Racism in Visual Media : Does it still exist?
Does racism in Visual Media still exist? Throughout history, the visual representation of African
Americans has been tainted by racial biases in ad's and in television. One may argue that the
visual representation of African Americans in media gets taken out of context. But, I believe
racism in visual media exists, often emulating racist campaigns in history that reinforce racial
division, as well as support to white supremacists. The solution to ending racism in visual media
is fixing the approach when dealing with race.
Racism in visual media still exists today and often emulates racist campaigns throughout
history. Early October of this year, a clip from a Dove soap ad left people in shock, as an African
American woman took off her shirt and turned into a white woman. According to the article
"Dove Drops an Ad Accused of Racism" in The New York Times the ad indicated “.. a “dirty”
black person cleansed into whiteness.” Influenced by an ad by N.K Fairbank Company which,
“featured a white child asking a black child, “Why doesn’t your mamma wash you with Fairy
soap?” The 2017 Dove soap ad mimics the racist historic N.K Fairbank Company symbolizing
black as dirty and white as clean. I agree, this ad was clearly racist, there should never be a clip
of black woman transforming into a white woman,ever. An African American being depicted as
dirty in a 2017 ad is unacceptable. Unfortunately this isn't Dove’s first offense, in 2011 they
released another offensive ad. The New York Times wrote that the ad showed “three women
standing side by side, each with lighter skin than the woman next to her. Behind them were signs
reading “before” and “after”; the “before” sign, positioned behind an African-American woman,
showed cracked skin, while the “after” sign, behind a white woman, showed smooth skin.” The
ad wrote “Visibly more beautiful skin.” This ad indicated that their product will take you from
being dark with cracked skin to white with smooth skin. This ad was obviously racist, their
message to the public was, if you use their product you’ll have more beautiful whiter skin.
Implying that white skin is more beautiful than darker skin. These racist campaigns were so
obvious I couldn't believe Dove let it slide, once in 2011, and a second time in 2017, both times
degrading black woman. Racism in visual media exists, and these Dove’s campaigns prove that.
Dove isn't the only brand that has contributed to racism in visual media, Google has also.
Billion dollar brand, Google, went under fire when their search engine suggested racist ads on
their site. According to the Fortune magazine article "Google Appears to Allow Racist Ad
Targeting Like Facebook, Says BuzzFeed," when searching particular phrases like “black people
ruin” Google advertises ads like “black people ruin neighborhoods.” The search engine generates
ads based off of consumer needs. The ads cleared by Google, promote racists...