate against Chinese. Recently, the racial issue has been aroused wide concern, super model Gigi Hadid also wasn’t allowed to join 2017 Victoria’s secret show in Shanghai last month for allegedly discriminating against Chinese.
However, some people thought that the public over-reacted to this event, because this boy modeled not only this hoodie but also other clothes of H&M. They said that if there wasn’t a link between monkey and black people in one’s mind, such thought of discrimination wouldn’t come up.
Even the boy’s mother Terry Mango said that the public have been just crying Wolf all the time and this event is only an unnecessary issue in the comment on Facebook. About her words, netizens thought this mother sold her son and even betrayed her race for money.
Nowadays, in an era of multiculturalism, any public behavior will be magnified; however, customers are always forgetful. Apart from being careful with every movement, it is of utmost importance that the spirit of human rights is deeply rooted and affects the conducts of enterprises.