Inclusivity, Intent, and Dove's Racist Advertising

Inclusivity, Intent, and Dove's Racist Advertising

Dove's problematic advertisement is receiving backlash all over the internet.

Many Brands have taken it upon themselves to become more inclusive of all people in their advertising campaigns; however, all progress comes with many setbacks, and it just so happens that many of these setbacks are racist in context. Dove, Shea Moisture, and Pepsi to name a few of the brands who are responsible for problematic advertising, have all spoken out against the ads they previously posted stating that it wasn’t their intention to make a racist advertisement, but the damage had already been done making these textbook examples of intention versus impact.

Perhaps Dove did make the mistake they claimed to not realize was a mistake, but this is a spilt milk situation or maybe a chocolate-milk situation. The advertisement that Dove recently released on Facebook depicts a Woman of Color removing her shirt and as the shirt is removed a Caucasian woman appears where the Woman of Color once was, and during the entire advertisement a Dove bottle was placed in the lower right-hand corner. At first glance this seems harmless, but that is only if someone is oblivious to the history of skin whitening and the desire for fair skin by using bleach and cleaning products as an attempt to wash away melanin.

There is a dark history in America of fair skin being preferred over darker skin, of course racism is a factor in this, but specifically speaking about the Black community and internalized racism this advertisement plays upon that preference. The desire to have fair skin is one constructed in a society that favors people who possess this ineffectual trait, and in the recent Dove advertisement this fallacious desire for fair skin is fully depicted. The context of skin whitening and the preference for fair skin is a phenomenon that is talked about frequently in the black community, which is my main concern for the advertisement because it not only reveals how oblivious Dove is but it also may suggest that no people of color were involved in the creation process of the advertisement other than the actor of color included in the beginning, who seems annoyed that the advertisement was being misinterpreted.

How could a brand that preaches about inclusivity not employ people whom they are trying to include? Shea Moisture is another brand responsible for the same misstep, and it’s troubling to think that this will not be the last time a story of this caliber, so what is the solution to this problem? Ironically, the solution is the exact purpose of the advertisements in the first place, diversity, not just on camera but behind the camera and all throughout an organization. If certain voices are left out of a conversation and only present to save face issues such as this advertisement will continue to occur.

The advertisement “missed its mark” as placed by Dove execs who apologized for the ad, but that doesn’t free them for what they did. In situation such as this where intent differs from impact it seems only fair to forgive those who committed the transgression, but it’s not that simple when the issue harms other in the process. Intent is inconsequential when dealing with the impact of that action. Dove’s apology is far from change they are empty words, and this is something observed by many twitter users who have planned to boycott Dove for the time being.

Dove apologized for the offensive advertisement, but what will they actually do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future?

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Being A White Female In Today's Society Is Not All Fun And Games, Fact

I am not here to create a "woe is me" situation, I am just here to explain.

Living in today's society is a tricky situation. We are constantly told to practice our freedom of speech, but when we do, words are twisted and motives are assumed. The words "racist," "entitled," and "offensive" are thrown around like nothing.

Being a white girl living in the middle class makes these situations that occur in society much more difficult. We are held to a certain standard, life stories are assumed about us, stereotypes and stigmas are enforced without any valid reasoning.

I'm a white female majoring in engineering and living in the middle class. Through my time here at Florida Gulf Coast University, I have been able to mature. My eyes have been opened to many different cultures and backgrounds; I am intrigued by it. I love seeing the different cultures interact and mesh on campus, I find it truly beautiful. These cultures have enhanced my respect for my own cultures as well.

It has also opened my eyes to the different standards and stigmas I am held to.

I was recently told that it is very vulnerable of me to write some of the pieces I do, "especially being a white girl in today's society."

That phrase made me stop and think. What did they mean?

It is not just a rumor that different cultures and races are targeted within today's society. It is often seen that white females are at an advantage in society. This is not always true.

I am a 20-year-old, white, female engineering student, and life is more difficult than ever.

Being a female, I am typically seen as less knowledgeable than my male peers in my engineering courses.

In most of my classes, there will be a mere four or five girls in a classroom of 30 or more people. Most people have said that I am at an advantage because I am a "minority" attempting to succeed in this career field. I do not feel that is true. I feel that, as a female, I need to prove myself more than my male peers, that I have to make a name for myself and show others that I can succeed, regardless of how much I may struggle.

This relates to the ideas of scholarship and job opportunities at the college age.

I pay for college on my own with little help from my parents, this is because I feel that it is my duty to pay for my own education, and I take full pride in that.

Yes, I have a scholarship that allows me to have some comfort in paying my tuition. But, I have never received a scholarship for the color of my skin or my gender.

