Old Navy's ad showing an interracial family drew stomach-churning racist backlash

Old Navy's ad showing an interracial family drew stomach-churning racist backlash
Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

As the 2016 movie Loving seeks to remind us, it's been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court outlawed bans on interracial marriage. Of course, that doesn't mean bigots are OK with it.

This time, racists took aim at an Old Navy ad showing a family of four: a black father, white mother and two biracial children, all outfitted in winter wear for the retailer's "frost-free" clothing line.

While most viewers might see only a wholesome ad, racists on Twitter saw a family of race traitors. 

Twitter user @MontyDraxel replied with two images of all-white families superimposed with the phrase "When you're white there is no upgrade. Don't mix." A user with the handle @JohnPascualeUSA wrote, "97% of women with children by black male partners get ZERO financial help from their partner," punctuating his tweet with the hashtag "#fact." 

Another person called the ad "disgusting" and asked Old Navy why it was trying to "force" black-white intermarriage onto people. "The kids come out looking like neither and really confused!" he wrote. He went on to compare interracial couples having children to the mating of a lion and a tiger — they will inevitably produce a "liger," he said, resembling neither parent. He credited his opinion to a "basic understanding of biology."

Other users spoke out in defense of the ad, beseeching the racist trolls of Twitter to let "people live their lives the way they want." Still, conversations on the thread devolved into users lamenting that such outrageous portrayals of interracial relationships were "everywhere [they] turn" and making claims of reverse racism.

This isn't the first time internet racists have blown their top at an Old Navy ad. 

In April, Old Navy ran a different ad portraying an interracial couple and their son, which spurred similar racist comments on Twitter and threats to boycott the clothing brand.

This problem, though, isn't particular to any one company: Practically any time a business runs an ad campaign that diverges from a white, heterosexual norm, it can look forward to sizable backlash. 

In 2013, Cheerios drew ire when it debuted an ad featuring an interracial couple and their daughter; in May, trolls channeled their energies toward a Macy's ad showing an interracial bride and groom; and on Dec. 27, racists lost it when State Farm tweeted out a photo of a black man proposing to a white woman for its #ProtectTheBling campaign. 

Racists can stay mad, as far as Old Navy is concerned.

An Old Navy spokesperson told Fortune that the retailer is proud of its message of "diversity and inclusion."

Old Navy was not immediately available for comment when Mic reached out.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marie Solis

Marie is a staff writer with a focus in feminist issues. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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