To all the Americans experiencing high and mighty liberal indignation over Delta implying there are giraffes in Ghana, we ask: What image do you think of when you think of Ghana? This isn't a defense of Delta. The fact that giraffes were the only thing they thought to associate with the African nation (where they don't live) shows a particular kind of small mindedness – but this isn't anything new. The truth is, Americans are constantly using primitive shorthands for Africa that are rarely grounded in reality.
On Tuesday, Team USA beat Ghana 2-1 during a World Cup soccer game. Delta tried to get in on the action by sending out the tweet to the right. America was represented by the Statue of Liberty. Ghana, apparently one of the many jungle and/or safari nations of the world, got a giraffe.
Delta deleted the tweet and apologized, but a lot of people were outraged — not necessarily because Delta's tweet reduced Ghana's culture to an animal instead of one of its many landmarks, but because they picked the wrong animal.
Several sites, including Mashable, BuzzFeed, and Mediate, focused solely on that error, instead of the lazy representation it represented. Each site argued that the tweet was bad simply because there are no giraffes in Ghana. "The only problem with the airline’s photo choice? Giraffes don’t live in Ghana," wrote Mediate. If only Kenya has been playing, then Delta could have used their giraffe stock image and there would have been no problem.