A Zest of Racism

Benetton Diapers Ad

It is shameful yet true: in the 21st century, racism still greets us. 
And what is even more embarrassing is the subtlety in which racism is expressed. 

Illustration A
When we think of nappies and Huggies (or even Dodot); what is the first image popping up to mind? A cute white, blue-eyed baby (although not that linear in the USA). Don’t other ethnicities wear nappies? I am not even going to mention the underlying political-economic message behind this marketing atrocity...no, actually, I am: caucasians rule the political stage, they have more economic power and thus they are to remain the future of any society. 
At least Benetton is more inclusive, thus, passing on the message that babies from other ethnicities have the potential to govern, that they also have economic power and that they are also the future of any nation. Their nappies ads differ from “the norm” (behold the cute picture above): Auguri, fratelli!
Labello has a Soft Rosé lipstick that, according to the brand, “underlines the natural rosiness of the lips”...I have family members who do not have natural rosy, not even red, lips (due to the amount of melanin produced by their melanocytes)...so, should we think that Soft Rosé Labello is a lipstick intended for low-melanin-production sort of individuals only? Interesting...

Illustration B
Monarchic families (around the world) are not keeping up with times and instead of being a positive example (due to their prominence), they somehow choose to be subtle bigots. 
If we leave out the Royal Family of Denmark, for example (Prince Joachim of Denmark used to be married to Alexandra Christina, the Countess of Frederiksborg, an Asian from Hong Kong); it could be said that monarchies, in general, only marry “their own”. In Africa, there are white Africans, Indian Africans, Asian Africans; so why do African Kings marry black Africans only? In Europe, usually the same occurs; and I’ll offer a more blunt example: Prince Albert II, of Monaco, apparently loves a colour in his life (can we say Grace Jones? And let’s not forget his son’s, Alex, mother Nicole Coste, an African former Air France flight attendant) however he is going to marry a copycat of his mother (Grace Kelly) to please I don’t know whom under the flag of “royal duty”...weird and Freudian. 
Arabic Monarchies are more or less eclectic (mainly, toward Caucasians as a political and economic strategy) but then we have the Palestinian Queen Rania of Jordan, who seems to be ashamed of her own ethnicity and keeps trying to westernise her features through successive plastic surgeries...weird.

Illustration C
A real estate agent knocks on someone’s door. The owner of the house answers the door in shorts, t-shirt, slippers and a scarf on her head...she’s black. The real estate agent either asks, “Is the owner of the house in?” or “Is your boss in?”...oh yeah, this is still frequent in Portugal.

A zest of racism is being sprinkled everyday on our melting pot and we seem to be ok with it...but should we? 

Comments

  1. Not sure what to make of that. It has been too long since I shopped for diapers. Queen Oprah is well ... I don't pay much attention. Then there are the Chinese real estate agent signs that are now facing competition from the Indian ones. Why is it that Hispanics never sell real estate?

    As for the commercials on TV, polite people usually don't talk about them given the subject matter, but admittedly this is an area for whites only. Growing old and slowing down must not effect other races as much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Max,

    You are reading the message all backwards: the political message behind the "marketing atrocity" as you put it, is to say that poorer segments of society are more environment-friendly than the enriched ones (disposable diapers are a crime against environment).
    I am a big fan of Benetton's for so many reasons: that family's way of doing business is quite avant-garde.

    As for Prince Albert II: his son is gorgeous! It would be nice to see a gorgeous European Prince for a change...wouldn't it?
    As for Prince Albert's fiancée: she always looks so sad (I wonder if she is happy); I feel sorry for her although I love her sense of style.

    Portugal...ah, Portugal...it still has so much to learn!

    Bold article, no doubt!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Looney :D!

    "It has been too long since I shopped for diapers. Queen Oprah is well ... I don't pay much attention."

    LOL LOL *nodding*...

    "Then there are the Chinese real estate agent signs that are now facing competition from the Indian ones. Why is it that Hispanics never sell real estate?"

    Competition is good. My mother met an Hispanic woman who sold real estate there in the States...but perhaps that is not that community's main business interest (who knows).

    "As for the commercials on TV, polite people usually don't talk about them given the subject matter, but admittedly this is an area for whites only. Growing old and slowing down must not effect other races as much."

