• Wed, Aug 21 - 5:05 pm ET

Prince George’s Nursery Will Be ‘African-Themed,’ According To Racist People Magazine Reporting

prince george nurseryPrince George is getting a royal nursery designed in the likeness of his father’s passions: Africa. While a jungle-themed nursery replete with elephants and rhinos isn’t anything new — or even problematic — describing all of this as “African-themed” definitively is.

People magazine reports on Prince William talking daddyhood on the upcoming one-hour CNN special “Prince William’s Passion: New Father, New Hope,” airing September 15. When pulling out a tidbit about Prince George’s nursery aesthetic, the tabloid reports:

The newborn son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, both 31, will have an African-themed bedroom, William tells CNN.

It should be noted that in the quote that was pulled, Prince William, who reportedly has been to Africa many times, does not use the term “African-themed.” Hopefully because he knows better…? The new dad says:

“I’ll have toy elephants and rhinos around the room…We’ll cover it in, you know, lots of bushes and things like that. [We'll] make him grow up as if he’s in the bush.”

While I wouldn’t put it passed the folks at People — who once described Jessica Simpson‘s morning sickness as a “good thing” to just lump toy elephants and bushes into an “Africa” bucket, their racist reporting manages to make Prince William look racially illiterate too, what with pairing an irksome term like “African-themed” with a giddy quote about bushes. Looks like we’ll just have to tune in on September to see if Prince William actually trafficks in caricaturing an entire continent of people in his son’s nursery designs.

(photo: WENN)

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  • Mystik Spiral

    Ummm… I feel stupid for asking, but why is that racist? Africa DOES have elephants, rhinos and bushes. Sure, Africa has myriad climates, topography, people, animals, vegetation, etc. that could conceivably be included in an African theme, but what’s racist?

    And actually, it sounds more like a savannah theme than the jungle theme the author alluded to…

    • Meg

      I am confused as to how this is racist at all. Those really are things you can find in Africa. How is this racist to talk about? If someone was making a room decorated in moose, raccoon and pine trees would it be racist to call it North American themed?

    • Emmali Lucia

      It’s Pacific North West themed! Okay?! Lol.

    • LiteBrite

      You have to get Sasquatch in there for a true Pacific Northwest theme. :)

    • Meg

      darn it, I knew I forgot something!

    • Amber Starr

      I was wondering this myself. Maybe I’m oblivious, but I’m not seeing the racism behind his remarks.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Thank goodness, I thought I was somehow racist and didn’t understand it. I really think it makes sense, with elephants and the savannah and such being in Africa. And really a lot of that climate is pretty unique to Africa. Call me on team confused.

    • Byron

      This is racist because you can’t treat Africa the same way you treat something like Japan or ancient Rome, or Barbie or Power Rangers according to some people. Africa has been too abused to be able to sustain being turned into a room theme with obvious lighthearted interest and non-serious intentions. At least that’s what those easy to cry racist think.

      If you don’t always show some type of revearance towards Africa and if you don’t always behave in an apologetic manner. If you ever try to treat it as you treat other similar things, people will instantly call you negative things and will be up in arms. People will rush to show how it’s not simmilar and how turning it into a room theme would be like having a holocaust room theme or something else that’s ridiculous and dumb.

      I think it’s best to ignore and keep going when these kinds of views rear their head.

    • Rachel

      It does seem a bit of a leap to call it racism. Thank goodness others started asking the question, because I thought I was missing something. Yes, maybe the word ‘safari’ or ‘jungle/savannah’ should have been used in lieu of Africa, and maybe equating Africa with elephants & the bush when the continent is also covered in cities is embarrassing…but more silly & unfortunate than racist.

    • Koa_Beck

      Hi Mystik Spiral!

      Unifying an entire continent, of which there are many cultures and languages under one “theme” is inherently racist. It’s the language that People mag is using here that is problematic. Not the actual decor.

      Thank you for reading!

    • Byron

      Was there a specific language or cultrue chosen though? Wasn’t it just non-cultural wilderness type things which were represented in the theme? Isn’t that something that all Africans can claim to share as their unique posession, one that people from other continents tend to actually be aware of?

      The decor can be African without all Africa having to be represented by the decor. All apples are fruit but not all fruit are apples. Calling apples fruit is not a declaration that all fruits are apples, it’s a declaration that apples, too, are fruit.

    • Mystik Spiral

      Koa,

      I guess all I can say is that I disagree. Generalizing a portion of African culture by saying it’s African rather than specifying what region is not racist. As another poster already pointed out, it’s uneducated but it’s not racist.

      I suppose I will just continue to be baffled by all the righteous indignation displayed by the authors of this fascinating piece of investigative journaling.

    • Unhappy Gilmore

      The only thing problematic here is your absolute BS argument that this is racist. My mind is so boggled at the moment. Is this your pathetic attempt to remain “relevant” and ride on the Zimmerman trial (also BS) coat tails?

    • eye roll

      Well I guess I’m allowed to get butthurt the next time someone claims that kangaroos and koalas are ‘Australia themed’.

