Sigh. Sometimes people just make life so hard. The fashion world is notoriously monochromatic, and really, their recent feeble attempts to include people of color has only worsened the situation.
In her contributing post at Racialicious, Mimi analyzes the Nylon editorial featuring singer Beth Ditto, in which she notices a woman of color who serves no greater purpose but to provide "background color," placed there to "better illuminate Ditto's extraordinary excess of shine and glamour."
The veracity of this claim is not lost in the blogosphere as the people over at Jezebel agree, and cite Free People's recent campaign in their argument:
"Colonialism, slavery, movies in which the maid, porter or chambermaid has no lines - we've seen it all a million times. The lady of leisure as compared to the hard-working woman. Haven't we made any progress? How come no one cares when a company like Free People shoot in India using a blonde as the star and relegating cows (especially offensive in a picture featuring a leather purse), camels, elephants, and indigenous schoolchildren to props or background? By using a non-white person as a backdrop against which the white person is supposed to shine, a photographer creates a world in which one person has more value than another."
UPDATE: Sean at Africa is a Country shows that this travesty is not restricted only to the fashion/film world and finds manifestations in the real world of politics and even hip-hop.