Use black models on wearable merchandise with black themes--immediately!
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When I signed up to market products with Cafe Press, it was an effort through my black culture support group to promote African-American culture and to dispel stereotypes and negative stigmas associated with natural and African-inspired hairstyles. Some of the slogans that I wanted to be placed on the wearable items, were "I'm Nappy, Happy & Free" and "Nappiness is Eco-Friendly." I naturally assumed that black models would be used to showcase the wearable items since they had slogans that celebrated black culture and identity. However, I was highly offended to discover that my t-shirts and hoodies were exclusively being advertised by white models and no identifiably black models which totally negates my intentions. I cannot use white images on products intended to foster black pride. I also discovered that these images were not only appearing on my products but I saw white models -- ironically in the African American products category-- showcasing dozens of other wearable items that had black consciousness themes. When I called your company to demand that the images be replaced with black models, a representative told me that it could not be done and that the white models were the "default." He told me that Cafe Press is looking into the matter and would be doing something "very soon." I was told that the manager that I asked to speak to was in a meeting and assured that she would call me back. That never happened. Your company's practice of excluding black models and using only white models-- with straight hair-- to showcase attire with slogans touting naturally curly, kinky black hair, is totally disrespectful, extremely insensitive and shows a complete disregard for cultural diversity. Since black people and black models exist, there is no justifiable reason for you to 'default' to white in this matter.
This petition is to demand that Cafe Express immediately remove and correct the culturally incorrect images on your commerce site. Stop your practice of exclusively using white models to showcase attire with black themes and use black models instead. This petition also represents a commitment by the signees to boycott the use of your website for commerce until those changes are made.
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