  • Boots

    Not racist at all. People have Asian-style gardens, Indian-inspired decor, and scandinavian-minimalist apartments. The idea of using words is to quickly give an overall idea without having to describe every detail involved.

    • Rachel Sea

      Scandinavia is a specific geographic location with a fairly homogeneous culture. Africa and Asia are continents with extremely diverse cultures. That people can be told Asian style garden, and know what that means that they have a similarly racist vision of what “Asian” means.

    • Sundaydrive00

      I don’t think its necessarily racist to say Asian-style garden, but it is too broad of a term to use. I actually have never heard anyone use that term. Most people would normally say Japanese Garden.

    • starrysky

      Do you realize that some Scandinavians would be insulted by your comment? It may seem homogenous to you, but modern Scandinavia has influences from many cultures. Not all blonde hair and blue eyes with furniture from IKEA, ya know.

  • ChopChick

    I must have missed the memo where mommyish was going all righteous indignation on everything.

  • dmdoss

    I too have missed the racist part of African-themed nursery…

  • Rachel Sea

    It’s racist because Africa is not all rhinos, and elephants, and bush plants. It’s as stupid as saying that a room decorated with roosters is Italian-themed. It’s condensing an entire continent into a decor.

    Benevolent racism is still racism.

    • Meg

      Wait, so it is racism because they weren’t specific enough?

    • DMH

      Shhh… It’s best to just nod and smile here. Back away slowly and don’t make any sudden movements.

    • Blueathena623

      I’m not saying racist, but it can be demeaning. Here is an example more close to home.
      If someone says they have “native American decor” people probably think turquoise and Santa Fe style colors and line patterns. Maybe some old school people think tepees. But a lot of tribe members (and there are a ton of tribes) are not all about turquoise and do not feel that is representative of who they are. So it is kinda insulting to have people who are not native Americans (I.e. that vast majority of the population) to say “nope, y’all are turquoise. Don’t care how you really feel. You’re turquoise cause I say so.”
      Does that make sense?

    • Paul White

      You’re going into cultural identifiers though (art, jewelry, etc). This is *wildlife*. Flora and fauna can exist apart from any human constructs, and can certainly identify continents.

    • Mystik Spiral

      “It’s condensing an entire continent into a decor”

      That may be, but I’ve yet to understand why that is racist.

    • Rachel Sea

      That your mom’s room has African decorations is at least semi accurate. It would be more accurate to say if the decor was from a particular group, or region. Finland and Spain are both in Europe, but their folk art is vastly different, and the same goes for different regions of Africa.

      To say that a room decorated with a specific nature scene is Africa-themed is like the colonialism of interior decorating. Taking a couple elements off a continent and then describing them as being representative of that continent is racist. It dismisses everything about the continent that is outside of the big-white-hunter iconography.

      When in doubt, ask yourself if the same terminology would be used for white geographic regions. People don’t do European themed gardens or rooms, because Europe is diverse enough for the description to be meaningless. The same goes for Africa and Asia.

    • Byron

      This line of thought is irrational. You can categorize things based on various criteria without actually applying that categorization to everything else that could also fit that criteria.

      If you have a plate of vegetables, it doesn’t mean you have a plate of every single vegetable on the planet. If you tell your kid to eat his vegetables, and his plate has broccoli in it, you are not stating that all vegetables are broccoli. If someone came up to you and said “there’s other vegetables besides broccoli, you shouldn’t have said ‘vegetables’ cause that shows that you think all vegetables are just broccoli and that’s untrue” you’d be looking at that person like they were insane. “Of course there’s other vegetables…but broccoli is one of them too!” would be what you’d say to the crazy vegetable person, rife with confusion about why you’re being harassed for a simple turn of phrase, wondering why people would go to this extent to twist it into something problematic.

      Now I’ll blow your mind….Africa is Vegetables! Boom!

      Weather we like it or not, if “African room” correctly communicates the stereotypical things people in the society where the words were uttered have come to associate with the terms. That’s the proper usage. If when people say “African theme” and what pops in your minds is some snapshot of the Lion King, which is generally what happens for me and I bet tons of others, this way of describing the room is actually quite informative and anything but meanigneless.

    • Blueathena623

      But that’s like saying Gone With The Wind is the United States. Are you comfortable with everyone thinking that all Americans live at Twelve Oaks?

    • Blueathena623

      Hmm, got a down vote. Guess someone doesn’t want Scarlett representing all Americans. Thought vegetables were vegetables. My bad.

    • Byron

      Hehe, well, it wasn’t from me. As a guest I actually lack the power to downvote people, not that I’d wish to do it in this case. Vegetables are vegetables indeed!

      I don’t mind what people think is american or not. I actually ENJOY dispelling misconceptions and correcting wrong notions in peoples heads. If what they think truly is wrong and if it comes to affect me at one point, I’ll deal with it then in a positive and construcvite manner. I won’t pre-emptively cry “racism” about it.

      I think that’s the adult and mature way to handle this.

    • Blueathena623

      There is a disconnect in what you are saying.

