Target has issued an apology after selling what many believe is a racially insensitive Father’s Day card. The front of the card in question was adorned with the picture of a black couple and the words “Baby Daddy.” After several customers took to social media to voice their complaints, Target promptly apologized and removed the card from store shelves.
The controversy began when Takeisha Saunders was shopping at her local Target and noticed the odd card. Immediately outraged, Saunders took a picture of the item and immediately posted it to Facebook with the caption: “You CANNOT be serious Target!!!! Really!!!?!!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!!”
You CANNOT be serious Target!!!! Really!!!?!!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!!
Saunders wasn’t the only one upset either.
So this is what @Target thinks about black families, that we have baby daddy’s and not father, SMH, this is why we have to start pulling our resources because we have to separate, come in to UNITY , and help ourselves and own our own stores pic.twitter.com/oUi852Uy1b
— Taliah (@taliahpasha) June 12, 2018
@amgreetings I find this card to be very disturbing. This is how you’re marketing to the black folk it’s appalling and you should be ashamed. The black men of this country deserve better. #babydaddy #really? pic.twitter.com/5dG6anTLy6
— BAS (@angelique0910) June 6, 2018
Many complained that the card offers a narrow conception of black fatherhood. And while the argument is sound, the inside of the card does provide more context.
“You’re a wonderful husband and father” the card reads. “And I am so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend, and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with being someone’s baby daddy, which is why it was striking that so many commenters, rather pejoratively, presumed that the term “baby daddy,” referenced a negative thing. That’s just not true, or at least it really doesn’t have to be. But, policing people’s use of the term is a question about respectability politics and feels a little besides the point. The real crime is actually that the only Father’s Day card with a black couple on it was racistly pandering to black people with a tactless and tokenizing use of the term “baby daddy.”
Nonetheless, Target replied to the controversy directly and explained that it was “never our intent to offend any of our guests with the products we sell.”