Was Delta’s World Cup Tweet Racist?

Delta is taking some heat tonight after a Tweet they made related to the World Cup match between the United States and Ghana.

To celebrate a goal by the US team, they used pictures to represent each country. Of course they used the Statue of Liberty to represent the US, while they used… a giraffe to represent Ghana.


They deleted that fairly quickly. A subsequent Tweet apologized for their “choice of photo.”


I still think Korean Air outdid them when they launched service to Nairobi, Kenya, in 2012. They invited us to enjoy “the indigenous people full of primitive energy.”

What do you guys think? Racist, lapse in judgment, or no big deal?

Filed Under: Delta, Media
  1. We need to stop dissecting every sentence we write, every post we make, and every tweet we send for “political correctness.”

  2. We have become so caught up with political correctness in America that even the most obscure interpretation is racist. I don’t even understand how that ad can be interpreted as racist. I agree with Truth- dumb yes. Racist? I don’t think so.

    The Korean Air ad on the other hand…

  3. giraffes in Ghana. Hehe. Reminds me of that joke a out an american flying in to LHR and looking down on to Windsor Castle and saying “wonder they built that castle so close to the airport?”

  4. It’s dumb due to giraffes not living there, but otherwise I think the tweet is not racist and being offended (sincerely, rather than just attention seeking) is a little racist.

    Giraffes are essentially a universally recognized symbol for a specific location, no different than the Statue of Liberty they also used, or a kangaroo, or the Great Pyramid, or a London double decker bus. The fact that some ignorant people are racist towards people that live on a continent that contains giraffes is immaterial, just like the Eiffel Tower is a non-offensive symbol despite some Americans associating it with cowardice, arrogance, etc.

  5. Please chalk my vote up with the growing consensus that it was biologically implausible but in no way racist. I mean seriously, can someone explain how this is possibly racist?

  6. Definitely not racist. Giraffes are symbol of Africa and a noble symbol at that. I would not be offended in the least to have a giraffe associated with and as a symbol for my country (or in the case of the US, a grizzly bear or a buffalo or an eagle). Using an indigenous creature as a symbol of a country is a dignified and long tradition.

    Unfortunately, it appears Delta’s social media team is not very well educated on the different animals in various African countries.

  7. Racist or not, the message is a blatant sign of ignorance about Africa.

    That said, I expect the “fury” — is there really any? — would be more substantial if some non-human primate was used. Why? Because soccer has a racism problem — at least in parts of Europe — which has players of ethnic African backgrounds being taunted with monkey calls, bananas, being called monkeys, and things like that.

  8. What a load of crap. Anyone who is upset b/c they believe this to be racist has proven themselves to be whining, sniveling, little babies with nothing better to do than look for ways in which they can claim to be offended. Give me a break. It’s a freaking giraffe.

  9. Man I wish I had the free time to sit and worry about crap like this. Oh wait – just like the free time I have to post that I don’t have the time to worry about this. Oops.

  10. the only thing you’re doing by posting this is enabling the idiots who use the race card every chance they get. absolutely ridiculous to raise any stink over this.

  11. mrredskin, it seems like you are raising a stink about this.

    Isn’t the use of the term “red skin” in sports considered racist by some? I am sure there have been some protests against its use and that plenty of Native Americans have issues about the “redskin” football and other sports teams that use such labels and stereotyped representations in their logos/mascots.

    It’s usually the racists who make the loudest stink about “race card”.

  12. Funny. Love how the stage is set that what any buffoon calls racist cannot be debated and called crap. This one is crap, and it is the race card being invoked, and it is but a small example of the race industry in the country. I state this as fact just as anyone can state as fact that anyone who calls bs is a racist: this isn’t racist and anyone saying it is has demonstrated themselves to have zero credibility, and I really, really love the giraffe as Ghana’s national symbol.

  13. @ Traveler — Not sure what was dumb about it? I’m not suggesting it was racist. I’m simply reporting the Tweet, mentioning that a lot of people are calling it racist, and am curious what you guys think. But I respect if you disagree.

  14. I am sure the social media division of Delta are all run by 20 somethings who have never been to anywhere.. and all they know of Africa is from the Disney movie “The Lion King” (1994) they saw when they were babes and of course they naturally think all African countries have Giraffes… imbeciles! (but not racist)

  15. If I was Ghanian I think I would be upset by this. First, we lose in the final minutes of our opening World Cup match. Then – when I’m already sad about the loss and just wanna drown my sorrows with a cold Star beer and a warm hug from my pet giraffe – those pompous jerks over at Delta remind me that I don’t even have a giraffe. Talk about salt on an open wound.

  16. Black woman here. Haha. I just chuckled that I said that. I don’t think it’s racist aka promoting racial hatred. It is hella ignorant though.

  17. Ignorant, but not racist (Jackson-Sharpton circus be damned). The second gaffe (i.e., “sorry for our precious tweet”) leads me to believe that carelessness (and not racism) is to blame. As for the Korean ad, those folks know a thing or two about being on the receiving end of racism (read up on Korean/Japanese history, past and present). I don’t know Koreans to be racists. I would instead write their ad off to a poor command of the English language. “Primitive energy” probably doesn’t sound wrong to a non-native speaker.

    I am so utterly tired of people who play the race card at every opportunity. I didn’t vote for Obama, but I was very optimistic that he might help to end this madness (something about breaking glass ceilings…) I should have known better. American society rewards people who advocate this sort of B.S. We can thank the likes of CNN/NBC/ABC/CBS, et al, for propagating racial tensions in this country.

  18. I am surprised, Lucky, that you would ask the question at all. Do you REALLY want to know what your readers think on this topic? Especially given that you aren’t interested in telling us your own opinion?

    These types of “are you offended” type questions brings out the worst in anonymous posters, and as the vast majority of the posters are unqualified to answer whether a picture of a giraffe is offensive to Ghanians, it seems a pointless exercise in “click bait”.

  19. racism – “discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race.”

    I don’t see how using a giraffe as a symbol for Ghana falls in to the above.

  20. Peetyrd – you can’t define it…it’s a feeling and if you’re not part of the group that might feel offended you cannot opine. Learn the rules.

  21. Agree it was ignorance on their part, but I didn’t know giraffes were not native to Ghana until I looked it up. But I’m sure every poster here who mentioned that fact knew immediately this was the case, right?

    For fun, should’ve shown the national animals for both the US and Ghana – both eagles.

  22. @gobluetwo: I’m sorry but I think this comment is a little bit of a stretch. Before you looked it up, did you assume that giraffe’s were native to Ghana. Do you assume that giraffes are native to any other country before looking it up?

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