Jackie Magazine Still Doesn’t Get It

December 23, 2011  |  

Explaining racism to people who’ve never had to deal with it must be like explaining the birthing process to a man. They’ll just never get it.

Eva Hoeke’s resignation from Jackie magazine following the Rihannagate situation earlier this week appeared to be an admission of wrongdoing on their part—but just to make sure no one would think such a ridiculous thing, the magazine’s publisher, Yves Gijrath,  has issued a statement of his own, saying quite the opposite. According to an interpretation, he said:

[T]here is nothing wrong in the magazine. [Hoeke] presented it as a joke, but it most certainly was not a joke. It was an interpretation [of a fashion style]. […] She should have said: “we did not realize this interpretation is such a touchy subject. We never meant any harm and offer our sincere and upright apologies.” But because of all the fuss, Eva started to wiggle in all directions, and therefore we have come to the conclusion her credibility has been undermined.”

And while that seems like a step in the right apologetic direction, Gijrath followed the statement up by emphasizing that although the magazine had invited Rihanna to respond, it would not be printing a retraction.”We will not be silenced. People are totally off limits when calling both the magazine Jackie and Eva Hoeke racist. Jackie is even produced by an editorial staff that is of mixed origins.”

Is that sort of like saying, “I have black friends?” Would people be off limits if they called Jackie, Eva Hoeke, and Yves Gijrath ignorant?

I need for Gijrath to recognize that with his words he basically undid the sorry apology that Hoeke issued in the first place by saying it wasn’t her editorial judgment that got her fired, it was her refusal to stand by the magazine’s decision to publish racist and sexist terms. Perhaps he isn’t so concerned with how he’s skewed the image of black women in America by printing this article; and it’s evident he doesn’t care whether or not we feel disrespected by those words, but how have we come to the point that we’re not even deserving of an adequate apology?

In so many instances we hear apologies that we know were forced and don’t hold much weight, but the fact that the publisher doesn’t see fit to issue his own speaks to how unimportant he sees this issue. It’s not enough to say Hoeke should have offered her utmost sincere apologies, where are his?

Anyone with a tenth of a brain knows the history of the N-word, and even if you chose to ignore that for your own racist enjoyment, is it cool to refer to a woman as a B in a female magazine? I guess as long as she’s black, right?

Jackie continues to dig itself into an even deeper hole with this situation and unfortunately there is little we can do here in America as consumers. Hopefully those who receive the Dutch magazine and who initially expressed outrage at its poor word choice will vote with their feet and cancel their subscriptions, and maybe even advertisers will take a second look at how the magazine upheld its “integrity” among this scandal. This entire situation serves as a reminder of how far we still need to go—-not that we really needed one.

What do you think about the publisher’s words?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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