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Target pulls item that mislabeled Black history icons after viral post

Target removed a product from its shelves after a teacher found its illustrations of Civil Rights figures were mislabled.
Target pulls item that mislabeled Black history icons after viral post
Posted at 7:21 PM, Feb 01, 2024

A teacher went to Target to find her students an educational activity for Black History Month — but it was a corporation or two who ended up facing her history lesson.

In a now-viral TikTok, the teacher, Issa Tete, said she bought a magnetic learning activity book called "Civil Rights" from her local Target, but when she opened it, she noticed many of the key historical figures in Black history were mislabeled. 

The video shows the U.S. history teacher, who said she also studied social studies, pointing to a number of Black figures illustrated on magnets in the video, then pulling up a true photo of the name listed — and it's clear the name and face do not match.

@issatete Idk who needs to correct it but it needs to be pulled off the shelves nontheless. Any person could have missed the mistake but it just takes one person to point it out and ask for corrections #blackhistory #blackhistorymonth #blacktiktok ♬ original sound - Issa tete

For example, Tete says the illustration labeled Carter G. Woodson, one of the first scholars to study African American history, is actually an image of scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, whose unique mustache and beard is featured in the illustration labeled Woodson.

It's the same for the image labeled for Du Bois, which actually features an illustration of prominent Black leader Booker T. Washington. The magnet labeled for Washington, Tete shows, is actually the correct image of Woodson. 

Meanwhile, other magnets in the magnet book do appear to be correct, such as the illustrations of Malcolm X and Rosa Parks. 

Tete says in the video that she understands mistakes happen, and later repeated she didn't blame Target for the mistake. But she urged the company or whoever was in charge of the magnet book's creation and distribution to take it off the retailer's shelves and correct its mislabeling, especially as its Black History Month

"I was not going to let that slide for my 200 students, and I'm not going to let it slide for my two babies who I'm responsible for teaching," Tete said in another TikTok post.

SEE MORE: Meet the 10-year-old author shaping Black history through books

Commenters agreed, with one saying "This is infuriating!!!! That's how you know this Target BHM display is just to throw something up there," while others blamed the maker of the product.

Tete's video and the public's reaction soon led to action, with Target confirming to Scripps News it had removed the magnet book from its offering.

"We will no longer be selling this product in stores or online. We've also ensured the product's publisher is aware of the errors," a Target spokesperson said in a statement.

Bendon Publishing, which created the "Civil Rights" product, hasn't commented on the errors. One commenter on Tete's original video, who says she's a teacher who also bought the product for students, said the company told her they were "looking into it" when she notified them of the mistakes.

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