How the 2016 GAP Kids COULD Be Deemed Offensive

Well well well! Here we go again with another racial controversy. Are we becoming too sensitive or are we calling things out for the way they really are, but people don't want to believe it and wish we would just let it go already?

Recently, the Ellen DeGeneres ad for Gap Kids was released and got a lot of backlash for the fact that the image, even though the ad campaign states that girls can do and be whatever they want to be, depicts a White girl leaning and resting her arm on top of the head of a Black girl.

A lot of people deem this a problem because they feel that the Black girl is being belittled down to "just a piece of furniture" to be leaned on. Take a look at the photo as you read below and tell me what you see.

I personally am not offended by what I see, but I can see where people could have a problem with what they see and here's why:

The Overall Lack of Diversity

For this to be an ad targeting girls and telling them that they can do anything, you would think that they would be trying to reach out to a more diverse group of girls by including more than just 3 White girls and a Black girl to ad a slight touch of diversity.

The Fact That a White Girl is Standing over a Black girl with her Arm Resting on her Head

This is the MAIN argument here. This is what made Twitter go into a huge uproar. Considering the image that has been casted subliminally when it comes to people that aren't White, especially African American people in this country, they'd think that they would be a little more aware of what they were doing.

A lot of people over social media had a problem with this because it looks as if the picture, though the campaign is for girls being able to be whatever they want to be, depicts the ONLY Black girl in the photo being condensed to an arm on top of her head "holding her down" while a girl is standing over her and the other girls in the photo are freely doing whatever they want.

Pause in the list! Now, while everyone was in an uproar about how subliminally and to some people, obviously racist this ad was, NFL player Matthew Cherry went to Twitter and posted the photo above, but he also share this photo next to it.

This is the 2015 ad from Gap Kids. Notice anything different? Obviously, right? In this photo, you can see that here, there is a Black girl resting her arm on top of the head of a White girl. Hmmm... well... Cherry went on to say "Does the @GapKids pic on the right okay? Let's debate"

Well, when you throw this photo into the mix, let's continue on how yet again, the ad COULD be deemed offensive.

Body Language is Everything

As you can see in the older ad, even though the places have been traded and there's a Black girl on top instead of a White girl, the White girl yet stands there with a whole bunch of confidence and doesn't let someone leaning on her head "hold her down", so to speak. In the recent ad, look at the body language of the girl. It's not a strong pose whatsoever. It's a very timid pose. Her facial expression conveys the look of defeat.

Those are just a few of the reasons people may have found this photo from the ad filled with racist undertones. Some people feel like there are much bigger issues in the country/world to deal with while others are concerned with the overall effect on the psyche of the Black girl in America when it comes to their portrayal in social media and advertising.

I can definitely see where the backlash is coming from because too many times before in advertising, Black or any person of color, for that matter, have been put in compromising positions in commercials and print ads that have done nothing but get published to the world what is thought of us in many stereotypical and demeaning ways. As impressionable as young girls are today with access to the Internet and social media, we don't want those subliminal messages being seeped into the minds of our nieces, cousins, sisters, and daughters.  At the same time, once you consider the ad from the year before where the tables are turned, is it really a big deal? Do you think Gap would do that on purpose when they did the opposite thing the year before without incident? I don't know. I can go both ways about it.

Gap (represented by Debbie Felix) has since released a statement to the Daily Mail Online saying: 
"As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique."

With all of this being said... SOUND OFF! What do YOU think of the photo? Even though there were plenty of other photos taken where the young Black girl isn't portrayed the way people think she's being portrayed in the ad, I just wonder why they didn't just use that one to begin with.