Twitter exploded today with images of two very different baby sling packages, both manufactured by Baby K’Tan.
In one image, a Black mother is featured with her baby in the sling; in the other, a White woman is featured with her baby in the sling as well.
The White woman has a smiling White man behind her to complete the family portrait.
The backlash was instantaneous, with Twitter users claiming that Baby K’Tan was trafficking in racist stereotypes about the Black family, particularly Black women.
@BabyKtan I would strongly suggest interviewing for marketing interns at HBCU's and creating a path for employment for these students.—
(@reunionmemphis) June 23, 2014
J I Λ (@missjia) June 23, 2014
Black people when we support marketing from companies like @BabyKtan we disempower ourselves and give our money to people who don't honor us—
Rebecca JacksonArtis (@rebeccajackart) June 23, 2014
GAMEFACE 24/7 (@imjustsayin418) June 23, 2014
@BabyKtan It's unfortunate because you guys do have a great product but dang. Perception can become reality. Disappointed in this.—
Christina Morillo (@divinetechygirl) June 23, 2014
Tonya Alston (@TonyaA6) June 23, 2014
*eye roll* http://t.co/NYwstzlNDN—
Princess of Zamunda (@Artemis_J) June 23, 2014
Baby K’Tan quickly responded to what it characterizes as a “misrepresentation”:
It has come to our attention that there is a misleading photo circulating around the internet. Our company takes these matters very seriously and wishes to address them without any further delay.
The photo in question shows two Baby K’tan Baby Carriers on the shelf at an unidentified retailer. One Baby K’tan product features an African American woman holding her baby, and the other Baby K’tan product features a Caucasian couple with their baby. This portrayal has left many of our loyal patrons concerned that this is an unfair representation of African American families. Furthermore, the box bearing the African American woman was inaccurately priced lower than the box with the Caucasian couple. Let’s address these pressing matters head on:
1) We have a total of 5 different products, each featuring a different image on the front of the packaging. One box has the Caucasian couple on the front, and the other four boxes have individual mothers with their babies on the front (including African American and Caucasian women).
2) The Baby K’tan product featuring the African American woman is from our organic line which should actually be priced higher than the other product displayed.
3) The couple considered to be Caucasian is actually in fact an international couple, featuring a Caucasian mom and a Hispanic dad.
Our company was built and has prospered because of our focus on diversity and inclusion. We wholeheartedly reject any false, unfounded and baseless claims of discrimination as depicted in the above misrepresentation. We here at Baby K’tan fully support exposing any unfair and inaccurate stereotypes, racism and/or discrimination wherever it may exist.
We plan to continue including diverse parents, both individually and as couples, throughout our images. In fact, we are proud to have such wholesome and loving caregivers as the faces of our company.
Even with that in-depth explanation, some people still called foul:
— Emma Jordan-Simpson (@RevEmmaJ) June 24, 2014
But the company is not without its supporters:
What do you think, NewsOne Fam? Is this a case of misrepresentation or clear racist stereotyping? Is there an appropriate way to market to single, Black mothers?