Last weekend we saw another mis-step in the advertising world.
If you didn’t see Dove’s Facebook ad, you can see it here.
Dove pulled it down, and apologized for the “racial insensitivity”.
Well. The ad is not just racially insensitive, it perpetuates (and is perpetuated by), systemic racism.
White is still seen as better.
The Black woman becomes a White woman.
In a society where White is the dominant culture, and anti-Black racism and White supremacy abound, it shouldn’t be hard to make the connection that this ad builds on the White-is-better idea. While it is true that the third woman is a person of colour (perhaps Persian?) the fact remains that the first woman is Black and she becomes White. That’s a problem.
The legacy of colonization
If the ad had started with a White woman and she became Black, it wouldn’t be problematic, and we wouldn’t be talking about it. This is the place where some people will say – why not? What’s the difference? The difference is centuries of colonization worldwide, and the legacy that lives on today in many forms including the belief that White is better.
But that’s not my point today.
My point is that this ad is the latest example of a stupid (and avoidable) mistake.
A question to ponder:
And so I want you to think about something:
Especially with the current “sexy” status of Diversity & Inclusion in the corporate world, how did this happen?
How did this ad make it past all the levels it would have had to, and “go live”?
In the meantime,