      You say you enjoy dispelling misconceptions and wrong notions, but then you also say that its proper to just think that Africa is the lion king. Ok, that’s a wrong notion. There are so many cool cultures and various people in Africa. People should learn about them. Also, its called a safari theme. Believe me, as someone who looked at a lot of nursery themes, it is always described as the safari theme.

      I get that people don’t like the r-word, but I also think that if we miss a lot of possibly good information if we just automatically ignore everything if the word racism is used.

    • Byron

      I think we agree, it’s just that I’m focusing on what the article is saying here and you’re focusing on the actual situation, which is not what most people here are tackling but rather the INTERPRETATION of it by the writer.

      Africa is those “safari” things in part too. That’s the point of the vegetable story. You can’t say these things don’t exist in Africa just cause there’s also a million other less known about things and you can’t say people don’t recognize them. You can’t say people didn’t “get” what was trying to be communicated by the phrasing. Speech or text is first and foremost a tool for communication and if it achieves its goal efficiently, that’s a good thing.

      If you don’t like that “African theme” correctly communicates these safari type things, don’t call people racist, play more documentaries about Africa, write more stories about Africa, do more cooking shows about Africa. That’s how you actually positively affect change.

      If the article had been tackling the line more like you are, showing it to be incomplete (perhaps grossly so) that’d be another matter. What people here are against is the lable of “racist” being placed on something that is maybe “wrong” at the VERY worst.

      So, all in all, you’re right, but also kinda irrelevant to the discussion I’m afraid. I feel you’re correct in what you’re saying, it’s just not the place and time for it I guess so you’re met with perhaps an unfair amount of opposition.

    • Blueathena623

      But it is not called an African theme. This is not me being P.C or whatever the hell. The decorating term is safari. Safari.

    • Byron

      Yep, I’ll keep that in mind. It’s also not racist to just…not know this information though, it’s not racist to not exactly know how to describe the theme and to use a perhaps partially inappropriate term for it.

      In sorta kinda siding with the article here you seem to be fine with its use of that term. I don’t think anybody here claims “african theme” is the most eloquently put descriptor in the history of the universe. I’m pretty sure nobody said it is anything, all they said was that it is not racist.

    • Byron

      As someone who is not american but currently lives in the US, there’s the typical “burgers, cadliacs, guns, statue of liberty, spaceships, computers and fat people/Mc Donalds/lack of culinary knowledge” type things which generally pass for “American” in the rest of the world. Now of course living here I know it’s not all like this everywhere you go but people aren’t being mean-spirited about it, it’s just what part of the country/culture has reached them.

      The only way to have more inclusive or more specific descriptiors is through education and sharing of cultures. The people who just know few things aren’t being racist or hateful or anything. They just don’t know much about Africa so they can’t be more specific.

    • Justme

      I sure do wish we did. I can rock a damn hoop skirt.

    • Paul White

      But this decor has nothing to do with culture or art or architecture. It’s using wildlife–wildlife primarily found in but covering a large part of one continent. They described this decor using that continents name.

      If they’d replicated a Zulu or Maasi village and called it “African” I’d have a problem; but this, no, because animals aren’t inherently tied to a cultural.

    • Paul White

      damnit that was supposed to be cultural identity.

    • Koa_Beck

      Hi Paul!

      I find People mag’s language to be problematic here, not the decor in itself for the reasons you stated. Using a term like “African-themed” does innately draw on the cultures, languages, and yes, people who inhabit them and attempts to unify them all as one aesthetic. Language like “jungle-themed” or as one reader suggested, “savannah-themed” do not traffick in these same problematic notions.

      Thank you for reading!

    • Paul White

      I guess I flat don’t see that in the term Koa. I don’t see how saying something is “XYZ themed” when referring to wildlife unique to a continent innately draws on the cultures and people of a continent. I think that’s a real reach.

    • DMH

      Nod and smile… Nod and smile… Lol.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      CAN WE? :(

    • Paul White

      Uh….I’ve seen plenty of room decor described as European.

    • Blueathena623

      They probably have a horrible mishmash of decor then, and I doubt it was a nursery.

    • Bye.

      The difference is that “European” decor is inspired by European (very diverse) PEOPLE …..What if someone said they want a European themed nursery and then decorated it with pigeons from Trafalgar Square? It doesn’t really make much sense to do that.

    • Mya

      It’s not racist. People are just making a mountain out of a mole hill because they have nothing better to worry about.

    • Paul White

      Rhinos and elephants? The only other place with both would be the Indian sub-continent; I’d say they’re pretty distinctly African, even if they’re not the whole of Africa…

    • Blueathena623

      I agree. I’m not outraged or anything, but Africa is pretty much the only continent that is consistently treated as one big country, despite the fact that there is a wide, wide, WIDE variety of cultures and customs. An Egyptian theme with pyramids would also count as African themed. Or a Madagascar theme would count.
      Hell, Americans get pissed if they are identified with the wrong city or state (new Yorkers aren’t from LA, southerns ain’t Yankees, etc.)
      I believe buffaloes (not to be confused with the water buffalo) are only in the U.S, but if you were weird and did a prairie theme you would call it just that — a prairie theme, not a United States theme. And we ARE one country.

