I was appalled.
In case you don’t remember 8th grade history class, Manifest Destiny was coined by journalist John O’Sullivan, who advocated annexation of Oregon and Texas. Manifest Destiny came to be seen as the divine right that was granted to the people of the United States (the white people, that is) to claim the rest of the North American continent, at least from the Atlantic Ocean of the United States to the Pacific Ocean. Anything or anyone who stood in the way of Americans was to be dealt with in the the quickest most efficient way possible, usually death. The genocide of the Natives and the annexation of Mexican land was not seen as a problem. After all, America couldn’t be wrong, because GOD was on our side and wanted us to have everything.
So, somehow an American idiot designer named Mark McNairy thought “Manifest Destiny” would be a great catch phrase on a tee. And the Gap thought so as well, so they marketed it.
But some of us, who actually know our US history, said “hell no!” Natives and other activists across the country inundated the Gap’s social media outlets with negative comments.
He deleted it soon after (but not, of course, before some people captured the image), perhaps because he realized he was fanning the flames even more.
He later tweeted: “I AM SORRY FOR MY SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST COMMENT. IT HURT ME DEEPLY TO BE CALLED A RACIST AS THAT IS NOT ME. I REACTED WITHOUT THINKING.”
Well, Mark, you might not be a racist, but you certainly are CLUELESS, probably due to your privilege, lack of experience with people of color, a lack of knowledge of history and general insensitivity to anyone different from you. But I’m not here to school Mr. McNairy.
The Gap will do that. Today I got a tweet from them telling me they have decided to discontinue the offensive tee. I’m sure the change of heart has nothing to do with guilt, and everything to do with bad publicity. Whatever works.
I’m so glad to have been part of vocal attack on The racist “Manifest Destiny” tee.
Lesson #1: Silence gets you nothing. AGITATE!
Lesson #2: Know your history!