    LOL you kill me!

    Looney, shrewd comment for which I thank you :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Ana :D!

    "You are reading the message all backwards: the political message behind the "marketing atrocity" as you put it, is to say that poorer segments of society are more environment-friendly than the enriched ones (disposable diapers are a crime against environment)."

    That is one way to see things, indeed...and a more refreshing one, I give you that.

    "I am a big fan of Benetton's for so many reasons: that family's way of doing business is quite avant-garde."

    È vero!

    "As for Prince Albert II: his son is gorgeous! It would be nice to see a gorgeous European Prince for a change...wouldn't it?"

    LOL are you saying that European Royal families are ugly? Come now, Ana...
    Nevertheless, I agree with you: Alexandre is one gorgeous kid.

    "As for Prince Albert's fiancée: she always looks so sad (I wonder if she is happy); I feel sorry for her although I love her sense of style."

    It's true: she always seems sad (it's her eyes). Oh yes, she does know how to dress: love her style as well.

    "Portugal...ah, Portugal...it still has so much to learn!"

    Agreed. Are you following the Legislative Campaign? It is almost interesting to follow: the socialist government presented an eight page electoral program...*nodding*.

    "Bold article, no doubt!"

    lol thanks, darling...we try.

    Ana, loved your comment: thank you ever so much for the refreshing thoughts :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  5. Overall, I agree with you. Racism is sometimes subliminal. The same way that you rarely see a disabled person in a movie or a book unless the disability is part of the plot. It's never neutral.

    Now to be the devil's advocate... yes, when I close my eyes. I see a white baby with diapers. But that could be because most Chinese babies for instance don't use diapers, their go around bare butt, especially in the countryside :-D Lots of cultures can't afford diapers... I'm sure it is the case for a lot of countries around the world. I know I'm missing the point but I just wanted to share the observation!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Zhu :D!

    "The same way that you rarely see a disabled person in a movie or a book unless the disability is part of the plot. It's never neutral."

    Yes, that is an excellent point! You are so right.

    "Now to be the devil's advocate... yes, when I close my eyes. I see a white baby with diapers."

    LOL you are a great devil's advocate and thanks for your honesty.

    "But that could be because most Chinese babies for instance don't use diapers, their go around bare butt, especially in the countryside :-D Lots of cultures can't afford diapers... I'm sure it is the case for a lot of countries around the world. I know I'm missing the point but I just wanted to share the observation!"

    No, no, no...you are not missing the point at all: in fact you hit the intended nail :D.
    Yes, Chinese babies (and others around the world) don't wear diapers; and like a reader said "they are environment-friendly" as opposed to us westerners who commit crimes against the environment lol.
    If we start thinking about it perhaps our babies should emulate the Chinese and others who do not wear diapers: cheaper and greener.

    Zhu Zhu, excellent comment for which I thank you so much :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Max, I don't see much racism here in India except for the men who prefer fair complexioned women, though I personally prefer the darker ones! What I do see, and this is now getting to be quite common all over the non Muslim world is Islamophobia. If you look like a Muslim, as I am told I do and I am not a Muslim, you meet resistance and often revulsion and fear. I wonder what we would be saying about this phenomenon say two decades from now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Max,

    Awwwww. Cute pic.

    Benneton has always been on the cutting edge of marketing and that's refreshing. I loved their ads in the 80's, I haven't seen any since.

    Unfortunately racism is the ugliest color in the rainbow. It doesn't mean we have to like it, but once we understand that people will continue to have prejudices no matter what, we may be able to take the onus off ourselves for not measuring up in their eyes and put the onus back on them for being close-minded.

    We are all united colors of Benneton - one blended family.

    I must have missed that Grace Jones had Prince Albert pull up to her bumper. How long did they date?

    Great piece.

    Blended Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Illustration A: Just to be different! I just did a image search via Google on “nappies and huggies” and the first result page showed mostly bears and fair skinned babies! Bears, really! Mind you I think Poo bear might be behind that one. As for Downunder ads on this issue, I am seeing mixed races being used more and more often which is great to see.

    Illustration B: Here I see a lot of same race marriages. Interracial marriages between older male caucasians and asians are also on the up and up. Now, Prince William married someone who was not of royal lines, and what a fine choice he made. Will we see Harry hitch up with her sister? We will have to wait and see, hey?