    • Ed

      I’ve spent plenty of time in Europe and have often seen bars/clubs that are described as “American” or American-style (because they differ from the traditional pubs of that particular country). Pretty sure not all bars in America are the same especially considering that the term “America” actually covers two continents. So, is that racist?

    • Blueathena623

      Dunno. I never said it was racist or not. I said I understood. And I also have been to “American”themed pubs in Europe, but they were all more about white-culture U.S. I hope we can safely agree that white Americans as a whole have suffered a lot less from racism than black Africans.

    • Ed

      I was just pointing out that people do make generalizations about what is American, or European for that matter. This was in response to your comment about calling a prairie theme American.

    • Blueathena623

      Ok, but here is my thing — if you said a particular type of clothing (say a slim cut men’s dress shirt in a pale color such as pink or lavender) is “European style” and someone said “well, actually, that’s more representative of the Italian style, which is different from British style, German style, and Ukraine/eastern Europe style” would you say “ok, I guess its Italian style” or would you say “no, it is better to describe it as European because differences don’t matter”?

      I’m guessing people are thrown off by the racism part, but I find it weird how many people are arguing that no, Africa is elephants and Lion King, end of story.

      I actually had the elephants, etc. theme in mind for my kids nursery, and its called the safari theme. Like thats how it is classified in kids stores and such. That makes more sense to me than calling it African.

    • Paul White

      No one has said or implied that Africa is elephants and rhinos; they’re implying elephants and rhinos are African, which is a distinct difference. P is Q, but Q is not P.

    • Blueathena623

      But you’ve even said that elephants and rhinos aren’t distinctly African! They are a big part of India and Indian culture. Think of Ganesh. So why are elephants, rhinos, and brush African themed instead of Asian themed?

    • Paul White

      I’m assuming they used the African elephant and the white or black rhino (distinctly different species than you’d get in India).

    • Blueathena623

      Oh dear Paul, why do we even bother? From my observations, for issues we agree on, we are pretty much lock step, but on issues we disagree on we will never see eye to eye because neither of us will ever budge an inch.

    • Whit

      I’m a U.S. citizen currently living in Greece. They have a whole alley way called “American Alley” filled with bars that are “American themed” (their words). Should I be outraged at this? Their representation is totally racist as they only have loud clubs/bars and do not fully represent all of the bars America offers coast to coast.

    • Ed

      And, on the flip side of that, there is a certain style of clothes that is often described as European. Racist? Just checking.

    • Blueathena623

      Dunno. I’m not the official decision maker on what is or is not racist. Sorry if you think I am. But if we are thinking of the same style, is it a style that arose come from people who have typically been persecuted, or people who have done ok?
      However, what style are we thinking of? I would consider the Italian style different from the British Isle style.

    • Paul White

      Italian would be lumped into the Mediterranean style, I suspect. At least if you’re talking architecture or art. But that isn’t what any of this discussion was about…it was about using the wildlife of a continent as a decor them for gods sakes.

    • Blueathena623

      I’m not sure if I would lump Italian style into a Mediterranean fashion style. Italy, Florence in particular, is pretty distinctive in its cuts and colors of fabric.

    • Guest

      By that reasoning Outback Steakhouse is distinctly racist then. Because they describe themselves an Australian-themed restaurant yet the ones I’ve been into don’t make any attempt to represent the thriving art scene in Melbourne, or the rich cultural traditions of the Torres Strait, or snow fields of NSW, or the beauty of rainforests in Northern Queensland.
      Australia is a continent and one big country. Choosing one of the more internationally recognisable aspects of its diverse culture and people, using it to market a restaurant chain and calling it Australian-themed still isn’t racist. It isn’t demeaning anyone or making inferences about racial inferiority.
      A bedroom that is decorated to reflect a father’s fond memories of his time in another continent, that is not demeaning anyone from that continent or making inferences that they are somehow inferior, doesn’t meet the definition of racism.

    • Blueathena623

      Ok.
      I’m not sure why everyone is asking me about racism. Never said it was or was not racism.
      And I can’t speak for black Africans because I am not one. However, if your father decided to decorate in the “Native American” style I described, you don’t get to decide what is or is not demeaning to another group of people.
      I find it odd that people keep giving examples and asking about racism, but its all white people examples.

    • Guest

      I didn’t give white people examples. I gave two examples which related to geographical locations, one which related to a widely multi-cultural city and one about the culture of the traditional land owners of the Torres Strait Islands.
      We are talking about racism because the article uses the word racism. And I still fail to see how invoking memories of a geographical location and it’s physical environment through nursery decoration has any negative connotation for the people of the continent. Nowhere did the article indicate that anyone involved thought elephants and rhinos are the be all and end all of Africa.

    • Blueathena623

      Outbreak stake house is not about aboriginals. It is all g’mate, which is a white person generalization.

    • Guest

      That’s the point. Outback Steakhouse invokes a white person generalization but calling it Australian themed is still not demeaning or implying inferiority of the traditional landowners of the nation. Just as calling a bedroom decorated with elephants and rhinos African-themed is not making any sort of implication against any of the people of Africa.

