Has “baby daddy” become an acceptable term of endearment?

American Greetings, an Ohio-based greeting card company, apparently thought it had and put those words in big pink letters overlaid on a picture of a black couple kissing on the cover of a Father’s Day card. But customers, some of whom saw the card in Target stores and shared their outrage on social media, said it was racially insensitive and missed the mark since the term "baby daddy" often refers to deadbeat or absent fathers.

“You CANNOT be serious Target!!!!” Takeisha Saunders, a Dallas-area woman posted on Facebook in a post that has since been widely shared. “This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!!”

The flareup prompted Minneapolis-based Target to decide last week to begin removing the card from the half of its 1,800 stores where it was sold. This week, American Greetings also said it will pull the card from the thousands of other mass, grocery, and drug stores where it was sold.

“We want all guests to feel welcomed and respected when they shop at Target,” Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, wrote in a statement. “We were made aware of some concerns about this card last week and are working with our vendor to have it removed from Target stores. We appreciate the feedback and apologize. It’s never our intent to offend any of our guests with the products we sell.”

Patrice Molnar, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, said the card was new to its assortment and the company apologizes for any offense taken. She noted that the inside of the card makes clear it’s addressed to a loving husband.

“You’re a wonderful husband and father – and I’m so grateful to have you as my partner, my friend, and my baby daddy! Happy Father’s Day,” the inside of the card reads.

Still, she said the company acknowledges that the front of the card, taken out of context, “can communicate an unintentional meaning that we are strongly against perpetuating and is not consistent with our company purpose and values. We should do better in the future, and we will.” 

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