    Illustration C: I haven't come across that problem much in my neck of the woods as Australia has such a rich and diverse group of people living in all parts of this great land of ours. Not to say, racism doesn't exist of course, as it does. More's the pity.

    Take Care,
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  10. Max!
    racism is everywhere and will not stop while man exists.
    As to the monarchy, its members are not perfect and no examples at all. Here in Sweden, the king has betrayed the Queen. The prince dropped his partner (sambo) after 8 years for a girl who posed nude. Princess betrayed her longtime boyfriend but the Swedish press, forged the reality writting that the princess's boyfriend has betrayed her with a Norwegian.
    I remember the surprise of many people when they tried to understand the message of BENETTON, showing a black child and another blonde, many people criticized, and some people thought it was cool. But I think that advertising is a great weapon to help people open their eyes to the reality of the world.



    My English isn´t perfect, my Dear!!! But I am very close to reach my old time when I spoke better English.

    I still fighting to my dreams come true and I´ll get strength back, very soon.
    Thank you very much because when I read you, I can learn more and more...
    graceolsson.com/blog

    ReplyDelete
  11. Max as always good post. ... and when someone knocks on my door, they say 'is your mom home?', and I usually say 'no', lol. Well now that I hit 40, I don't get anymore of that attention, lol. Max thanks for sharing your thoughts, I don't think racism will go away, people are just to darn self centered, at least some. Anna :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Take Two: Saving comments has come in handy taking into account Bloggers recent hiccip.

    Illustration A: Just to be different! I just did a image search via Google on “nappies and huggies”and the first result page showed mostly bears and fair skinned babies! Bears, really! Mind you I think Poo bear might be behind that one. As for Downunder ads on this issue, I am seeing mixed races being used more and more often which is great to see.

    Illustration B: Here I see a lot of same race marriages. Interracial marriages between older male caucasians and asians are also on the up and up. Now, Prince William married someone who was not of royal lines, and what a find choice he made. Will we see Harry hitch up with her sister? We will have to wait and see, hey?

    Illustration C: I haven't come across that problem much in my neck of the woods as Australia has such a rich and diverse group of people living in all parts of this great land of ours. Not to say, racism doesn't exist of course, as it does. More's the pity.

    Take Care,
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  13. http://graceolsson.com/blogMonday, 16 May 2011 at 20:21:00 BST

    Max!
    racism is everywhere and will not stop while man exists.
    As to the monarchy, its members are not perfect and no examples at all. Here in Sweden, the king has betrayed the Queen. The prince dropped his partner (sambo) after 8 years for a girl who posed nude. Princess betrayed her longtime boyfriend but the Swedish press, forged the reality writting that the princess's boyfriend has betrayed her with a Norwegian.
    I remember the surprise of many people when they tried to understand the message of BENETTON, showing a black child and another blonde, many people criticized, and some people thought it was cool. But I think that advertising is a great weapon to help people open their eyes to the reality of the world.



    My English isn´t perfect, my Dear!!! But I am very close to reach my old time when I spoke better English.

    I still fighting to my dreams come true and I´ll get strength back, very soon.
    Thank you very much because when I read you, I can learn more and more...
    graceolsson.com/blog

    ReplyDelete
  14. Now this is one topic perhaps which needs to be analyzed a little in detail because it is one thing which is related to he evolution of our mankind and how this division grew. Because there are both sides to this coin and no side has yet been fully comfortable in doing business with each other.

    If we see the evolution of mankind we will find Black skin in a way got attached to the Negroid's who would live mainly in forests and does not have a proper dialect and customs very unique of their own. White skin in a way got attached to the one's living in the poles or the Scandinavian countries where the weather remains cold throughout the year and have a proper dialect.

    And another middle category remained who were the people near the equator with a tropical climate and mainly brown-orange skin..

    Now we would see that even today if we start with the Negroid origins, there are many tribes still today in the world who fret at the sight of the modern man and whenever they see a fair skinned person they see it as a threat or enemy and who is not of their own even though you try to be friendly with them. Somehow they remained very passive And so is on the other side where the fair skinned people feel the dark skinned are un-intelligent and cannot be masters and generally try to disassociate from them.

