Slavery is one of the most heinous things to have happened in this country, but for some reason, Ancestry.com thought it might be a good idea to ask the question, “But was it all bad?” (Yes. Yes, it was.)
The offensive ad, called ‘Inseparable,” shows a black woman, a slave presumably, secretly meeting up withand talking about running away to safety with a white man. Yes, that is how they chose to portray slavery, the white guy is somehow the good side.
“We can escape to the North. There’s a place we can be together, across the border,” the man says and then adds, “Will you leave with me?” before the video fades to black.
And then the words, “Without you, the story stops here,” appear on the screen.
ooooh my god LMAOOO who approved this ancestry commercial??? pic.twitter.com/Isy0k4HTMA— manny (@mannyfidel) April 18, 2019
The reaction on Twitter was generally outrage and disbelief, with people pointing out that this was a whole lot of revisionist nonsense.
What the hell is this @Ancestry?— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 18, 2019
Why do white people insist on romanticizing my Black female ancestors experiences with white men during slavery?
They were raped, abused, treated like animals, beaten, and murdered by white men. Stop with the revisions.pic.twitter.com/cDEWdkzJPm
nobody:— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) April 18, 2019
ancestry dot com: how can we overly romanticize & create an irresponsible, ahistorical depiction of the relationship between white men & black women during the period of chattel slavery that completely disregards its power dynamics & the trauma of sexual exploitation? https://t.co/s5BqnoSg9x
Oh y’all wildin wildin https://t.co/qXG9LNqvFz— Desus Nice (@desusnice) April 18, 2019
— justin michael jerome (@JstnMchl) April 18, 2019
— Euron has several STIs (@bennsintheroad) April 18, 2019
They generally don’t allow people in those meetings who would find these things wrong— Nikki (@thatnikkibeach) April 18, 2019
People definitely had questions.
I have so many questions about this @Ancestry commercial. 1) Is she his slave? 2) is this a real story? 3) is she his slave? 4) did this test well in focus groups? 5) who were in these focus groups? 6) was there no other scenario that could illuminate the value of DNA testing? https://t.co/lOBzueu3JZ— Melissa Murray (@ProfMMurray) April 18, 2019
But pretty much everyone was in agreement that Ancestry.com had easily one of the most white-washed, ill-informed takes of all time.
While it’s true that 1 in 4 black folks who test their male line through DNA end up finding a white man, it ain’t because of no damn slavery love story. I’m so tired of y’all. https://t.co/UwknpDDniL— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) April 18, 2019
And comedian Desus Nice (of Showtime’s Desus & Mero) imagined another Ancestry.com commercial:
White man: you can’t sit here!— Desus Nice (@desusnice) April 18, 2019
Rosa parks: why not?
White man: because you already have a place......in my heart.
*ancestry dot com logo with a soft fade out*
The commercial was released earlier this month, as BuzzFeed reported, but it didn’t garner much attention until it started getting posted to social media this week.
Ancestry pulled the ad from its YouTube account on Thursday and was reportedly in the process of getting it pulled from TV, too.
The company also issued an apology, telling PEOPLE, “Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history. This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused.”