On April 29, Old Navy posted this ad via Twitter to promote its latest sale:
Oh, happy day! Our #ThankYouEvent is finally here. Take 30% off your entire purchase: https://t.co/nGQ9Pji1pN pic.twitter.com/vq4mIczm6A — Old Navy Official (@OldNavy) April 29, 2016
We all love a good sale, right? Wrong. What could Old Navy do to anger the hive of trolls that have amassed its Twitter page as of late? The fact Old Navy is promoting interracial relationships, mixed marriages and the fan-favorite word that has been thrown around by many ignorant tweets, miscegenation.
If you're like me, you're probably wondering what the hell this word means and how it could be used to assist in insulting this picturesque portrait of a family enjoying their Old Navy duds. Well, according to Google, miscegenation is "the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types." Blatant ignorance of what the picture promotes, the races of the specific genders portrayed and who Old Navy is catering to with this ad were some of many conversations this ad has sparked since it went viral.
Old Navy is traditionally known as your go-to family store, and it has always been revered as one of the few stores still keeping the "family" concept in mind with its merchandise, ads and products. It's one of few existing chains today that uses the family model as its prime strategic plan for promoting their clothes. When you think Old Navy, you probably can dig up a few family-friendly essential garbs like Fourth of July shirts or funky Christmas socks from your wardrobe.
The ad promotes a different type of family model that not only veers from what we're used to seeing on the commercial market, but also gives an authentic representation of what the "American family" looks like today. Interracial families have been on the rise in a society that has been steadily progressive in social justice and activism for all genders and sexual preferences. For many people, this is a step forward, but for others, it's not a large enough step.
One of the many issues taken with the photo is it represents the traditional view of interracial relationships that does still exist, but is not the standard for multiracial families and children. Many interracial relationships are found beyond the black-white mold.
While the photo is of an interracial family, it's one that perhaps we are all too familiar with seeing. Why not have a representation of a different culture for the models? Indian, Asian and Hispanic are just many of the few cultures that could be represented in an ad to promote diversity and interracial marriage.
For many of the trolls, the picture of a white man with a black woman is what's sparking their fury. Racial tensions have been on the rise, and this further perpetuates the ongoing conversation that we are not living in a post-racial America.
The small beams of light we do see are in the plenty of people who've found humor in the bigotry of the many people who threatened to protest and boycott Old Navy for promoting interracial families. There were plenty of Twitter users who sought to educate those with negative views of the ad on why interracial marriage — and the ad itself — should definitely not be viewed as "disturbing" or "harmful."
Many consumers thanked Old Navy for promoting diversity and interracial families, and they encouraged further use of this family model in its future campaigns. It's quite a beautiful picture of a family, and it's sad so many racist trolls were noticed in light of it. The ongoing conversations about mixed families and interracial relationships continues to grow in an era when people like Donald Trump want to "Make America Great Again," all while making racist remarks.
Old Navy has yet to make a statement, but as the tweets continue to pour in, it will be interesting to see where the company and companies like it change in their promotional ads going forward. Hats off to Old Navy for being progressive in its portrait of the family dynamic.