A Facebook post about Hobby Lobby’s cotton decor has gone viral, SBG San Antonio reports. Daniell Rider was shopping in Killeen, Texas, when she saw cotton stalks for sale at the craft store. On the same day Rider spotted the cotton stalks, Lipscomb University President Randy Lowry hosted a special dinner for African-American students which included “stereotypical” Black foods served on tables with cotton stalk centerpieces. Lowry has since apologized for his gaffe, but Rider and others wondered why Americans have such a large blind spot when it comes to the bloody roots of American cotton.
So far, Rider’s post has been shared more than 21,000 times. The picture has also received more than 231,000 responses ranging from sympathetic to vitriolic. Many responders echoed what Lowry initially told dinner attendees: Cotton can’t be bad if everybody’s wearing it. When that answer didn’t satisfy the Lipscomb dinner attendees, a student named Nakayla posted her story to Instagram.
Like Nakayla, Rider expected more sensitivity, considering he history of cotton in America as it pertains to Black people.
“There is nothing decorative about cotton…a commodity which was gained at the expense of African American slaves,” she wrote.
The response to Rider’s post has been overwhelmingly negative. Predictably, many White Facebook users were calling Rider “ignorant” and “uneducated” in posts teeming with run-on sentences and misspelled words. “Seriously…sit down. Your (sic) looking foolish & uneducated,” Leslie Hart Hovarter wrote. “I suppose you go to the grocery & tell people not to buy Aunt Jemima syrup or Uncle Ben’s rice too. None of your clothes are made with cotton, you don’t smoke & you don’t eat sugar…. Always repressing and playing the card.”
Donna Clouse echoed Hovarter’s sentiments, adding that her free, White grandparents also picked cotton.
“My grandparents and mom picked cotton they were white. People did what they had to to eat. Guess it’s offensive to wear cotton underwear. Get over it no one complaining was a slave. Read history slaves were sold by their own people there were black slave owners,” she wrote.
Even Latinx Facebook users have been vocal about the neutrality of cotton, with a few claiming that their close relatives picked cotton and they “still like(d) it.”
In complaining about Hobby Lobby, Rider joined Indigenous Americans who have long complained about the retail company’s revisionist Thanksgiving decor. Hobby Lobby has not stopped producing tepees, “Native American Hunt Scene Setters,” or “Peace Pipes,” and it doesn’t look like they will stop selling cotton anytime soon.
SOURCE: SBG San Antonio