What to Read Next

Gap’s Manifest Destiny t-shirt offends customers

Lia Grainger
Shine On
October 16, 2012

The GAP is in all kinds of trouble for selling a plain black T-shirt bearing the words "Manifest Destiny."

For those in need of a history refresher, the phrase was used in 19th century America as both an ideology and slogan for the genocide of thousands of the country's First Nations people. It basically flat-out stated that it was the destiny of North America to be colonized by the Europeans, at the expense of Native lives.

And so it would seem to make no sense whatsoever for that slogan to appear -- unexplained -- on a T-shirt in the GAP's special new line produced in partnership with GQ by designer Mark McNairy. And yet there it was!

Also see: 'Sassy Big Bird' costume flying off retailers' shelves

The complaints started rolling in pretty much immediately, reports Indian Country Today Media Network.

An online petition produced by Corine Fairbanks of the American Indian Movement in Southern California requests that the shirts be pulled and an apology issued.

"We are asking GAP to realize that by selling this shirt, it indicates that the company is either racist, and/or ignorant, and/or insensitive to the true meaning of the phrase."

That petition currently has more than 4,000 signatures.

For others, no amount of apologizing can make up for the shirt.

"Maybe a friend of mine is right," writes William S. Yellowrobe, a native poet and playwright, in a comment published by Indian Country Today Media Network. "GAP should come out with a 'Final Solution' T-shirt, or a 'Got Slaves,' T-shirt. Because this issue involves Native people specifically, maybe GAP hopes there will be no one to call them on it…"

Artist and filmmaker Steven Paul Judd also had some stern words.

"See, what they see as a clever little shirt on 'how the west was won' or maybe a 'YOLO, make your own destiny' type of shirt — Is not what I see. I'm sadden [sic] to think about what my ancestors went through because of the 'manifest destiny' mindset, and even more sadden [sic] to know that the effects of it can still be felt today."

Also see: Worst 'sexy' Halloween costumes

So how did this come about?

Salon reports that the designer of the T-shirt, Mark McNairy, initially responded to the complaints with the following insanely offensive Tweet.

"Manifest Destiny! Survival of the Fittest!"

That tweet has since been deleted, and he followed it up with the following apology.

"I am sorry for my survival of the fittest comment. It hurt me deeply to be called a racist as that is not me. I reacted without thinking."

The GAP has pulled the shirts from stores and online, but has yet to issue an explanation or apology. It did respond to Salon's coverage of the issue with the following statement.

"Saw your story and wanted to let you know that the 'Manifest Destiny' t-shirt by Mark McNairy, offered through the GQ partnership, will no longer be sold in Gap stores or online.  We value all customer feedback, and wish to emphasize that our intention was not to offend anyone."

Whether GAP will publicly apologize remains to be seen.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Toddler tantrum email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track for advice on how to handle different situations that may arise with your little one.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Medicare Supplement Plan F is the most popular plan option, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

I need a boyfriend over 50

No games. Just real women looking for a mature guy. Find the right dating site for you!

Trade U.S. equities online for just $7.95

Fidelity is lower than TD Ameritrade, Schwab and E*Trade. Open an account today.

Earn A Degree At Your Own Pace

By moving at your own pace and using any academic resources you choose, FlexPath allows you to leverage what you know as you earn your degree. 

Buying Medicare Supplement Plan F? Read This First

Learn why Medicare Supplement Plan F might not be your best plan option.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Time is Running Out

Just 7 days remain to enter for a shot at $5,000 A Week “Forever.”

Surprising Rule Helps People In Credit Card Debt

This industry-sponsored rule helps protect people with massive credit card debt.