This is why diversity in the workplace is so important. And I’m not just talking about token diversity. I’m talking about diversity where the opinions of people of color actually matter, because this whole idea should have been burned at its very inception.
We’ve all heard the news by now. Over the weekend, Dove—the skin-care brand that is well-known in just about every household—decided it would be a great idea to drop an ad for its soap on its Facebook page. The ad features a black woman in a brown shirt smiling and removing her shirt to reveal ... dun dun dun ... peak caucasity: a white woman in a creamish-colored shirt.
If anyone knows anything about a little bit of American history, it is well-documented that soap companies pulled this exact-same racist stunt in the past, showing black people becoming white (aka “clean”) after using their brand.
People on social media were actually kind of shaken, honestly thinking that the Dove ad had to be a prank because, again, how is this happening in 2017? How did this even come on to an image board, let alone be published?
Of course, Dove tried to apologize after it realized that no one thought its ad was even remotely cute, but the damage had been done, and actually, people are right to be fed up because, again, this isn’t something you can really call an honest mistake. The optics are clear. The imagery has a history. Y’all done fucked up.
In the original ad, the black woman takes off her shirt to reveal a white woman, who in turn takes off her shirt to reveal another woman, who appears to be of Asian descent. Dove tried to use that as an excuse, I guess, but, again, it’s just a thing that will never play off well.
Said the company in a statement:
As part of a campaign for Dove Body Wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to our U.S. Facebook page. It featured three women of different ethnicities, each removing a T-shirt in matching skin tones to reveal the next woman. The visual was intended to convey that Dove Body Wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong and, as a result, offended many people. We are deeply sorry.
But apologies sometimes don’t cut it, especially for a company this big that really should have known better.
That being said, it also looks more than a little suspect when this isn’t your first rodeo.
That being said, I’m not sure if any black person is about to spend coin on Dove products anytime soon.