This ad was brought to my attention by an article on boingboing, and it got me thinking.
There is no doubt that some people have been offended by it but I personally don’t see what all the fuss is about.
Now this ad was displayed in Amsterdam but, no surprises here, most of the outcry seems to be coming from America where there is a lot of PC self-consciousness about proving to everyone that you’re not racist and a lot of African-Americans who seem to have a slightly shaky relationship with white Americans.
The major argument by those that think its racist are the following.
- It implies the use of ‘black’ and ‘white’ to describe skin colour (dude they’re perfectly viable descriptive terms not racist expressions of hate)
- It shows a white person dominating a black person.
Given the history of black slavery in America the second argument is understandable although still a little stupid. The first thing to keep in mind is that to the average European the idea of racism is so far from their mind that the only thought of black and white upon seeing this ad would be “what a visually effective contrast” which is exactly what sony were trying to do.
Now personally I think this visual would have had more impact and I think that there would have been none of the outcry over the image.
Racism is treating a person or making judgements about a person based on race.
So if you were offended by this ad, and would not have been offended by the ad if the two women swapped roles. Then you are racist.