Do you find this offensive?

The Holiday season is upon us and knowing what to buy your nearest and dearest for Christmas / Hannukah / Eid / Kwanzaa can be like entering a minefield.

The New York Times has entered that minefield. It’s been branded ‘racist‘ for making some off-colour suggestions in publishing a gift supplement called ‘People of Color’.

Here are some of the guide’s suggestions: ‘The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends and Female Service Members’; ‘Wise Latina’ t-shirts – a reference to Hispanic Supreme Court Judge, Sonia Sotomayor; and a number of hair and make-up products designed for ‘kinky hair’.

The guide featured alongside other gift guide categories, ‘Frugal Travel,’ ‘Chic and Cheerful,’ and ‘Cosmetic Enhancements.’

So why the need for a racially segregated gift guide? Why not have a ‘Gifts for White Anglo-Saxon People’? The ‘what If’ blog asks : ‘If the New York Times had a gift guide for WASPS – would you be offended? If so – then should you be any less offended by this?’

Mediaite’s Glynnis MacNicol says this was “badly, terribly thought out, bordering on offensive.”

African culture blog, xoliquoricexo thinks the term ‘racist’ is too harsh – preferring the words ‘ill-researched’ and ‘patronizing’ instead.

So why categorise ‘people of colour’ as a separate group? Doesn’t this simply reinforce racial sterotyping? With Barak Obama in the White House – whatever happened to a post-racial America? Perhaps you think it’s a good idea?

28 Responses to “Do you find this offensive?”

  1. 1 Roberto
    December 11, 2009 at 11:54

    RE “” So why categorise ‘people of colour’ as a separate group? “”

    ———- Last I checked, the majority of POC prefer a separate classification. Thus we have large numbers of “culture” magazines, separate beauty contests, and so on.

    Pronounced differences and quirks used to be the subjects of comedic goldmines before political correctness became popular. The younger people tend to be less segregated and more blended.

    Also have the government tracking race which is a question on every job application, government form, or hospital admission, ect.

  2. 2 Kevin PE
    December 11, 2009 at 11:56

    What would we have them do? Remove the products from the shelves. Stop the manufacturing of “racial” products. Bah – The gift lines are promoted and indorsed by celebrities and business people from the same racial grouping as that being advertised and are targeted at their respective clientele base.
    This objection can only come from white self-beaters and serial apologists who I believe actually harbor deep racist thought, continually suppressed by guilt. Absolute nonsense; people should be proud of their identity and actively promote their uniqueness.

  3. 3 Kiwi
    December 11, 2009 at 11:57

    People use these segragations when it suits them, if a black man is fired for incompetance the employer is racist. Obama is the 1st black (1/2 black) president, surly it doesnt matter what colour he is? Israel jusitfies its wars and building expansion because the people they are stealing from aren’t Jewish. Woman want to be considered equal to men, yet you can’t hit a woman (just an example)..

    The point is, you can’t deny the differences in people, but you either acknowledge them or disregard them. You cant use them to define yourself, then ‘play the race card’ when sombody else does. Aslong as they aren’t colluding with racial steryotypes I dont think it should be considered racist. In that sense its a bit of a non-story

  4. 4 Nigel
    December 11, 2009 at 12:07

    Ask the black intellectuals who are mad with Tiger for not having a black mistress!

  5. 6 Josiah Soap
    December 11, 2009 at 12:17

    More politically correct rubbish.

    Its only been branded racist or in poor taste because some minority (or more likely some ultra leftie who champions such causes) has complained or has been “offended.” These gifts are not in poor taste in any way and they are not patronising. On one hand we are told to be colour blind and then on the other hand we are told to notice minorities and give then special treatment or favours when it benefits them. But it is always fine to criticise whites and Christians in any way you want.

    Haven’t we got anything better to do that look for “racism’ “hate”, “homphobia” under every bed and find it everywhere, where it doesn’t exist.

    New York Times has “entered a minefield” because we let others plant those mines. When is someone going to stand up to these politically correct lefties who find offense everywhere and tell them we don’t give a hoot whether or not you’re offended, go boil your head!

  6. 7 patti in cape coral
    December 11, 2009 at 13:51

    No, I’m not offended, although I’m surprised they “went there.”

  7. 8 Josiah Soap
    December 11, 2009 at 15:52

    If there had been gifts for white anglo-saxons (WASPs) there would be certain people up in arms claiming discrimination, racism, hate and bigotry, because minorities were being discriminated against. If you advertise gifts for minority groups there are people up in arms claiming discrimination, racism, hate and bigotry because you are singling out minorities.

    You can’t win either way and this is exactly what a certain very vocal minority of PC cronies want. Fortunately the majority of us sane and fair people are at last starting to see through all this baloney.

    These false claims of discrimination are primarily perputrated by radical leftwing hippie types who infected our campuses and society during the 60s and early 70s. Thankfully most of these people are retiring/dying and maybe there will be some reversion to sanity and fair mindness.

  8. 9 gary
    December 11, 2009 at 16:16

    Categorization is probably essential to most marketing efforts. Folks have different skin tone, different food preferences, clothes and music, etc. Why shouldn’t these differences be mentioned? What I do find most offensive about the entire gift-giving season is its emphasis on dollar equivalents rather than upon value. I mean, why wouldn’t a person prefer to make a gift and give it with their own two hands, share a pleasant meal, say prayers as their customs dictate, hug and kiss and exchange words of love, and go to their homes with good cheer in their hearts? Sorry, all sounds too Dickensonian doesn’t it.

