Target’s Latest Misstep

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Members of the African American community are crying foul after a black woman, who was looking for a Father’s Day card at Target that her family could identify with, found her only choice to be a card featuring a black couple kissing behind the words “Baby Daddy.”

The New York Times is reporting on the outrage which began when 35 year-old Takeisha Saunders, a biomedical engineering technician and mother of a toddler, was looking for a special card for her husband. The only card she could find was the “Baby Daddy” card, which is a phrase used to describe a father who is not a husband or partner of a child’s mother.

Inside the card was the sentiment: “You’re a wonderful husband and father — and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend, and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”

“My reaction was just, ‘This is my only option?’” Saunders told the NYT. “I don’t view him as my ‘baby daddy.’ I would not call him that.”

Saunders went straight to social media to voice her opinion about the card, which was designed by American Greetings. “You CANNOT be serious Target!!!! Really!!!?!!!!?” she posted on Facebook along with an image of the card. “This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!!”

How unfortunate that the only card she could find was one that promoted a stereotype!

Saunders post began to spread across social media and when Target caught sight of the “concerning” conversation the card was sparking on social media, the company decided to pull the card off the shelves of about 900 stores in the United States.

“We really do appreciate the opportunity to get feedback from our guests, and it’s never our intent to offend customers,” company spokesman, Joshua Thomas, told the NYT.

American Greetings followed soon after, and instructed other retailers to remove the card from other stores across the country.

The company sent out a tweet apologizing for the card: “This card was intended to be a playful husband card, but we have notified the product team that it missed the mark. Please accept our sincerest apologies and know we will do better in the future.”

Many people commented that the product team should be fired over the card, but not even Saunders would go that far. In fact, she didn’t even intend to force the card off the shelves. Her intention was to draw attention to the fact that there’s a problem with diversity when it comes to greeting cards.

“The real issue is inclusion,” she said. “I didn’t call for them to pull the card. I just wanted options.”

Hopefully, this will be a lesson learned by companies such as Target that pay too much attention to pleasing tiny fractions of the population, such as the 0.6 percent of Americans who identify as transgender, while treating the rest of us with disdain.

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