    • Blueathena623

      Just to make sure — you realize Africa isn’t a country, right?

    • Guest

      Yes, I have more than a basic kindergarten education. I am also aware that elephants and rhinos are not people, and that their habitat spans more than one country in Africa. Hence my reference to the continent and not any specific country. Also the basis of my argument, invoking a geographical description of a part of the natural environment is in no way demeaning to the human population of the continent.

    • eye roll

      Just to make sure – you realise that Australia is a continent, right?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      actually, outback steakhouse is all about giant friend onion thingies that look like flowers JESUS GET IT RIGHT (I JUST WANTED TO BE OUTRAGED FOR NO REASON)

    • Paul White

      people keep asking about racism because the article accused the People magazine article of being racist, since it characterized elephants and rhinos as African…which they are.

    • Blueathena623

      No, its because I had at let two, if not more, comments asking me directly “is this racist” and my response was “I don’t know.”

    • Ed

      From your other comments I get that you’re not saying you think it’s racist, but your original comment started with “I agree” and was a response to the post, which made the claim that calling it “African” was racist. That’s why my comments (and probably those of others) to you included a discussion about racism. I now see that this was something of a misunderstanding. I agree with you that calling it “African” is not very specific and that calling it “safari” would be more appropriate. And apparently neither of us thinks that it’s racist.

    • Blueathena623

      Well, that must be it. I was agreeing with the general idea that continent names are not great descriptors for decorating styles.
      But thank you for noting that I never said it was racist.

    • Mya

      They’re asking you because you and Rachel Sea are the only ones on here with an issue about it. How about taking a break, watch a movie or something, and move on?

    • Blueathena623

      I love how no one actually read my comments. I have flat out stated that I was not outraged, and that I did not know if it was racism. Yet there were a few comments asking me “is such and such racist”, hence my question as to why people were asking my if something is racist.
      Dude, I’m not frothing at the mouth angry at this. But its called a safari theme. I have NOOO idea why people are so upset at me correcting them that in terms of decor, it is called the safari theme. Whether or not you think African is racist or not, it is not the correct way to describe the theme. If you want this theme in your nursery, it is called the safari theme. Right now, to use an example of Paul’s above, if would be like saying you want to do a knights and castles theme, but you are calling it the Spanish theme. Its just the wrong term, period.

    • Guest

      Your initial comment started with “I agree” and was a direct response to a comment that stated “It’s racist”, which was a response to an article with the word racist in the headline. People are just following the flow of that conversation. Not sure why you’re surprised people are contributing with their thoughts as to why the term African-themed is not racist.

    • Blueathena623

      I am surprised since I’ve stated in several, several, several comments that I have no idea if it is racist. And my reply to her comment did not talk about racism, it talked about the stupidity of condensing a continent into one theme. And I really agreed with her next to last sentence about sticking a rooster in a room and calling it Italian themed. Because depending on the color scheme and other symbols used, it could in theory be a Portuguese-inspired room, since the rooster is a key symbol of Portugal.

      But this supports my belief that people see the word “racism” or “racist” and immediately people just write off whatever a person says instead of looking at it logically. I didn’t even use the word, and people are all “fuck you.”

    • Mya

      Dude…just get over it. Move on. Eat a piece of fucking cheese cake or do a shot or something.

    • break_time

      Why are you so intent on getting people to shut up about this? Perhaps you should also calm down.

    • Mya

      Lol, maybe I’m just a fucking racist. Maybe that’s it, hmm? All this over a kids nursery theme. FFS.

    • eye roll

      Nobody is talking about ‘Native American’. That’s a strawman that you brought up, and that you keep pushing even though nobody else has said a thing about ‘Native American design’. But, you know, keep accusing us all of being ignorant racists, that’s fun.

    • Paul White

      Bison aren’t actually exclusively plains animals; they used to range into mountains and forest too–covering the bulk of the continent. So you’d be correct in calling it an American theme. If memory serves they were absent from most of California and Nevada, but ranged from Alaska to Mexico.

      Elephants used to range over about 1/3rd of the continent; rhinos were more restricted. So it isn’t like either of those is tied to one country or even a couple of African countries, unlike the pyramids. They’re wildlife native to a large part of a vast continent (and not just tied to one particular ecosystem within that continent); decorating with them as a theme warrants calling it an “African” theme, just like bison and grizzly bears and bald eagles would be American theme or castles and knights would be a European theme

    • Blueathena623

      But castles and knights wouldn’t be called a European theme, it would be called a fairy tale theme. And if you want bison in your nursery you better ask for a prairie theme because you won’t get that if you ask for an American theme.
      If you decorate with animals, the theme is not tied to a country or continent. Thats just how it is done. Farm animal theme is not called Kansas theme. My woodlands theme is not called Germany theme or Europe theme.
      Why are people so adverse to acknowledging that this is not an African theme, its a safari theme?

    • Rachel Sea

      Because people hate to think of themselves as even a little bit racist.

