I have to give a shout-out to Gap and the way they rolled in response to racist graffiti on one of their ads. Also, I’m giving a Shout-out to use of the internet and social media for creating the right buzz for supporting diversity and inclusion.
Racist graffiti was scrawled on a Gap Ad on the walls of a New York subway station that featured the Sikh actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia, and model and fimmaker Quentin Jones, wearing Gap clothing. Someone wrote the words “make bombs” over the words “Make Love,”and also wrote Please Stop Driving Taxis.
When senior editor of “The Islamic monthly” and MuslimGuy.com, Arsalan Iftikar received a photo of it, he posted the picture to over 40,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.
The ad was part of the holiday Make Love campaign by Gap using models from diverse backgrounds, including Cyndi Lauper and Toni Bennett, wearing Gap clothes
Other people, including best selling author and commentator Reza Aslan, (who posted the picture to over 55,000 followers) were equally offended and outraged and the graffiti laced ad went viral.
When the photos reached Gap, the company issued a statement that said
“Gap is a brand that celebrates inclusion and diversity. Our customers and employees are of many different ethnicities, faiths, and lifestyles and we support them all.”
I’m happy to say that Gap also took action in response and created a new Twitter background featuring the picture Ahluwalia, to show support.
Although you may not know Ahluwalia by name, he has been awarded the title of “Best Dressed Man” on numerous lists in the US and other parts of the world, plus he has acted in several films including Inside Man with Denzel Washington.
To those of you who really think or want to believe we are living in a post-racial society- “I think not” And actually we don’t need post-racial society, we need a post-racist society.
Arsalan Iftikhar said As the year 2014 inches closer to us, I want to live in an America where a fashion model can be a handsome, bearded brown dude in a turban who is considered as beautiful as a busty blonde-haired white girl in see-through lingerie.
You can join the millions of people including tweeters and facebookers in India, Muslims, Sikhs and others who support equality, and post a Thank-you Gap on Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook.
By showing support to people and organizations when they support and promote diversity and inclusion, they’ll keep promoting diversity and inclusion.