Apparently Racist Ads

31. marts, 2008


Christopher Ejugbo

I wish to use this medium to express my reservations and shock over the recent upsurge in the number of racist or apparently racist advertisement .

We live in a world and in a society where stereotyping, prejudice, and intolerance abide. We can all see the manifestations of these acts in racially motivated violence, discrimination, humiliation, xenophobia, and social exclusion that are all rampant in our society today. These acts without a doubt create tension and discord for all of us; this is not what we are striving for.

In light of the above, it is therefore very imperative that businesses, especially large companies pay attention to the various interpretations of the messages they send through advertising. We cannot afford to be seen as supporting activities that keep the society divided, make a certain group an object of amusement, jeering, despise and displeasure for others. We expect companies to show their commitment to social cohesion and tolerance in the society, and distance themselves from any activities that might be interpreted otherwise.

The recent advertisement, despite the debates on whether it is clearly a form of racism or not definitely leaves room to be interpreted as such. And, a substantial part of the society sees it as such, and their opinion cannot and should not be neglected.

It is indeed the absence of commitment that leaves the rest of us wondering whether these messages are not intentional. We look forward to a time when companies will openly advertise themselves as equal opportunity employers and be more proactice in building a society void of racism and discrimination. Until this is done, we are left to wonder what is behind catchy slogans created to attract customers.

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