    Slowly and gradually the fair skinned became the dominant in trade, business, innovation, culture, literature and art. Yes the times are changing but certain stereotypes still remain but it is one thing I feel is in-built in our system and the only solution which I see is if we mix more and more up with each other and live in shared neighbourhoods these distinction can slowly remove and a more better trust system and a understanding of each others behavior will take place as also the dark skinned becoming more and more active in participation in our society which attracts global attention and not just in bits and pieces as this is a problem of not a few people but the masses world over.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey Grace :D!

    Your comment did disappear: Blogger made it vanish and said that it would restore it as soon as possible.

    Well, blogger vanished with a few comments on this post...so...

    Let's see how it will all play out.

    Thanks for having told me about this issue :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello Rummy :D!

    "I don't see much racism here in India except for the men who prefer fair complexioned women, though I personally prefer the darker ones!"

    LOL That is not racism. It is only skin shade preference, I guess. But you brought a very good point and I might produce an article on it, one of these days....

    "What I do see, and this is now getting to be quite common all over the non Muslim world is Islamophobia. If you look like a Muslim, as I am told I do and I am not a Muslim, you meet resistance and often revulsion and fear. I wonder what we would be saying about this phenomenon say two decades from now."

    Oh yeah, Islamophobia is on the rise specially since the 9/11. It is wrong, since not all Muslims are terrorists however Moderate Muslims didn't do a proper job against radicals in order to avoid this kind of prejudice (I understand that a good Muslim supports his brother Muslim, but when a brother is a criminal the good Muslim should denounce him).
    Never mind: I have been mistaken for a Muslim as well, and it is ok (it goes to show that we blend quite well) ;).

    I hope that in two decades we will find the phenomenon universally preposterous.

    Rummy, excellent comment for which I thank you :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Lady A :D!

    "Awwwww. Cute pic."

    Isn't it? I love it.

    "Benneton has always been on the cutting edge of marketing and that's refreshing. I loved their ads in the 80's, I haven't seen any since."

    Even in the 90's they had some awesome ads: during the war in Kosovo they had a spectacular one (that people found shocking), then their HIV campaign was also great, etc. I remember I had their ads were a study case at my college.
    I don't know what happened in this millenium though...I haven't seen any Benetton ad either.

    "Unfortunately racism is the ugliest color in the rainbow. It doesn't mean we have to like it, but once we understand that people will continue to have prejudices no matter what, we may be able to take the onus off ourselves for not measuring up in their eyes and put the onus back on them for being close-minded."

    Indeed, even if humans stop being racist they will find something else to be prejudiced against. I hear you.

    "We are all united colors of Benneton - one blended family."

    Hear! Hear!

    "I must have missed that Grace Jones had Prince Albert pull up to her bumper. How long did they date?"

    Girl, it was quite a fuss back in the 80's. His mum, Grace Kelly, ended the affair. I don't know for how long they dated....

    "Great piece."

    *Bowing* thank you...

    Lady A, fabulous comment and I thank you for it :D.

    Definitely Blended Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Peter :D!

    "Illustration A: Just to be different! I just did a image search via Google on “nappies and huggies” and the first result page showed mostly bears and fair skinned babies! Bears, really! Mind you I think Poo bear might be behind that one. As for Downunder ads on this issue, I am seeing mixed races being used more and more often which is great to see."

    LOL LOL bears!? That is cute, we have got to admit it. Poo bear is behind the plot, no doubt (after all, he is the Bear Lobbyist).
    To be fair, I did see the Australian Huggies site and it displays all races, however, the white baby is on top and all the rest is below at the end of the page *nodding*.
    The South African one is even worst: the black baby has its back facing us and its head is cut off from the picture...and then we have Mr. Desmond Tutu accusing other countries of racism and Apartheid (he should be looking inside his own borders)...

    "Illustration B: Here I see a lot of same race marriages. Interracial marriages between older male caucasians and asians are also on the up and up. Now, Prince William married someone who was not of royal lines, and what a fine choice he made. Will we see Harry hitch up with her sister? We will have to wait and see, hey?"

