They tried it. In epic fashion (pun intended), Gap clothing has failed to present their children’s clothing line in a way that is diverse, inclusive, and smart. The gorgeous little black girl, Lucy, was there for… what? So that Gap could meet their “coloreds in our clothes” quota? Firstly, the print ad has baby girl in a subservient position, with one of the other girls using her as basically a prop. The commercial is even worse. Watch below:

Notice anything? Lucy never says a word. She is never addressed and there is no cutaway to what she does best. When the statistic came out that black folks have trillion dollar buying power in this country, did companies like Gap think that just haphazardly throwing black people in their ads would make us buy their ware? If the comments under this Youtube video are any indication, nobody is falling for this ridiculously thoughtless effort:

“This video LOOKS off. I don’t understand why the person who edited/directed this ad didn’t see how odd it looked to have a child not speaking at all through this clip. I’m not going to make it about race/colour but this video is off. Why add the little black girl in the clip if she’s not going to speak. She looks like a damn prop.” –Moni Que W

“Ellen…really? No alarm went off? You should recognize the pink elephant in the room as you, too, are supposedly a representative of one who has chosen to use your voice to point out the obvious and respect differences. Shame on Gap and this perky, pukey example of “empowerment.” I’ll teach my little girl otherwise.” -SM Minima

“Not one word out of the little girl in pink. And yet, so many people don’t see the problem with this. The kid is literally the “token” minority for this ad. The only reason she’s there is to prove to the white audiences that “we aren’t racist”. But black people know what’s going on here, we’ve seen it before, time and time again. This is nothing new. This ad is the definition of CASUAL Racism.” -Alyssa M

And the comments go on and on like this. I would say that this is a moment for Black Twitter to drag them, but we have to do more than just spout our outrage in moments like these. While Gap didn’t give the lovely Lucy an opportunity to be heard and celebrated equally with the other girls, we can speak up with our dollars. We can shout from the mountaintops how much we adore all of the Lucys around the world whose magic is constantly being stymied. This isn’t just about a corporation who isn’t culturally competent. It’s about the pervasive culture that says black girls in particular don’t matter enough to be protected, heard, uplifted, or celebrated. It is the notion that we will readily and consistently accept this without protest. That we’ll put clothing labels above self love. That we’ll leave Lucy to fend for herself. Through this ad campaign, the message heard around the world by little black girls is that all of our struggle this far has put them in the room… they just can’t say anything.

Maaaaaan Lucy, I’ve got your back, baby girl! Like a black mama coming up to the school to ride on that teacher who is failing or inappropriately punishing her child for no good reason, my head scarf and vast vocabulary are readied at the hip. And for those who would call themselves allies, now is your time to stand up for Lucy as well, and call Gap out by not spending your dollars there. Because we all want to be heard. And Lucy doesn’t deserve this.

What are your thoughts on Gap’s ad campaign? Will you continue shopping at Gap? Let us know in the comments!

Photo: tumblr
Photo: tumblr

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