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26-09-2012
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Dolce & Gabbana Racist Earring scandal


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A model wears the controverisial earrings on the catwalk at Dolce and Gabbana during Milan fashion week. Photograph: Rex Features Drawing inspiration from their native home of Sicily has been a long running theme for Dolce & Gabbana and their spring/summer collections have become known for vibrant, vintage-inspired prints and kitsch accessories. Last year they sent pasta and aubergine-shaped earrings down the runway, so it would only be fitting for them to match it with something equally as wacky this year. And what's wackier than a racist caricature of a black woman dangling from your earlobes? Aren't they adorable? Oh, and there's a dress to match too, so you can go for the full clueless colonial look if you want to.
The earrings are reminiscent of Blackamoor statues that can be found in Italy, but more recognisably to non-Italians, Aunt Jemima dolls. That's the same Aunt Jemima that, initially conceived as part of a minstrel show, became an image that romanticised slavery and plantation life. There's no denying they're offensive. But what's perhaps even more shocking is that no one highlighted this before the show. From the production to the fitting, was there really no one to point this out before they hit the catwalk?
Some might argue that they're harmless, even cute, but there's nothing cute about two white men selling minstrel earrings to a majority non-black audience. There wasn't a single black model in Dolce & Gabbana's show, and it's hard not to be appalled by the transparent exoticism in sending the only black faces down the runway in the form of earrings. Pandering to a long-gone era is hardly surprising in 2012, when people can't even take a photo of a baby without sticking a "vintage" sepia filter on top. Bygone eras and cultures are constantly drawn on by fashion designers to re-appropriate on a whim. But when you're explicitly pandering to such a shameful era of western racism and colonialism, it's time to move on to the future.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/fa...ewsfeed=true#_
This may be the next fashion scandal. My local morning radio show even covered this story/
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26-09-2012
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This seems like some fabricated 'scandal' somebody made up to get their newspapers sold. Sure, these earrings resemble Aunt Jemima (tbh, I've never heard of this, and I don't think it's fair to call Italian designers racist over an unfortunate resemblence to that has to do with a part of American history that is not widely covered by the media in Europe) but calling it racist sure goes one step too far since they did not glorify it, they were merely inspired by art they found in Italy. They should apologise, take them off the market and everybody can go home and care about real racism.

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26-09-2012
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Really? I mean, do a poll here in the States where you give people the name Aunt Jemima and I guarantee that most of those people will think of maple syrup and pancakes, not slavery. Maybe that's ignorance, or maybe that's just a sign that people have moved past associating a cartoon black woman with slavery.

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Last edited by Spike413; 26-09-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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26-09-2012
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Although DG may be able to claim ignorance about the racist aspects of blackamoore dolls and American minstrel shows etc...the fact that there was not a single model of color in their bloated 88 look collection, is still more proof of racial ignorance and yes, racism in the fashion industry, and yes I know that has been widely discussed elsewhere already, but clearly not enough, since it continues without any real repercussion.

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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike413 View Post
Really? I mean, do a poll here in the States where you give people the name Aunt Jemima and I guarantee that most of those people will think of maple syrup and pancakes, not slavery. Maybe that's ignorance, or maybe that's just a sign that people have moved past associating a cartoon black woman with slavery.

In the northern states I would agree with you, but I think the feelings would be still be there in the deep south.

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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejarc View Post
This seems like some fabricated 'scandal' somebody made up to get their newspapers sold. Sure, these earrings resemble Aunt Jemima (tbh, I've never heard of this, and I don't think it's fair to call Italian designers racist over an unfortunate resemblence to that has to do with a part of American history that is not widely covered by the media in Europe) but calling it racist sure goes one step too far since they did not glorify it, they were merely inspired by art they found in Italy. They should apologise, take them off the market and everybody can go home and care about real racism.

This article came from the UK.

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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacquelineo View Post
This article came from the UK.
You're right but as far as I can tell, the article originated on refinery29 which is an American website and the Guardian just picked the story up.

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26-09-2012
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So, did they actually hear from both Dolce & Gabbana's mouths that the earrings were inspired by Aunt Jemima? They're just ignorant about the situation at the very most. This whole situation is ridiculous.


Last edited by StoneSkipper; 26-09-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daydreamer70 View Post
Although DG may be able to claim ignorance about the racist aspects of blackamoore dolls and American minstrel shows etc...the fact that there was not a single model of color in their bloated 88 look collection, is still more proof of racial ignorance and yes, racism in the fashion industry, and yes I know that has been widely discussed elsewhere already, but clearly not enough, since it continues without any real repercussion.
I have more of an issue with this than anything else.