    Oh, in Portugal too (it is a rising trend). I don't see anything wrong with that: older male caucasians can marry whomever they want as long as it is not forced. Now, when I said that Royals usually marry "their own" I meant their ethnicity...but yeah, it was nice to see Prince William marrying the now Duchess of Cambridge (they are a cute couple). I like Prince Harry's present girlfriend: she seems strong and quite independent (she's a lawyer, which means good debates lol).

    "Illustration C: I haven't come across that problem much in my neck of the woods as Australia has such a rich and diverse group of people living in all parts of this great land of ours. Not to say, racism doesn't exist of course, as it does. More's the pity."

    Racism is everywhere, mate (unfortunately) *nodding*.

    Peter, fab comment: thank you ever so much :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Anna :D!

    "Max as always good post."

    Why, thank you so much, dear *bowing*!

    "... and when someone knocks on my door, they say 'is your mom home?', and I usually say 'no', lol. Well now that I hit 40, I don't get anymore of that attention, lol."

    LOL LOL I so know what you mean (I do the same). LOL LOL girl, the 40's are the new 30's...so, don't worry.

    "Max thanks for sharing your thoughts, I don't think racism will go away, people are just to darn self centered, at least some."

    It's my pleasure *bowing*. I see what you mean; but then again even if racism would end humans would find some other kind of prejudice to "have fun with" *nodding*...

    Anna, thank you so much for your comment, girl :D.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Grace :D!

    "racism is everywhere and will not stop while man exists"

    It seems like it, doesn't it? I am hoping it will eventually end; but I know that if it does humans will find some other prejudice to entertain themselves with *nodding*.

    "Here in Sweden, the king has betrayed the Queen. The prince dropped his partner (sambo) after 8 years for a girl who posed nude. Princess betrayed her longtime boyfriend but the Swedish press, forged the reality writting that the princess's boyfriend has betrayed her with a Norwegian."

    LOL oh my God, some Monarchic gossip! I didn't know all of this...I only knew about Princess Madalena...
    Oh the press forged info, eh? Most certainly because the Royal House made it...

    "I remember the surprise of many people when they tried to understand the message of BENETTON, showing a black child and another blonde, many people criticized, and some people thought it was cool. But I think that advertising is a great weapon to help people open their eyes to the reality of the world."

    Yes, I remember it as well. Benetton made people wrestle with their own bigotry: good for them. I totally agree with you: advertising can be a powerful weapon to help people broaden their horizons and check out different realities.

    "My English isn´t perfect, my Dear!!! But I am very close to reach my old time when I spoke better English."

    It doesn't matter; I understood your message extremely well :). Drop by MAX (instead of Etnias) and you can practice your English here - you know what they say "practice makes perfect" ;D

    "I still fighting to my dreams come true and I´ll get strength back, very soon."

    And you will get there for sure: God Bless you, my dear :D!

    "Thank you very much because when I read you, I can learn more and more..."

    You are most welcome, but I am the one thanking YOU for joining us here at the MAX Experience and sharing your wisdom *bowing*!

    Grace, I adored your comment and thoughts for which I thank you ever so much :D!

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Kalyan :D!

    I loved the first segments of your comment: educational and relevant, thank you *bowing*.

    "Now we would see that even today if we start with the Negroid origins, there are many tribes still today in the world who fret at the sight of the modern man and whenever they see a fair skinned person they see it as a threat or enemy and who is not of their own even though you try to be friendly with them. Somehow they remained very passive And so is on the other side where the fair skinned people feel the dark skinned are un-intelligent and cannot be masters and generally try to disassociate from them.Slowly and gradually the fair skinned became the dominant in trade, business, innovation, culture, literature and art."

    So, so true, man!

    "Yes the times are changing but certain stereotypes still remain but it is one thing I feel is in-built in our system and the only solution which I see is if we mix more and more up with each other and live in shared neighbourhoods these distinction can slowly remove and a more better trust system and a understanding of each others behavior will take place as also the dark skinned becoming more and more active in participation in our society which attracts global attention and not just in bits and pieces as this is a problem of not a few people but the masses world over."

    Hear, Hear!! Very well said!!

    Kalyan, I absolutely loved and adored your comment...man, gorgeous thoughts for which I thank you a million times :D!

    Always a pleasure...

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete

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