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Hillary’s Misappropriation: Political Incorrectness and Political Misjudgment
By: Corinne MacInnes
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Hillary Clinton’s recent logo design featuring Rosa Parks was met with varying degrees of outrage and political unrest. The stylized logo was released on December 1 to commemorate the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest in 1955. While Hillary’s aim with this logo was to honor and remember the brave actions of Rosa Parks and other civil rights activists at the time, she (and her logo designer) misjudged the image entirely.

When the logo was released, biting comments swarmed social media, criticizing Hillary for placing Rosa Parks at the back of an “H” shaped bus. Instead of the clever tribute to Rosa helping to bolster Hillary’s image as a supporter of human equality, her logo backfired and only succeeded in portraying her as another white person unwittingly appropriating people of color.

The real problem with Hillary’s logo lies only partially in the image showing Rosa at the back of the “bus.” Some of the kinder Twitter comments dryly expressed surprise that Hillary was able to go back in time and somehow gain Rosa’s support and endorsement. These comments truly touch at the issue of this logo and the political dangers of branding in general.

What starts out as an artful way to reuse an image or idea can quickly lead to the exploitation of a minority. We see this every day in advertising, branding, music, and even movie plots. Whether it’s the appropriation of women’s bodies, a joke at the expense of those who have suffered through black oppression, or a logo like Hillary’s, media constantly takes advantage of image association for its own benefit.

In short, Hillary’s logo takes the struggles of civil rights activists and minorities in the U.S. today and uses them for her own political purposes. And if she hadn’t mistakenly placed Rosa at the back of the bus, there may not even be any strong vocal outrage calling our attention to this gross misappropriation.

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About the Author

Corinne MacInnes grew up in Albion, MI. She attended Kalamazoo College and graduated in 2015 with a B.F.A. and concentrations in Spanish, English, and Art History under her belt. Today she works from Chicago doing freelance writing, creative writing, and event planning

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