I'm not sure what they are trying to achieve with the earrings, though. They're really not cute, & I would hate to be a white woman wearing these anywhere in the south. I wouldn't exactly call the earrings racist, just in poor taste.

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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacquelineo View Post
In the northern states I would agree with you, but I think the feelings would be still be there in the deep south.
As someone who lives down south, I can say with 100% certainty it would cause a problem. I'm personally not offended, but they really do look like decapitated black women hanging on your ears. It's extremely odd.

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26-09-2012
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I honestly think this is someone trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
So if it was a white doll, then it wouldn't be racist, but because it's a black doll now it's racist?
I tbh, don't see anything wrong with those earrings.

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26-09-2012
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These earrings look pretty racist to me, and I find it shocking that more people don't think so. Blackamore jewelry is steeped in negativity, for depicting black people as exotic, and I would've thought that the designers for D&G would've done their research before making these earrings. Obviously they are not American designers but I still would think that they would know the basic's about how black people have been treated horribly throughout history, especially in the states (which I imagine is a sizable portion of D&G's clientele too). Also, it's quite telling that they did not have a single person of color walk the runway. Either they knew the earrings would not go down well and/or they still deem black people as good enough to be decoration but not pretty enough to be a part of what they think is beautiful. Either way, it's rather sickening. Also, this situation reminds me a little bit of Italian Vogue's "slave earrings." Which was pretty awful too.

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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pen6693 View Post
I honestly think this is someone trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
So if it was a white doll, then it wouldn't be racist, but because it's a black doll now it's racist?
I tbh, don't see anything wrong with those earrings.
it's a caricature that is blatantly referencing slavery and the jim crow era yet you don't see anything wrong with it?

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26-09-2012
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I'm also offended by lack of diversity in their casting, but not much, they usually cast models of different races/sizes. Already an odyssey for Milan.

To be frank, I would've never associated this with Aunt Jemima but more with traditional attire that still really exists in certain regions of Latin America (Antilles, Veracruz, the Colombian Caribbean).. probably a [wrongly] romanticised view in places like the United States or Europe.. heritage where I come from.

As for depicting cultures in an odd way, as if they were cute little cartoons and not actual lifestyles, that's a good ol' offense.. and the fact that skin color's obviously part of the 'souvenir' package is definitely inappropriate. But that's European fashion.. I think we've all seen our cultures reduced to gimmicks and a fest of exotic humor on European catwalks at some point.. I try to be rational and think that they're far away, not dealing with a gigantic legacy of racial tension [..they created in the first place], who knows, American history (American as in from Canada to Patagonia) is often misunderstood, even from people brought up here, I've seen the most ridiculous comments even at tFS on how the continent is history-less.. so, for as long as such idea persists and no one receives proper education on the unique interactions and challenges that have emerged in ex-colonies, we'll continue to face a pretty superficial outlook on it, including subjects that are just being categorized as 'sensitive' in order to enforce mutual respect.

Finally, it's one of those dumb luxury labels. Hard to be surprised. I only hope that just for the sake of PR, they remove it from the actual collection.

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Last edited by MulletProof; 26-09-2012 at 02:46 PM. Reason: spelling.
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26-09-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MulletProof View Post
I'm also offended by lack of diversity in their casting, but not much, they usually cast models of different races/sizes. Already an odyssey for Milan.

To be frank, I would've never associated this with Aunt Jemima but more with traditional attire that still really exists in certain regions of Latin America (Antilles, Veracruz, the Colombian Caribbean).. probably a [wrongly] romanticised view in places like the United States or Europe.. heritage where I come from.

As for depicting cultures in an odd way, as if they were cute little cartoons and not actual lifestyles, that's a good ol' offense.. and the fact that skin color's obviously part of the 'souvenir' package is definitely inappropriate. But that's European fashion.. I think we've all seen our cultures reduced to gimmicks on European catwalks at some point.. I try to be rational and think that they're far away, not dealing with a gigantic legacy of racial tension [..they created in the first place], who knows, American history (American as in from Canada to Patagonia) is often misunderstood, even from people brought up here, I've seen the most ridiculous comments even at tFS on how the continent is history-less.. so, for as long as such idea persists and no one receives proper education on the unique interactions and challenges that have emerged in ex-colonies, we'll continue to face a pretty superficial outlook on it, including subjects that are just being categorized as 'sensitive' in order to enforce mutual respect.

Finally, it's one of those dumb luxury labels. Hard to be surprised. I only hope that just for the sake of PR, they remove it from the actual collection.
Honestly, that's what I was thinking as well. With the flowers on top of the head my first thought was, above anything else, that it looked like a woman wearing a "tutti-frutti" head piece, which is still stereotypical, but hardly a symbol of overt negativity.

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