    • Blueathena623

      Wow, you think? It is so amazing to me. Maybe they just aren’t posting, but I find it interesting that not one person is willing to concede that, yeah, actually it is kinda odd that we (and I’m making the general assumption that many of us our white Americans) in general just tend to assume/picture Africa is this totally homogeneous place. Maybe race plays a part, I dunno. Maybe because there is way more importance on European civilizations in school history books so we don’t learn this? Maybe American news stations don’t cover events in middle/southern Africa as well as events on other continents so we have a less developed idea of what goes on there?

      And lets be honest, if its *just* about where animals are located, call it Indian themed or, why not, Asian themed, cause they have elephants and rhinos there too.

    • Rachel Sea

      Some years ago there was a picture going around Facebook of a map of the world according to Americans. The generalizations were really funny in a look-how-culturally-illiterate-we-are kind of way, but the REALLY funny thing was that Africa wasn’t even on the map, and the posting I saw had well over a hundred comments before I pointed it out, at which point everyone was all “OMG, I didn’t even notice LOL.”

    • Rachel Sea

      I don’t have to be even slightly outraged to know a thing is racist. The fact is, most people don’t notice casual racism, because it’s ubiquitous. When I call a person out for blatant racism (like telling n*gger jokes) I invariably get yelled at for being so rude as to call a person racist. It’s not remotely surprising to me that people are all butthurt and insisting this can’t be racist, because people will make insane leaps of illogic to prove to themselves they aren’t racist (even when they have just told a racial slur based joke).

      If people don’t want to be perceived as racist, what they should really do, is listen when a person says a thing is racist. Even if it isn’t, nothing is lost by using more respectful terminology.

  • StarrySky

    They are talking about wildlife and vegetation. I thought racism had to do with people. Do animals and trees have a race?

    • Let me explain.

      But to say “bush + animals = Africa” supports stereotypes that Africa has no technology and sort of exoticizes an entire continent of people….The media has typically portrayed Africa as one giant lump of undeveloped safari where the people are just uncivilized and intermingle with animals and bush as if its nothing….And this is farthest from the truth. It’s sort of like making a room “America-themed” but all you use to decorate it is hamburgers and french fries and nothing else because that’s all people can think of when America comes to mind; this is pretty insulting because there’s more to America than hamburgers and french fries, right? And it would be an extra slap in the face since the British have such a nasty history of exploitation of many African countries’ resources….A history and social media class will help you understand all of this, dear.

    • Allie

      “A history and social media class will help you understand all of this, dear.”
      So don’t be “racist” but it’s okay to be a condescending asshole?

    • jack_sprat2

      The Gwyneth-ization of the Left.

  • Justme

    How about we focus on the fact that its kind of a lame decor to begin with?

    • Paul White

      hey, my decor as a kid was animal focused! I think it’s awesome.

    • Justme

      I just think finding cool boy decor is hard to find. Period.

    • Sundaydrive00

      I don’t think its a lame decor idea when it has personal meaning to the parents. They are sharing something they love with their child instead of picking out the first blue nursery crib set they come upon.

    • Justme

      I just think it’s a theme that has been done too much and doesn’t really grow well with the child.

    • Sundaydrive00

      Depends on how they do it. If its a whimsical cartoon animal theme, then no, it won’t grow with the child. But I don’t see the Royal family having a Babies R Us crib set. I think they could really do something great with the theme considering they could hire any interior designer they wanted. Incorporate some actual safari photgraphs, artifacts Prince William brought back from Africa along with cute stuffed animals and neutral bedding, and it could be great.

    • Justme

      Maybe. But I still don’t like animal themes.

    • jack_sprat2

      Because it’s failed so obviously with Bindi Irwin?

  • Stephen

    People are so desperate to be offended for other people now days. When the people of Africa start complaining about people magazine making a perfectly normal observation I will start to pay attention. However they do not give two flying fucks. Is this really what we have come to now? So desperate to find something we clutch to the most strenuous of links. The kkk still exists, gangs still exist, if you want to help stop racism target them.

    • Rachel Sea

      Because all social issues have to be dealt with in order of importance? Because it is not possible to pay attention to more than one thing at a time?

    • Mya

      Well THAT came out of left field. Seriously, wtf?

    • Rachel Sea

      The KKK, and gangs are not the only sources of racism. Stephen is suggesting that small acts of racism be ignored until the large issues have been resolved, which is just plain silly.

      You deal with the issues in front of you if they need dealing with, and humans’ ability to care about more than one thing at a time means I can care about a slightly racist misnomer at the same time as I care about the proliferation of white-supremacist hate groups, and socioeconomic injustice.

    • Mya

      Lol you crack me up.

    • jack_sprat2

      Keep your scarlet letters to yourself, along with your witch burnings, madam.

    • Unhappy Gilmore

      This doesn’t even qualify as a “thing” that needs to be dealt with!

    • jack_sprat2

      The white, Progressive people are often especially eager to do so ON THE BEHALF OF OTHERS, like so many cultural Imperialists, fighting a rear-guard action to maintain control over their own power to make the rules for the public square.

