The American Red Cross issued an apology today for a poster that some people found offensive because it appeared to portray what appear to be white children as "cool" and children of color were "not cool."
The poster, titled "Be Cool, Follow the Rules" — meant to promote pool safety — labeled children as "cool" or "not cool" depending on whether they followed pool rules.
The issue that many pointed out, however, was that all of the children labeled "cool" were white, while all of the children labeled "not cool" appeared to be people of color.
This sparked outrage on Twitter, with one user tweeting that the Red Cross should "send a new pool poster" because the current one is "super racist."
— John Sawyer (@JSawyer330) June 21, 2016
The Red Cross responded on Twitter, and issued a full apology today, saying it is very sensitive to the concerns raised.
@JSawyer330 Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’re removing this from our site immediately & are creating new materials.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) June 21, 2016
"We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day," the Red Cross said in a statement.
The organization also announced it has removed the poster from its website and Swim app and discontinued production, as well as requested partner facilities to take it down.
"We are currently in the process of completing a formal agreement with a diversity advocacy organization for their guidance moving forward," the organization added.
In its apology, the Red Cross mentioned its campaign to reduce the drowning rate in 50 high-risk communities by teaching at least 50,000 children and adults to swim. "With this campaign, we are focusing on areas with higher-than-average drowning rates and participants who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to take swim lessons," the group said.