Hallmark Responds to YBW About The Father’s Day Card for Black Women

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Many of you read my article today about the “interesting” decision by Hallmark to release a Father’s Day card for black women.  I didn’t reach out to the company to request an explanation, but apparently, they enjoy reading articles about themselves on the Internet.

So, out of fairness to Hallmark, I decided that  I would publish the email they sent to me so everyone who had an opinion on the greeting card would be able to hear their perspective.   Their words seem interesting enough, but I can say as a Finance Professor that the goal of nearly any corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth.  We’d be silly not to expect Hallmark (like many other companies) to see the dollar signs behind black families that are falling apart, as they seek ways to create a holiday out of just about anything.

I’d love to find out if the person who wrote this email is African American, but based on what I know about this company’s diversity numbers, they probably are not.   I would say that a lack of corporate diversity could be the culprit of such insensitive behavior, but more often than not, racially-irresponsible corporate products are often created by African American marketing professionals.  I’d also suspect that any black employees of Hallmark are either not empowered to speak out on offensive products or simply care more about earning a paycheck than defending the integrity of the black family.   That’s the trap we all fall into when we sell our souls for the corporate paper chase.

Their letter from Hallmark is below:

Dr. Boyce,

We read your column with interest and thought it might be helpful to share some additional information with you.

Hallmark’s goal is to offer cards for the wide range of our consumers’ relationships so that everyone who wants to connect with others in positive ways can find a card to meet their need.  For years, consumers have expressed a desire for cards addressing this relationship, and we’ve offered them for the past several seasons.  The Mahogany Father’s Day collection included 66 cards to help people honor dad and other special men in their lives, and that selection included two cards recognizing mom. Please note that our general Hallmark Father’s Day line also included a “To Mother on Father’s Day” card and several “Like a Father” cards to acknowledge those who play a father-like role in someone’s life.

We’ve shared your post and the discussion in the blogosphere with the Mahogany team.  It’s always helpful to have insight from varying perspectives as we plan selections to meet people’s card-sending needs.

Thank you,

Kristi Ernsting
Public Relations | Hallmark Cards, Inc.
816-274-8272 | M: 816-304-5567 | kernst1@hallmark.com

  • Pembry7

    Other racial and ethnic groups do what they must to protect the integrity of there own family members, both the mothers and the fathers, this kind of marketing is designed to do further damage the to the black family by minimizing the significance of the Black Male (Father). Black women should not support this, if they do then they are as much at fault and are as much a part of the assault on Black males as Hallmark. I don’t know of any fathers that have expressed that they want,or need cards, accolades, or acknowledgement for anything on Mothers day, in fact as a rule we protect and cherish the women in our lives with absolute acknowledgement of the love, the nurturing and all of the hard work that the mothers, sisters and all of our women put into our children and families every day.   

  • Arneader

    My lesbian cousin called and wished me a “Happy Fathers Day”.  Though divorced I was taken aback by the warm welcome because my son has a father who is active in his life.  I am a single mom not a father. 

  • Anisha

    This letter and its reasoning for these cards, while still showing the companies ignorance (or belief that we are ignorant enough to believe them), would only be believeable (minimally), if I could find the same cards with silhouettes of obviously caucasion women, or if there were cards that just flat out depicted women of all races…since single mothers occur in all races.  I often buy cards from the Mahogany collection because they’re the only cards that depict black people, more or less.  But I am more than sure that where black people have openly protested the lack of color from greeting cards, we did not ask for a card of this kind.  And I’d bet money (and I’m not a betting woman).  Especially since we don’t celebrate being a single mother as a community (in most scenarios).

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.frink1 Rachel Frink

    In my family if there is a single black mom, we all call and wish her a happy fathers day as well as happy mothers day, basically because she has been both mother and father to her child/children.  I feel honored when my 3 girls call and wish me happy fathers day.  Do I want to pay hallmark for a card for this occasion?  Not even.  Do I pay hallmark for a mothers day card?  Not even.  I am a mother 365 a year and one day does not call for me to spend money.  It’s the thought that counts.  So don’t trip over some comments made by a white-owned company who desires to make money from some ghetto sisters.  Look at all the companies that sell black artifacts, make-up, artwork, etc,  and if you did your research you would probably find that they are white-owned.  So there it is my friends. 

  • Celia783

    There is no way a mother can be a father. She may have to raise a child alone for various reasons, BUT a mom can not be a dad. I am a single mom but there were things I could not teach my now adult sons simply because I am a woman viewing things from a woman’s perspective. I can teach them all I know, all I can gather from various sources including the men who has helped raise me. BUT a man’s input/life experience is invaluable and irreplaceable. This card tends to make ‘some’ women believe their child is not in need of a man if he is gone and she remains behind to do the job to the best of her ability. This card is a slap in the face to the black family. 

    They just lost one customer and any I can ward off as I cruise the Hallmark Mahogany collection.

    (We all should be emailing the contact person and posting here for effective feedback)

  • Anonymous

    I think we need to scrap “Mothers Day” and “Fathers Day.” These holidays were meant to make money for corporate interest. Everyday should be a day to honor Mother and everyday should be a day to honor Father—regardless to whether the Mom or Dad is present or absent—honor thy Mother and Father as the vessel God saw fit to bring us here that our days may be long and forget European holidays designed to exploit our pocket books and in this case, our fragmented families. These White folks got us arguing over these divisive cards–heck! Let’s declare everyday Mothers Day/Fathers day and don’t buy anymore cards (especially these cards).    

  • MXL

    “Please note that our general Hallmark Father’s Day line also included a “To Mother on Father’s Day” card and several “Like a Father” cards to acknowledge those who play a father-like role in someone’s life.”

    So have any of you looked into whether or not the claim quoted above is true? If not, it would seem to me that you’re all flying off the handle without having all the information. It’s not “insensitive” to us or “racially irresponsible” if a parallel card exists for their general (read: White) card buyers. If the claim proves false, then we should certainly be up in arms. But let’s get ALL the information before we go screaming racism so we don’t end up looking stupid.

  • Really??
  • Poetee

    Hi am so disturbed by anyone thinking this is remotely ok to have a fathers day card for mothers. It sends the wrong message to women and it is insulting to me as a Black woman to think Hallmark think they can make enough profit by catering to such a foolish notion that a woman can be a father to a child. A woman without a father in the home home has to be in more places, has to do more, but to indicate this necessitated extra duty adequately substitues in the place of the father is so far from truth.
    Hallmark using this as catering to Blacks further insults me being in the role of the single mother after a divorce as my father and other fathers have been and are there for their children. I am confused as to how there needs to be a distinction between exceptional mothers and exceptional fathers by having a mother being honored on a fathers day or a father being honored on a mothers day?
    What is next, we will all be celebrating December 25 as a great day to be born?
    I think a boycott is in order if this insult continues. My request is to all people who consider themselves Black or African American to really think about what message we send our children when we even hint at the idea that some how because mom is left hanging it’s ok. This is the message that will be implanted in our kids and it will further deteriorate our people for generations to come. Seriously ladies who have had to hold the fort down by yourself, stop saying you are the mom and dad and stick with being a hell of a mom. Truth be told, some of us said yes to men who should have never been considered for fathers by anyone.