Of course, there are scholarships out there for being a female studying STEM, but I have not received one. I am not here to create a "woe is me" situation, I am here to explain that being a white female in today's society is not all fun and games.

Females still deal with inequality, sexism, catcalling, and more.

Newsflash, yelling at a girl on the street to get her attention will not make you look sexy or appealing, it will make you look appalling and disrespectful.

I am here to explain how every culture and gender and background and community has their own ups and downs. One community should never be targeted for a specific situation or event. A small group of individuals should never define a whole community. I was called vulnerable for the way I portray myself through my writing, and I take an immense amount of pride in that. I am not afraid to share how I feel or how I view things.

Others may not agree, and that is OK. We should be mature enough in today's day and age where we can acknowledge opposing views and opinions, and instead of bashing them, try to understand them.

Every individual on this Earth was raised differently; we all have different ideas and views on the same controversial topics, and that is OK. We will never be a uniform society, and that is what makes us unique.

Cover Image Credit: Pexel

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A Letter To Dr. King

Your dream is very much alive and still in progress.

Dear Brother in Heaven,

I write to you today with enormous gratitude and concern. As your birthday approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the hard-fought battles in our war against racism, oppression, and injustice. I write with gratitude because the echoes from your numerous speeches still influence our ears today.

The ink on your "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" made a genius and nearly perfect blueprint for our nation as a unit, and the paths that you traveled during your countless peaceful protests are still guiding many of us 50 years later.

However, I am concerned because there is not enough of us today following your generation’s lead. I’m afraid that over time we have strayed away from the main principles which were demandingly fought for; justice, freedom, love, equality, and unity.

I vigorously feel that we all need a reminder from time to time of all the things you’ve done for us, and there is no better time than now. We lack the leadership that is vitally needed in order for our voices to truly be heard and for change to genuinely takes place. I write this letter to you as a young, confident yet nervous Afro-Latino man.

Confident that the issues we are facing as a nation will be solved. Nervous because unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how. It has been 50 years since you’ve been gone, and many magnificent events have occurred. But as you know from first-hand experience, dark occasions come hand and hand with these substantial happenings.

The media is blinding my generation from the truth and what is candidly important. All of the characteristics that your generation fought stupendously hard for have been washed down the faucet due to many factors that are still being discovered today.

One of the main factors is my generation being secluded from our real history and current events that really matter. Most of our information comes from social media platforms which at times are served to us as biased and misinformed pieces from the actual story. This leads to millions of people sharing and telling a story that is halfway true and believing it just because they saw it on Twitter or Facebook.

Another factor of our downfall is the attention which is spent on minor issues. We spend a lot of time discussing topics which do not affect our lives in any way. Then we complain when our government doesn’t shed enough light on the major issues.

Issues such as police officers murdering innocent unarmed people and walking away with no consequence, women still earning less money for doing the same job as a man, and white supremacists sending death threats to Colin Kaepernick for expressing his political beliefs in the utmost respectable way. These are the essential problems which we should all be concerned about.

Instead of putting the fire out, we continue to fuel it. Knowing that our leader is not interested in helping us, we still feed him the attention that he strategically wants to receive. I don’t even know where to begin with his ignorance, stupidity, and inhumane actions which can truly be turned into an entire separate letter. But this letter is not for him or anyone like him.

This letter is for you, to thank you as well as update you on the status of our seemingly everlasting fight for justice and to ask for guidance. Lord knows we need it now more than ever. We need fewer people trying to confront Donald Trump on Twitter and more people actually making a difference in their communities, influencing change for the better on a much more personal level. We need more people leading by example just as your generation executed so greatly.

2017 felt like a huge step backward compared to the previous eight years. Although the Obama years weren’t flawless by any means, (what president actually had a perfect campaign?) it certainly did feel like progress was moving forward and we were heading in the right direction. Many of the issues today were very much alive during the previous presidency, but I feel that even more have emerged from underneath the carpet due to the enraged tension between us and Trump.

I must say, I am glad that he is president. I feel that as a nation we needed a monumental wakeup call and he is the loudest most ignorant and unkind ringtone ever. Once we realize we are more powerful together than segregated, true change will come. The hole which we are in will become less steep, and more people would shift their attention towards the principal elements in life; justice, freedom, love, equality, and unity.

Since you can only guide us in spirit, I pray that you keep looking over us in good faith as I’m sure you always have been for the last 50 years. I’m confident we will find our way and get back on the path you created. Your dream is very much alive and still in progress. Thank you for everything and Happy 89th birthday my brother.


Isaiah Diaz-Mays

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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