There's a LOT of racists out there, oh and I mean LOTS, I'm not blind to it, I see it, all through two eyes of course. When I first saw the "coolest monkey in the jungle" picture on H&M, I was more upset that a black kid in a monkey hoodie was just automatically considered racist. How long will this association last? In my head, I don't see the connection, I just can't get my mind to link people of color with monkeys.
Throughout history, white people have tried their hardest to draw a connection between black people and animals, especially monkeys. This attempt at dehumanization, has persisted for centuries and I'm sure that racist tactics such as these will always exist. It's important to recognize when racism is happening, but it's also important to realize what MY own utopia would look like.
After seeing the white kid as the "survival expert" I realized yooooo this is pretty bad, there could have been hundreds of ways to avoid this problem, but maybe, just maybe... H&M is ahead of it's time, they've gifted us with a GREAT social experiment.
The association of monkeys and African Americans, or Africans on any continent for that matter (we're all African by the way, but that's for another day) isn't anything new. H&M is a Swedish fashion company, Europe, which of course includes Sweden, is where all this monkey business first began.
UCLA - The notion of blacks as apelike "began with the first European contact with Africans, there were illustrations of apes descending from the trees and having intercourse with African females. It was perhaps the most popular pictorial representation of people of African descent in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries."
Back to H&M's inadvertent social experiment... the year is 2018. Although "monkey" has been/is still being used to dehumanize black people... let's see what people REALLY think about the word. Let's see if it still makes people feel as if the little black kid is thought of as less, as primitive, as sub-human.
What do YOU believe, do you believe that the word "monkey" should always be so powerful, that it should always ignite rage like it has in the past? Do you believe that maybe one day we will reach a point in which "monkey" returns to the same level as "lion, tiger, bear, crocodile, etc.,"
Is it wrong to assume that H&M knowingly put my mans in the "coolest monkey" hoodie because he was black? The thought itself might be questioned... if the white kid was in the "coolest monkey" hoodie and the black kid had on the "survival expert" hoodie would anything change?
Would the thought to even switch the two be considered racist? Is the thought to never consider switching the two racist?
The voice in your head that reads this article to yourself... you can hear it, but it makes no sound. When you first saw the H&M picture, what did that voice say to you? Did it tell you it was racist, or did someone else tell you. You control that voice, but the voice can be influenced by so many things that surround us. What/Who do we allow to access this voice that is inside us?
My voice would NEVER tell me that there is a correlation between black people and monkeys, no matter what YOUR voice tells you. Like I said earlier, for centuries, some white people have tried to make a claim (based on complete ignorance) that black people and monkeys are closely related, I hear em talking, but I don't let it seep into that voice that I listen to most.
“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” - Malcom X
My mind is controlled by me, and in allusion to the Malcom X quote above, the media does all that it can to control how we think. Who controls how you think?
My utopia is a world in which if a little kid wants to be the "coolest monkey in the jungle" he can be that without participating in the racist rhetoric and association. If the world really is a jungle, I've never met any survival experts, but I can assure you that I've met some pretty cool monkeys.
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