A lot of the backlash in response to Gucci’s racially insensitive balaclava sweater blames the racism on black consumers who continue to purchase Gucci products. We must stop blaming each other every time a black person is understandably offended by racism.
Folks often point fingers at black consumers who purchase from these companies before the company committed said racially insensitive act. Some refuse to focus on the insensitive act itself or how the company addresses the situation without immediately rushing to victim blame the folks who purchased from the company. Yes, the balaclava invoked racist memorabilia from our recent past. However, before we blame each other, let’s be honest. Even if you don’t buy Gucci products, if you’re American you either shop in, purchase from, get educated in, dine in, sleep in, work in, and/or invest in companies, restaurants, manufacturers, hotels, malls, construction companies, builders, mechanics, auto makers, schools, grocery stores, SOCIAL MEDIA platforms, airlines, airports, whole local, state, and federal government entities, etc who are racist or have committed a racially insensitive act. The person wearing the Gucci belt is no different from the person who just bought an air fryer from Walmart- the same Walmart who donated to Cindy Hyde Smith’s campaign after romanticizing lynchings. No different from folks who drink whiskey despite their history of blatant minstrelsy in their ads.
It’s perfectly fine to hold Gucci accountable but what’s more important is the company’s intent and how Gucci responds to it. If you’re familiar with fashion at all Gucci was one of the first luxury retail brands that actually prioritized diversity and revised its ad campaigns to reflect that. So this is the time to hold them accountable and test their commitment to diversity. While this balaclava is racially insensitive and unfortunate, we need to stop rushing to self-righteously blame others when we likely buy from, eat from, drink from racist institutions just the same.