Posts tagged ‘offensive’

Zara shows leadership, apologizes, removes offensive product

Zara_NativeAmerican_BeddingSetI have received a response from ZaraHOME regarding my concern over the sale of their “Native American Bedding Set”.  It was send corporately from their Customer Service Department but they do want to speak to me in person.  The produce is still online, but they did commit to removing it.  To me, this is a very encouraging response from a company who appears to care about the views of their customers.  I wish that was the case with other companies.  When I speak to them, I will also talk to them about point of sale tax exemptions, and perhaps working with First Nations designers.

Please resume shopping with Zara.  Making changes, one company, one person at a time.  Miigwetch for your support on this campaign.

Here is our e-mail exchange:

From: Goulais, Bob
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 12:19 PM
To: Zara Home Canada
Subject: Zara Home Case ID:874 (#8629-424627490-2867)

Good day:

Thank you do much for your reply and kind consideration. I really appreciate you listening to my views and the concerns of some of our First Nations people. I certainly appreciate that your designers and buyers may not understand of appreciate why our people take such offence to these kinds of products that depict our people in such a stereotypical way. It is truly hurtful, especially for our children. Your ability to apologize, reach out and take action is admirable and the right thing to do. Your action of removing the bed linen collection shows you respect your customers and our culture. Please pass on my personal thanks and appreciation to your management team. Your leadership in this matter is exemplary.

Miigwetch (thank you).

Bob Goulais
Nipissing First Nation
(416) 770-8567

From: Zara Home Canada
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:16 AM
To: Goulais, Bob
Subject: Zara Home Case ID:874 (#8629-424627490-2867)

Dear Mr. Goulais,

Thank you so much for your email. Customer’s opinions like yours help us to improve constantly. And in this case let us thank you for sharing your opinion with regard to this bedding collection of Zara Home.
As you say in your kind email, the collection aims to be a celebration of the beauty heritage of America, and let us add in a very naive way. First Nation is an integral and important part of your history and culture. The designs wanted to be a tribute to the First Nation people and a symbol of the America history. The images try to show the music, traditions and culture of the First Nation people – let us insist on this, in a very naive and warm way for children. We deeply apologize if it has been misinterpreted or if it could be perceived as offensive. We would be pleased to contact you by phone personally, should you allow us to reach you. We would call you to a number that you could kindly indicate us to share with you these point of views about what the designers had in mind with this Zara Home Kids Collection.
Having said that, we really appreciate your opinion so we are proceeding to remove the bed linen collection you referred from our website and stores.

Please do not hesitate in contacting us should you need anything from us.

Best regards,

Customer Service Department


RESOLVED! I was shopping online for a kids bedding set… & you wouldn’t believe what I found at Zara

UPDATE May 21, 2014 – This issue has been resolved.  Please see the response from ZaraHOME.

Our good friend Saga was doing some online shopping tonight and came upon the Zara Canada website.  Zara is an emerging retailer in Ontario.  They launched their Zara Canada online in 2013, and opened their flagship store at Yorkdale in Toronto.  The Spanish company has hundreds of stores worldwide.  As Saga was going through the Zara Home Kids section, she came upon the bedding section.  Her reaction, my wife’s reaction and my reaction were all the same.


The “Native American Bedding Set” is the most offensive, stereotypical item I have ever come across. It is on sale at Zara Home Kids.

OMG!  That’s unbelievable!  Shock!  Anger!  Sadness!  That is patently offensive! Did you have the same reaction just now?

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the link.

This “Native American Bedding” set, marketed to parents for their innocent but trendy children, features caricatures of the most negatively stereotypical nature. Cartoon representations of indigenous people in various states of pre-colonial dress, depicted in various activities.  The bedding set features totem poles, feathers, drums, Indians dancing around fires, riding horses, complete with headdresses, dreamcatchers, teepees, bows and arrows, tribal symbols and a sacred bird or two.

It absolutely makes sense that this is bedding because it sure seems like some slapping-the-mouth war-hoot, Sal-Mineo-Indian Brave, stereotyping nightmare of unmatched proportions!

To make matters worse, it’s intended for the enjoyment and delight of children.  CHILDREN!  What in the blazing, banana #&%$ are some people teaching their kids????  It’s mortifying.

I have no doubt in my mind that the kids that grow up with this bedding set will not to have any real respect or appreciation of our beautiful culture or see First Nations as persons, families and nations.  They’ll grow up thinking how great it is to “honour” us by wearing their Cleveland Indians ball caps and Washington Redskins NFL jerseys.  They will be the same people that debate our rights amongst themselves and write anonymous comments under online newspaper articles.  Sadly, they will also raise more kids with the same outlook and regard as their parents who bought them the Zara Native American Bedding set. Don’t let your kids miss out on appreciating various beautiful culture by using bedding sets from Zara. Follow the url and get the best review on mattresses to be able to make an informed decision.

They don’t realize that we are real people with real feelings.  I am a Anishinaabe. Hath not a Anishinaabe eyes? Hath not a Anishinaabe hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons?

My feeling quite hurt right now.  I’m have genuine pain lamenting on how far we haven’t really come in 500 years.  That there are people in this world that just don’t understand that stereotypes and ignorance of this kind is wrong.  That is it hurtful.

I’m envisioning the proud little owner of this sheet set, so happy and thrilled looking at the little Indians playing on his bed-linens.  His imagination takes him to a time, long ago, where his little Indian friends danced, in sight of cowboys and buffalo on the great plains.  As he readies for bed, he turns to his  visiting friend that he invited for a sleepover. It took some time to choose mattress for the guest. A little Anishinaabe, Onkwehonwe, Cree, Mi’kmaq, Dene, or Dakota boy.  He might be your son, grandson, nephew, little cousin or the boy next door.  He’s proud of his heritage but afraid to say anything – confused about why he’s feeling ashamed…

Something has to be been done.  See here.

We have to hold these retailers, manufacturers and designers to account for the decisions they make.  This type of imagery no longer has a place in our society.  It certainly has no place in our children’s bedrooms.

Don’t just boycott Zara.  Let them know how you feel.  Write them a letter or e-mail.  Stop by the Zara store and voice your concern with the manager.  Share this blog post with your friends.  Leave a comment.  Make it abundantly clear that this kind of stereotypical product is offensive and absolutely not acceptable.

Please write:

Maribel Santos, Managing Director
Zara Canada
200 McGill College Av., Suite 1550
Montreal, Quebec
H3B 4G7

Phone: (514) 868-1516
Fax: (514) 868-1522

Click here to send Zara a note.