This week social media has reached a fresh low. Doing what social media does best, it has taken a innocent concept, viewed it with cynicism, and created a problem.
We’ve all seen the images of the children modelling an animal range for H&M which have gone viral this week, or you haven’t, perhaps you’ve only seen a single image. The single image of a 5-year-old boy wearing a hoodie.
I won’t be including the image, but as most will already know the copy on the jumper reads, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle.” Which only carries a racial connotation if you want it to. It’s a term of endearment parents frequently call their children, monkeys because children cause mischief, it’s not a design created with malicious intent.
What is malicious is the reception that this has been met with. Twitter warriors have attacked celebrities to pull their endorsement with the company, and it’s unfortunate that celebrities have bowed down to peer pressure and taken what they falsely believe is a responsible option. All they’ve succeeded in doing is protect themselves, and add fuel to the fire. Giving these accusations unwarranted credibility.
People seem to be forgetting at the heart of this “controversy” is a five year old boy. A five year old boy who we have made a victim of hate. A five year old boy who has had his photo shared countless times for all the wrong reasons. Five years old.
Have we overlooked the fact that this boy has a living existence?
Are we at a juncture in time where it is acceptable to forget that, we can now share images of someone else’s child, as long it get’s the Likes, Follows, Re-Tweets, that we require to feel satisfied within ourselves.
Did this child not have to go to school on Monday morning?
Is it not possible that by Tuesday morning some of his friends may have seen his image? On the television, online, or even had their parents point him out the them.
Have people not weighed up the ramifications that this kind of mania may have on a child? Having to ask his mother why people are talking about him, why am I on the news, why are people staring at me on the street, what did I do?
When all he did was put on a hoodie he was asked to wear, a hoodie his mum had no issue with, and have a photo taken.
It would be nice if we could finally put this behind us and follow his mothers advice, and “get over it”.