This is an age of being woke, and social justice, and millions making a conscious and conscientious effort to just try and understand other people as individual humans while also respecting their cultural identity. These are all things that once fell under the umbrella of “political correctness,” and were mocked because of that. Really, it’s just all about being aware of one’s actions and not being a jerk, and not being a racist jerk.
That awareness extends to having a basic, working knowledge of what is, and isn’t racist. For example, most every conscious and semi-literate person knows that it’s extremely racist to compare people of African descent to monkeys, right? Well, apparently nobody at H&M’s U.K. corporate headquarters knew any of this. Last weekend, several individuals and groups, including most prominently an organization called Models of Diversity (whose purpose is self-explanatory) discovered this H&M product listing and called it out on Twitter.
— Models Of Diversity (@ModsOfDiversity) January 8, 2018
This is an ad for a “printed hooded top.” “Printed” means there are words on the “hooded top,” a.k.a. a hoodie. The words printed on that hoodie are “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” That’s not a phrase people use, but “monkey” is one racists use for African and African-American people. And H&M put it on a shirt, and put that shirt on the model you see there.
How, exactly, did this happen? H&M U.K. isn’t saying how, but they did respond swiftly to this hellish PR nightmare. Company spokesperson Anna Erickson released this statement on behalf of the clothing chain: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.”