Not to paint with broad, stereotypical, generalizing strokes, but the fashion industry has a big race problem. Besides having a truly embarrassing lack of diversity in magazines and on runways, various fashion industry professionals continuously make racist comments or post pictures to their social media accounts that anyone with a modicum of common sense would realize was a bad idea. In the most recent case of total lack of decorum: Reformation‘s Elana Rosenblatt instagrammed a photo of herself and a friend eating fried chicken and captioned it “Happy black history month!!” Glad she got that extra exclamation point in there so we knew how excited she was.
Apparently, when commenters revolted, Rosenblatt initially left the photo up and removed the caption. We got this image by way of a tipster who snagged a screen cap before Rosenblatt eventually took it down (although with limited success on her Facebook page). Too bad the Internet is forever.
Sometimes race/religion/culture jokes are funny. This isn’t one of them. Earlier this month, Lena Dunham made a joke about Jewish women that fell totally flat, and in that case, her joke did more to perpetuate negative stereotypes than to be in any way funny. The same thing is happening here–this white woman is gleefully (two exclamation points!) celebrating stereotypes about black people that reduce an entire race into a one-dimensional, insulting conception. But Rosenblatt doesn’t care about that one bit–white privilege is knowing that you can be nuanced (it was a racist joke but I’m not a racist!) but that people of color won’t be afforded the same complexities.
Cheers to another Black History Month celebrated with significant cultural ignorance and racism!
[UPDATE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Ms. Rosenblatt as Reformations CEO. A representative contacted The Gloss to inform us of the following “Elana was at a party at an African American friend’s house to celebrate Black History Month and the caption was written to reflect that. The post was removed as soon as Elana realized it might cause offense.”]
Photos: Instagram, Facebook