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How People Like This Hold Back All of Humanity
By John Cappello
So, this happened in the news again. Some white person made a crack or offensive remark about a community, race, or group of people again. Following in the footsteps of Justine Sacco and Stan Collymore comes Miroslava Duma, editor of Buro 24/7, a Russian fashion magazine, who published an article featuring the above photo in question on Dasha Zhukova, editor-in-chief of Garage Magazine, another Russian magazine.
The logic has left most people offended and scratching their heads. A few questions come to my mind. For one, why did you think that was a good idea? I mean, even if you are an ignorant racist Russian woman, why in the name of all contexts to the word 'reason' would you think publishing that photograph would be a good idea? Second, what about the photographer, why did he take that photo? Or Dasha, why did she agree to pose in such a hapless photo? Why did three assumedly free-thinking individuals not ever once think that this could be offensive to, reasonably, a LARGE group of people?
This raises not only questions about the prevalence and acceptance of racism in countries the world over, but also the intelligence of fashion magazine editors. There was a lot of twitter backlash, whatever good that does. Public shaming over something that, in this modern day and age, seems like a no-brainer. Whether one is racist or not is their own choice, but like a religion, please don't put it in other people's faces.
And the photo is ugly, too.
Dasha Zhukova has issued the following public apology:
"The chair pictured in the Buro 24/7 website interview is an artwork created by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, one of a series that reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics. Its use in this photo shoot is regrettable as it took the artwork totally out of its intended context, particularly given that Buro 24/7′s release of the article coincided with the important celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context. I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologize to those offended by my participation in this shoot.
Garage Magazine has a strong track record of promoting diversity and racial and gender equality in the worlds of art and fashion, and will continue in our mission to stir positive debate on these and other issues."
And Miroslava Duma has issued this following public apology:
"Dear all, Buro 24/7 and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt. It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention. We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone's rights. We love, respect and look up to people regardless of their race, gender or social status. The chair in the photo should only be seen as a piece of art which was created by British Pop-Artist Allen Jones, and not as any form of racial discrimination. In our eyes everyone is equal. And we love everybody."
To me, they're the same note. Both editors cover their butts by stating in a matter of fact manner that they are not racist, believe in equality, and that it is the OFFICIAL stance of their respected organizations to love and cherish everybody, also equally.
If you believed in that in the first place, then why did you publish the photos?
Furthermore, why did you take the photo?
Further-furthermore, why did you even think the photo?
Did anyone of the three+ people think, at one point, that this could be going the wrong way?
So now we come to the grit of my op-ed, which is how instances like this fit into the public debate over the real issues. People like Miroslava Duma or Dasha Zhukova are an example of what I call serial apologists. They proudly display their own desires to be offensive, and apologize when the expected backlash comes their way. Is it a doubt in my mind that instances like this are done intentionally to create international buzz and draw attention to the magazine's being published? No. Do instances like this just add more problems to the public debate instead of offering solutions? Yes.
Do these two individuals really care about what the offended individuals think? Probably not, because imagery like this that seems so obviously made to provoke is still being published without concern. Is it such a stretch of thinking for one person, before publishing, to think, "hmm, why this could be considered racist"?
These people don't care. They want the publicity. They want the attention, even if it's bad. They want the press. Personal sensibilities mean nothing, and this kind of thinking holds all of humanity back.
This is my two cents. Have a great day.
#GarageMagazine #RussianFashionMagazine #WhiteWoman#BlackChair #Racism #Disgusting #Shocking