Surveys, Race, and Banana Republic

Banana Republic Survey

I received an email regarding a survey last month from Banana Republic stating that “The Banana Republic is looking for a select group of shoppers to become Insiders!” I clicked on the survey link. I was immediately struck by the fact that the wording of the survey epitomized white privilege. Caucasian is the first choice on the race/ethnicity section. Why is it that so many surveys place “Caucasian” or “White” as the first choice for race? The options on this survey are not in alphabetical order and where in the heck is Native American / Alaska Native? Why can we only select one response? Perhaps the folks at Banana Republic didn’t realize that race and ethnicity are not the same thing and that multiracial people do exist!

I guess it’s clear who Banana Republic considers a “select group of shoppers.” Unfortunately, it’s not a huge surprise given the fact that the Banana Republic’s website features 99.9% white models. The only people of color that I could find on the Banana Republic website were on the BR’s parent company, Gap Inc., “Social Responsibility” page in reference to employees and factory conditions. Yuck!

    Could you please tell us which of the following best describes you?
    Please select one response.

  • Caucasian – this is usually easier for White people to check, especially since it’s the first choice.
  • African American
  • Hispanic or Latino – yes, the Banana Republic does not know that race and ethnicity are not the same.
  • Asian – sorry, the Banana Republic does not recognize “Asian American” as an identity.
  • Other – as in the Banana Republic does not recognize your identity as being important enough to recognize.