Gucci Apologizes for Blackface Sweaters
Recently several companies have been getting in trouble for releasing products that are racially insensitive.
It seems like just yesterday fashion label Prada came under fire for their line of Pradamalia which included a set of figurines that were supposed to be fun creatures but actually held all of the makings of the blackface archetype.
Now, the latest brand to be in hot water for racial misconduct is Gucci. The company recently released an $890 sweater. The top had a turtle neck that could be pulled up to cover the bottom of the wearer’s face.
The part that covers the face has a very eery blackface design.
As soon as the sweater was released, people on the internet were up in arms.
“One day I am going to deliver a prolific dissertation on how it feels to live in a continuous cycle of disrespect as a black man,” author Michael Bonner tweeted. “Gigantic brands like @gucci create offensive “fashion”, quickly apologize, and then state, ‘We did not know.” I don’t care. This is unacceptable.”
On Wednesday, Gucci released a statement on its social media accounts, apologizing for the item.
“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the fashion house tweeted. “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. “
The caption was connected to an image that continued the statement.
“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond,” the statement finished.
Blackface in the United States
Recently, the United States has been in the midst of several blackface controversies, including the most recent incident where photos of Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, surfaced that alluded to him wearing blackface in the past.
The photos are from a 1984 yearbook at Eastern Virginia Medical School. On Northam’s page, there are pictures of the govornor posing in a school photo, in front of a car and in otherwise normal situations. The problem is that on that same page is a picture of someone in black face and another person wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
After the yearbook photos were made public, Northam took to Twitter to apologize via video.
“My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor,” he tweeted. “I believe you deserve to hear directly from me.
Though he apologized, some people are still calling for the govonor to resign.
The problem is that the next person in line for the job, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, has recently been accused of sexual assault.
The next in line after him, Attorney General Mark Herring, admitted on Wednesday that he also wore blackface at a college party in 1980 when he was 19.
” It sounds ridiculous even now writing it,” Herring wrote in a statement. “But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”
He went on to say that he was unaware of the impact of black face at the time.
“That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others,” he wrote. “It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.”
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