By Lylah M. Alphonse
"Unfortunately, the meaning of my 'Manifest Destiny' T shirt has been misconstrued and the sentiment behind it grossly misunderstood," McNairy posted on Twitter on Tuesday, blatantly disregarding his "survival of the fittest" quip. "I first learned of Manifest Destiny in American History in Junior High School. To me it has always meant that one could set goals, work hard, and achieve their dreams. Having the opportunity to design for the Gap was the realization of one of my dreams. This phrase and they way I used it was in no way meant to be offensive or hurtful, and I apologize to those who might have interpreted it in that manner."
Dear Mark McNairy: The term "Manifest Destiny" does not mean what you think it means. (Also? Your junior high school history teacher is weeping right now.)
While it might be nice to think that it's some sort of inspirational mantra, maybe based on The Law of Attraction—Create your own life path! Manifest your destiny!—as McNairy and the PR department of Gap, Inc., have learned, "Manifest Destiny" actually refers to the mid-19th century mindset that white Americans had a divine obligation to claim as much of the continent as possible for themselves, slaughtering and oppressing native people in the process.
Some tweets responded to McNairy's semi-apology:
Hey @mmcnairy, since you didn't bother to Google "Manifest Destiny" I did it for you. Read before you speak again. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_destiny #Gap
Is it just me, or did @mmcnairy just pull a "I'm sorry you're angry"? NOT an apology man...#Gap
Among other problems, he thought the Civil War was fought over stripes vs. solids, and the First Amendment says, "Do whatever feels good."