      Puritans. SMH. They NEVER give up their historic need to be judgmental of everyone else in their society.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    I could see racism if this involved people or cultures, but animals exist outside of human thought. If they called it South America themed and stuck jaguars and piranhas all over the place (and damn I think I just decorated my future nursery), or Australia with kangaroos and blue-ringed octopi (okay, is it bad parenting or good preparation for the future to have a World’s Deadliest Animals nursery?), no one would give a damn. They’re not saying it’s representative of any people who walk this earth, but nature.

    • Paul White

      Good preparation, definitely!

  • Roberta

    You know, I am one of the first to get upptiy about racism, but here I am having trouble seeing it. People Magazine didn’t say “African Tribal” or something like that. They said African, as in animals that live in Africa. Frankly, if they said Australian, and they filled the nursery with kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, I doubt anyone would bat an eye. I know that Africa has a tendency to be shrunk down into a homogeneous region by Westerners, but really, is it such a bad thing to say the room is African-themed when rhinos and African elephants are really only in Africa? Or would they satisfy everyone if they said Sahara-themed?

    • jack_sprat2

      Be a bit different if they used stock footage from the Tarzan movies of the 1950′s as a template.

  • Whit

    How is it racist? He is describing animals and an unique landscape found … in Africa.

    • Laura

      It’s racist because 2 people here want it to be.

  • Amber

    Ugh, one of my friends did a French theme for her nursery. She is such a fucking racist.

    • Kitiem3000

      What exactly does a French theme entail? Do you just give the baby a bottle with French wine and a few crackers with brie while the face of Jacque Cousteau gazes lovingly upon him/her from the ceiling?
      Cause that sounds awesome!

    • Blueathena623

      I thought a French theme has snails, lavender, bicycles, tons of red, white, and blue, and a whole bunch of kilogram weights in homage to the BIPM.

    • jack_sprat2

      Waiters doing rude things to patrons; women in arm-baring frocks, hirsute pits revealed with raised arms; scratch-and-sniff evidence of baths long delayed and perfume liberally applied?

  • http://www.whatwouldshethink.com/ Rachelle

    This whole *waves hands frantically* thing is just silly.

  • mel

    wow, I always thought “racist” meant categorizing a specific group of peopleculture in a negative light/stereotype with the intent to harm. Obviously, People magazine did not intend to harm anyone so it’s not right to call them racist. If the nursery is inspired by William’s passion of Africa, then wouldn’t it be logical to call it “African-themed”?
    Also, I’ve people say that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. I don’t know if this is true. If it’s not, then I agree that it was poor journalism. As for the “African-themed” quote, people are WAAAAY too sensitive and seriously need to get a thicker skin. Pretty soon, we won’t even be able to call the color black “black” because it’s clearly racist!

    • Mya

      BUT YOU’RE LUMPING A CONTINENT INTO A COUNTRY or something like that… !!!11!!1

      Am I the only one that finds the uproar over this hilarious?

    • mel

      haha I find it baffling. It is African-themed, which means that the nursery has elements inspired by Africa, not that it represents Africa as a whole. If an African family did an “American-themed” nursery with baseballs, hot dogs and chevys, would we call them racist? No, because while America is not just about these things but they are distinct elements that we would call “American”—hence American-themed. I think it’s the same thing here and people are trying to turn it into something it’s not.

    • jack_sprat2

      Thus, Americana. Thence, Africana. Elsewhere, Judaica.

  • lionspride

    Did you know calling something racist or problematic when its clearly not takes away from actual racism and thus causes people to….you know, think we are being irrational? So thank you for making it a bit harder to be taken seriously. Africa/African is a describing term used here to reference animals, It’d only be racist/problematic if it was used as a generalization for decor based on the tribal identities of say the Maasai and other African indigenous cultures.

    I do think it was wrong wording on the magazine’s part as the theme is called a Safari theme, but nothing wrong with labeling an animal where it comes from to specify. Especially since elephants and rhinos as they are both found in Africa as well as India so…to clarify one would need to call it an “African Elephant” or “African Rhino” . Its a continental descriptor.

  • Katia

    I love how you incorrectly call it jungle, but freak at People calling it African. About 80 comments saying wtf your point is stupid but you know that Africa is a continent so we must be wrong. Maybe everyone who disagrees does not know as much about africa, continents , nations, cultures and labels as the author. Either that or this article was a waste of space

    • Mystik Spiral

      That cracked me up too. There is a dearth of rhinos in the African jungle… lol.

    • jack_sprat2

      Que?! Somehow, I had always pictured rhinos flitting rapidly through the litter, dodging trees and brambles as they went, like the wild pigs in Bialowieza. Surely, bigger forests mean bigger varmints. No?

  • SDA

    It can’t be racist, it simply has nothing to do with race. Marginalizing a continent maybe, but racism, not even close.

    • Mya

      Careful, you’re probably going to be called a racist for saying its not racist (even though it truly, truly isn’t).

  • Unhappy Gilmore

    Are you serious? *facepalm*

  • VA Teacher

    This is dumb. If the nursery was going to be full of kangaroos and koalas, no one would bat an eye at “Australian-themed.”

