NEW YORK - Takeisha Saunders was browsing Father’s Day cards at a Target store in Dallas in late May, looking for something special for her husband of two years, when she found one that didn’t sit right.
The card said “Baby Daddy” in pink cursive script and featured a black couple kissing. Saunders, aged 35, said it was the only Father’s Day card she saw with a black couple — a feature she was looking for to reflect her own family.
The card perpetuated a stereotype, Saunders said. “Baby daddy” is a phrase commonly used to refer to a father who is not a husband or current partner of the child’s mother.
“My reaction was just, ‘This is my only option?’” Saunders said on Saturday. “I don’t view him as my ‘baby daddy.’ I would not call him that. That’s offensive to him and me.”
Saunders shared her frustration with her husband, who encouraged her to complain about it on social media, setting off criticism that led to both Target and then American Greetings — the company that designed the card — to pull it from stores.
After Target started to see “concerning” conversation on social media about the card, it decided last week to pull it from stores, according to Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman. The card had been available in about 900 Target stores in the United States, he said.
“We really do appreciate the opportunity to get feedback from our guests, and it’s never our intent to offend customers,” he said.
American Greetings instructed other retailers to remove it from thousands of other stores across the country, The Washington Post reported. The company, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday, addressed the issue in a tweet on Wednesday.
“This card was intended to be a playful husband card, but we have notified the product team that it missed the mark,” the company said. “Please accept our sincerest apologies and know we will do better in the future.”
The inside of the card says: “You’re a wonderful husband and father — and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend, and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day.”
Saunders, a biomedical engineering technician and mother of a toddler, said her intent in posting about the card was not necessarily for Target to remove it but to recognize a problem with diversity in their card selection.
Ultimately, Saunders said she wasn’t able to find the right Father’s Day card for her husband but that she was glad she started the conversation. “The real issue is inclusion,” she said. “I didn’t call for them to pull the card. I just wanted options.”
-NEW YORK TIMES