Ignorance is bliss …
Clothing giant Gap has pulled a controversial T-shirt off its warehouse shelves after outraged consumers lashed out via social media.
The simple, dark-blue T-shirt with “MANIFEST DESTINY” printed on it in stark white letters was part of the “Gap x GQ” collection, a joint effort between Gap and GQ Magazine to showcase America’s best new designers.
While it might be nice to think that it’s some sort of inspirational mantra, maybe based on The Law of Attraction—Create your own life path! Manifest your destiny!—as McNairy and the PR department of Gap, Inc., have learned, “Manifest Destiny” actually refers to the mid-19th century mindset that white Americans had a divine obligation to claim as much of the continent as possible for themselves, slaughtering and oppressing native people in the process.
The term was coined in 1845 by John O’Sullivan, a newspaper editor at the Democratic Review, who wrote that the United states should annex Texas and claim the Oregon Country because “that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.” It also was used to justify the idea that people with darker skin were “heathen,” “backwards,” and otherwise less than human.
- manifest destiny (eyeofthestorm.blogs.com)
- Manifest Destiny: Gap, What Were You Thinking? (blogher.com)
- Designer Behind Gap’s Manifest Destiny Shirt Tweets Inflammatory Response (colorlines.com)
- The Gap: Now hocking “Manifest Destiny” (salon.com)
- GAP Promotes Manifest Destiny (ireport.cnn.com)