What I would like to know is who thought this was a good idea? In this year’s NYT’s Annual Holiday Gift Guide there is a section devoted to “Of Color | Stylish Gifts.” From the intro to the section.
Somali fashion, do-it-yourself henna kits, children’s books that draw inspiration from the lives of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor: it’s not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season. Here are some possibilities.
I had to read that twice. Because really New York Times? NYTPicker, who was the first to note the addition thinks there’s no other word for it but racist. I’m not sure I’m willing to go that far. But badly, terribly thought out, bordering on offensive, absolutely. I suspect what actually happened was somewhere in the editing process someone thought they should figure out some way to work Barack Obama (he’s done well for them before!) into the mix and then extended it to Sotomayor and voila, suddenly you have a gift guide that weirdly looks like it’s out of some magazine from the 1960’s except this might not have been kosher in the 60’s (for very different reasons). So mainly just of-puttingly weird. Mostly, I am utterly amazed it made it past the editing process and am baffled why anyone felt the need to separate these gifts from the more generalized categories into which all these items fit, to one based on skin color.
In case you’re interested, some of the “possibilities” include ‘The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends and Female Service Members’; ‘Wise Latina’ t-shirts; and a number of hair and make-up products designed for people of color.
Meanwhile, if they are going to include sections devoted to particular segments of the population why only highlight one based on race? (Why highlight it at all, really … there are plenty of things listed here people who are not black or Latino may want, but anyway.) Why not have a section for the gay people in your life? Or Jewish? The answer, of course, is because it is insulting and offensive and so utterly at odds with how the NYT conducts itself in all other areas of the paper. I emailed the NYT to ask for an explanation behind their thinking, and will update accordingly.
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