    • ElleJai

      If that’s your idea of Australia I’d be more sorry for you than insulted.

    • VA Teacher

      Rude.

    • ElleJai

      That was a general “you” not a specific, VA Teacher “you”.

  • LOL

    I’m willing to bet that the majority of people in the comments section here that don’t see this quote (or misquote) as stereotyping and problematic are not African…. Please let African people tell you they don’t have a problem with it. Your privilege is showing…..

  • ElleJai

    I’m with LOL.

    I don’t know if it’s racist but ASK SOMEONE FROM AFRICA WHAT THEY THINK.

    I’m sorry but white people do not get to decide what is or isn’t racist. We have a shocking track record and we’re still the most privileged class for doing nothing other than insult, dehumanise and murder whole groups of alternate cultures.

    Obviously I haven’t and I’m guessing most of you personally haven’t engaged in such behaviour but the odds are good one or more of our ancestors did.

    • starrysky

      I am of European descent and have traced my ancestors back many, many generations. I find no indication that my family has participated in colonization or enslavement of indigenous peoples on any of the continents we have lived. As far as my family after arriving in the US, they were dirt poor potato farmers/loggers in the Northwest until my father joined the Army and eventually went to college on the GI Bill. I refuse to participate in your “white guilt” crusade. I treat people as I wish to be treated and confront inequality when I see it. That’s all I can do. Peace.

    • ElleJai

      I don’t feel guilty and I don’t think guilt is necessary. However silence when bad things are done is as bad as doing bad things.

      By moving to a country that had been colonised by white people, who then classified the original inhabitants as animals, and proceeded to attempt variations on genocide, my ancestors implied that that was A okay.

      How can I, as a member of a race who has collectively caused so much harm, then get the right to tell the people we oppressed whether or not something is offensive to them?

      It’s stupid. The while entire debate is stupid. Feelings don’t have to be rational to be valid and thus if someone is offended then DON’T SAY IT ANYMORE. Don’t argue about it.

      Australian whites don’t see how blackface is offensive. Doesn’t change it actually being offensive however.

    • starrysky

      While I can understand your logic and respect your viewpoint, I have to disagree. Some people (of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, etc) are apt to be offended by just about anything. I can try to be respectful, but I can’t live my life in fear of offending others. In this case, I spoke to some coworkers (one is Nigerian who is first generation in this country and is my boss) and not one, black or white, had a problem with this issue of the nursery article. We actually discuss race, religion and politics often, with many different viewpoints. I learn a lot from discussions like this, but I know and respect this group I work with and will take direction from them before I will take it from a stranger (no offense meant, but we don’t know each other) on the internet.
      Also, my ancestors were looking for food and freedom when they came here (based on letters that were handed down). They didn’t mention debating the politics of the region before deciding to land here. No one in my family, that I know of, thinks slavery and oppression are acceptable ANYWHERE.

    • ElleJai

      I will accept a majority vote regarding offensiveness. One person does not make a majority.

      Considering that I was raised to be open minded and tolerant of everyone, and there are still so many things I don’t realise are racist, I’ve given way to a recent debate in Australia. Which is that unless I am in the group being discussed it is absolutely not my call. Even #solidarityisforwhitewomen proves that I’m better off refraining from comment on these things.

  • rockout4jesus

    Newsflash to white people:

    You can’t win.

    No seriously, you can’t. You can say you are not racist. But you are. Secretly. Secretly deep down no matter how chill you are or how often you volunteer with children or donate to charity… you can never be a good person in some peoples eyes. You are a bad bad terrible person because you are white. And you should feel bad.

    If you vote republican, you are painted as some sort of terrible racist caveperson.
    But if you vote democrat you are a racist as well!

    If you are a Christian you are definitely racist. Everybody knows that all Christians are just uptight horrible homophobic racist mofos who need to get out more.

    This is the same kind of mentality that makes it totally fine for Lady Gaga (aka the poor mans Madonna) to wear a Nuns habit in a mocking way but everyone gets their panties in a wad when she decides to write a song about a burka.

    The social justice sallies get their panties into a wad over EVERYTHING.

    Person of color!!??? What does that even mean? Does that make me a person of no color? I can’t wait till they come out with the new PC terminology. Do they hand out manuals for this kind of stuff?

    You know what? ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP. How about this? I am going to start demanding, DEMANDING I SAY for people to start calling a person of great and brilliant luminescence (preferably with a British accent) or I will become HORRIBLY offended and yell terrible things at you to assassinate your character and to kill all possibility of a rational debate.

    Then I will snub my nose at all you of horribly uneducated peasants while I sit up in my lofty ivory tower and write some pseudo intellectual screed about “privilege” and about how horribly oppressed I am with my $100,000 a year salary plus benefits.

    Then all of you gullible idiots will buy my book for whatever ungodly reason so you can learn the new PC terminology and how to become a better social justice sally. Just what the world needs.

  • Allie

    He really should be doing an Indian-themed nursery since his father’s favourite uncle was the sub-continent’s last Viceroy.