  9. 10 John in Salem
    December 11, 2009 at 16:20

    If you can’t recognize satire when you see it (and having a cartoon character on the cover says it pretty clearly) you have no business buying the New York Times.

  10. 11 steve
    December 11, 2009 at 17:19

    There’s a clothing line called FUBU. It means “For Us, By Us” referring to black people.

  11. 12 steve
    December 11, 2009 at 17:22


    This is the opinion piece on Tiger Woods’ apparently lack of “diversity” in his alleged affairs. I cannot believe this made it into a major news publication.

  12. December 11, 2009 at 17:27

    Nope, it’s not offensive if you ask me…

  13. 14 patti in cape coral
    December 11, 2009 at 17:32

    Wait a minute… my niece has the typical “kinky” hair that african-americans have. My mom has straight “indian” type hair. I have wavy/curly hair. The products I use don’t work well on my niece’s or mom’s hair and vice versa, so labeling products for kinky hair or “ethnic” hair is actually very helpful. So long as the advertising isn’t suggesting there is something bad, wrong, or inferior about kinky hair, who cares? I don’t think different is the problem, just when you start insinuating that different is bad.

  14. 15 steve
    December 11, 2009 at 18:09

    @ Patti

    I sure wish my hair were straight. Obviously people have problems with this kind of hair if they make products that deal with it. I would personally rather see it be labelled as “Jewfro”

    • 16 patti in cape coral
      December 11, 2009 at 18:48

      LOL! Most people I know with kinky hair would prefer straight hair, yet my mother has permed her hair her whole life because she hates her straight hair. Since I live in Florida, the capital of frizz, I have given up on straightening my hair. My advice is just accept it and embrace that Jewfro!

  15. 17 archibald
    December 11, 2009 at 19:03

    Wait, you mean that there are other races and they have their own preferences and culture which do not subscribe to the imposed white stereotypes????!!!!!!!!!
    This kind of pc rubbish is what truly hinders race relations.

  16. December 11, 2009 at 19:32

    The statement that “Somali fashion, do-it-yourself henna kits, children’s books that draw inspiration from the lives of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor: are gifts created for and by people of color” is the problem. Why would these items not be of interest to European American children or their parents. I believe that the term Racist is a cover up term for White Supremacist and it is used to spin the problem as if it were an issue applied to all races, when it is not. European Americans are in denial of the fact that they feel superior to African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans etc. Why wouldn’t all items regardless of the creator’s color be presented to the general public. Why does the Mocha Manual to Military Life need to particularly address African American and Latina women’s experience in navigating military life. Why does the term Kinky seem to be implying that no European Americans have tightly twisted or curled hair. What the New York Times is presenting is the same issue addressing America’s need for a separate Black History month, the answer is that non-white Americans need to be included fully and truthfully in the history books and in advertisement to the public as well. Whites need to accept the fact they are European Americans and that being an America is about having ancestral backgrounds from every continent in the world. Whites and their obsession with racial inbreeding and segregated housing and life styles are the bases for most of the social ills in America today.

  17. 19 Tom K in Mpls
    December 11, 2009 at 19:39

    Funny, all I see of this is the way these people are trying to get people to spend money, mass consumption. Personally, I don’t look any further. I expect to once again spend less than $50 on seasonal celebrations. Embrace the spirit, not the junk.

  18. 20 claudine
    December 12, 2009 at 01:54

    If people want to find offence in something they will always find it.

    I think there are more important things to worry about than that.

  19. 21 T
    December 12, 2009 at 06:29

    Why won’t “racial” catagories stop? Because corporations are making too much money.

    Why should we have a “white product line’? Because any corporation that tried would be laughed out of the market.

  20. 22 Emmanuel Olupot
    December 12, 2009 at 12:13

    Oh no! Hitherto colour has not denied me opportunities. Its only one misconception. try another point of view.

  21. 23 ottilie
    December 13, 2009 at 20:28

    i found the designation of this group of gifts as intended for ‘people of color’ to be typical NYT-style underhanded rascism (read between the lines: these people are different than you and me…)

  22. 24 paul
    December 13, 2009 at 22:35

    Yes i’m offended that they think white people should buy different presents from everyone else. Once again the white minority are singled out.

  23. 25 kamalanii
    December 14, 2009 at 17:00

    No, is the best time of the year!!! MERRY CHRITSMAS FROM HAWAII!!

  24. 26 Tom K in Mpls
    December 14, 2009 at 18:45

    Another thought. The word, discrimination, is a much maligned word. It is the core of all culture and intellectual pursuits. But many choose to associate it with racism. People just love to get indignant. It gives them excitement and focus. This focus perpetuates racism. People cannot avoid making choices. Some of these will follow race lines. This is bad only if it used to suppress others, this case is simply a focused marketing plan that could be of use to anyone.

    If you choose to get indignant, I hope you enjoy your buzz, but please don’t put it in other peoples faces. As they say, go sleep it off.

  25. 27 margaret
    December 15, 2009 at 03:31

    NOPE. No problem with it at all. There is ample precedent for gender/racial/religious anything you can name publications and products of all kinds out there–at least in the USA. What disturbs me is the “issue” that people are making of it.

  26. 28 Prof. brian bevan
    December 15, 2009 at 17:31

    No problem for me!
    But are you not aware of a situation that has been with us since man and women first arrived.
    People who have black hair want another colour!
    .. .. .. curly .. .. straight!
    .. .. .. straight .. .. curly!
    .. .. are black want to be white!
    Plus many other case that I am sure you know.
    Not many white people want to be black. but they will suffer pain to get a tan.
    What a crazy mixed up lot we are! aren’t we?

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