Written by Penelope Farthing
The controversial Ancestry.com ad featuring a black woman and white man in love in the time of slavery days has been removed and an apology issued, another in a series of occurrences when black people mobilize for things that are largely unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The outrage harkens back to when Target had that “Happy Father’s Day to my baby daddy” card a year or two ago, which, though the sentiment applies to over 70% of black fathers, the truth was too unsavory, so it just had to go.
Why is it that things happen so quickly when it just…doesn’t matter? Companies are forced to apologize over nonsense. Meanwhile, men like Dr. Dre can abuse and blackball Dee Barnes for literal decades and we still line up to buy his dumb headphones and music. Black male YouTube commentators who shall remain nameless can blame any and everything on black women, calling us the very scourge of the earth, and there will be other black women in the comments cosigning them. Meanwhile, there is no large movement to eradicate their platform. Mind you, those guys have been around since YouTube’s inception all those years ago, but it sure has taken longer than a day for their platforms to be dismantled. Black women can be the butt of every colorist joke in the whole universe, but not one comedian will ever have to apologize. Black men can carry out any number of horrors on little girls and boys, but the community will be by his side, backing him up and making up excuses for “my baby who didn’t do nothing” when he goes to jail or worse.
Since the ad’s release, several articles have been penned demanding the site explain and account for their ad. Yet that righteous indignation fades away into the ether when we ask each other to explain and account for all the ills in the black community, like the high rape statistics, the astounding domestic violence statistics, the HIV infection rates rivaling those in third world nations.
Why is the same energy not being kept, as the kids say?
It’s funny how this company reacted a lot quicker to resolve their fictional, set-in-the-1800s non-issue, compared to the black people working to solve the many 2019 issues running rampant right here and right now.
In a culture where the exception is often used as justification (such as “black people can have blue eyes too!” in defense of when black people wear colored-contacts), why not take this exception featured in the ad for what it is, the exception?
It’ll only be a matter of time before another company produces something distasteful in the eyes of black people, and we’ll have a repeat of this very same scenario. And once more, the selective, faux outrage will rear its head, while other, actual atrocities happen in the real world. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t be stopping any time soon.
And to Ancestry.com advertising department, if you read this, for future ads, this backlash wouldn’t have happened if the man was black and the woman was white. Bear that in mind for future campaigns.