“We walked into the gift shop and I see these little black figures and so we looked closely and I’m just like really.
It’s insensitive for the fact of the historical context it’s, ya know, the lynching of African Americans. It’s a fear tactic.”-Krystal Davis-Dunn.
A University of Michigan gift shop made Black History Month unforgettable in all the wrong ways by hanging ornaments of prominent African-American figures from a decorative tree by their necks.
The offensive display, first pointed out by graduate student Krystak Rose Davis-Dunn, featured dolls resembling Barack and Michelle Obama, Harriett Tubman and the Rev Martin Luther King appearing to be lynched. The tone deaf set-up shared a table with souvenir coffee mugs.
MSU’s comment to 6 News:
“We were made aware of an inappropriate and insensitive display at the Wharton Center Gift Shop which used a tree-like rack to hold historical black figures. Regardless of the intent of the display, its impact cannot be ignored – people were hurt and offended. We sincerely apologize to our community members and have immediately removed the display. Additionally, after the Wharton Center reported the incident, it agreed to provide employees and volunteers with racial bias training that focuses on the impact and understanding of intentional and unintentional racial bias. We have work to do, and MSU remains committed to creating a culture that is inclusive and safe for all faculty, staff, students and visitors. As we enter Black History Month, it’s important we not only recognize the many contributions of African Americans, but we remember history and confront all bias.”