When you think of Africa, what do you think of? Unless you’re an intellectually dishonest left-wing douchebag, you think of safaris, lions, etc. And unless you’re a really guilty left-wing douchebag, you probably don’t feel bad about it no matter how much you’re told that those thoughts are racist stereotypes held by stupid white people who don’t bother to understand how different and varied the countries of Africa actually are.
Because I’m sure you really give a damn, don’t you?
So Delta, after the USA beat Ghana in their World Cup match posted a tweet that congratulated Team USA and included two pictures. One of a giraffe, and another of the Statue of Liberty.
Offenderati, start your engines!
The reaction was swift, immediate, and decisive. Cries of racism and outrage flew forth with speed usually reserved for the Red Bull Air Race. It was the perfect storm of pompous outrage, white privilege accusations, and an opportunity to bemoan the ignorance of western culture. It was a perfect chowder of all the crap soup we’ve been served in the past few months every single time someone says something that makes someone unhappy.
I always ask myself who actually gets offended by stuff like this. For ages and ages, the nations of Africa have made their money on tourism from Western people looking for the Safari experience. The fastest-growing industry in Tanzania, for example, is tourism and, chances are, if you’re going to Tanzania, it’s to either photograph exotic animals, or shoot them dead.
That’s just reality.
But beyond that, is it really such a bad thing to assume that giraffes live in a country in Africa? More to the point, is it such a ridiculous presumption that the mere expression of it is cause for, essentially, a modern-day letter writing campaign? Who, in the nation of Ghana, was personally harmed by a tweet, and in what way? In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of the outrage came from the “check your privilege” crowd who who the sane world has come to know, hate, and wish smited from the planet. Here are two of the featured outrage tweets from Fox News…
Oh yeah. Saying giraffes live in Africa is totally racist you moron.
Delta’s apology (yes, they made an official apology over this) was as groveling and silly as you would expect a corporate apology to be.
After removing the “offending” tweet, Delta groveled…
Okay A, you’re sorry for your choice of photo? Why? Because some internet douches on Twitter got butthurt over it? And B, best of luck to all teams? Why? Do you have to now root for Ghana because you misused a giraffe!?
I mean, I know this is silly, but that’s kind of the point: it’s silly. At some point I’d really love for a company to grow a pair of balls and say “You know what? I don’t give a damn if you’re offended. We can’t make everyone happy all the time, so be an adult and realize things are gonna be said that will make you unhappy and if you’re not happy it’s your problem, not ours.”
I know. Dream on, right?
I could live with the apology a little more if Delta hadn’t double-groveled by wishing “all teams” good luck when they clearly don’t mean it (as evidenced by the fact that the whole thing started when the US airline was congratulating the US soccer team on their win), but Delta didn’t even have the courage to not try and endear themselves to the same people who, as of the moment that tweet was made, will never not see them as racist and will perpetually be trying to extract apologies and penance from Delta.
Meanwhile, in the real world, reasonable adults understand that this was neither racist, nor offensive, and the overreaction by the aggrieved is the only thing more offensive than the stupid apology for using a universally understood symbol for a continent.
By the standards of the offenderati, I should be very angry that they chose the Statue of Liberty. After all, there’s no Statue of Liberty in California, so it’s stereotypical of the US, right? Damn, Delta, you can’t get anything right! The main thrust of the criticism of the picture choice was that they were using an animal to represent a country’s people. That’s all well and good, so let’s carry that over. The US picture used a statue. Are we all made of copper and blue-green now?
And yes, before you get your Righteous Anger(tm) brand underwear in a bunch, I understand that the situations aren’t exactly parallel, but at the same time, I’m just tired of people seeking reasons to be offended, and I’m tired of the insincere groveling apologies that universally follow that offense. The apologizing party doesn’t really mean it, the apology target doesn’t really accept it, and the whole thing looks ridiculous to normal people looking in from the outside, so maybe… Just maybe we can put a stop to this stupid charade we keep engaging in time and time again…
Whaddya say… Maybe we can start being adults, now?
Header Image via Enjosmith on Flickr