Note from BW of Brazil: Sometimes things in a society becomes such a normalized part of life that people don’t even notice its existence. This is often the case when one speaks on the issue of racism. Often times when the topic comes up, people who are part of the group that is considered the dominant one of which the rest of society is measured against will deny its very existence. “We are all equal”, they would have us believe. “Stop playing the role of the victim”, others will say. But sometimes all one need do is to step back, take a look at the subtle images that are often quite blatant and ask themselves again if we are all (treated) equal.
A quick, relatively simple test anyone can do is just to walk around and notice the various advertisements in a given neighborhood, city, state or country. Take note of the race and gender of the people focused upon in the ads and analyse the subtle and obvious messages. Do you happen to notice that persons with a certain skin color are almost always represented in situations of high status, a good life, wealth, happiness, beauty and intelligence? Do you also notice that certain persons of another skin color are usually portrayed in a lower status, featured in advertisements in which they represent unfortunate life situations, occupations of low prestige and/or in need of help? If you’ve actually noted these ads but never thought about the association between color and social position, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve probably naturalized the association.
Of course, we do have situations in which one finds representatives of each group outside of the position normally associated with them, but usually the standard remains the same contributing to typical images, stigmas and stereotypes of the “natural” social positions of members of each group. When we speak in terms of race and ‘place’ in the Brazilian scenario, ideas connected to blackness and whiteness are pretty obvious as we have seen in numerous past examples and advertising is yet another genre in which we can clearly see this dynamic play out. Don’t think it’s true? Well, before you look at the advertisements below, take a look at typical images used to sell consumer goods in these previous posts and then tell us what conclusion you come to!
The piece below comes courtesy of the Todos Negros do Mundo website that analyzed a a recent statement issued by a popular shoe company as to why the black model in one of their commercials disappeared after being initially featured for a brief second. The rest of the commercial featured all white women happily dancing a choreographed piece showcasing the shoe’s brand. Responding to the inquiry, the company denied an sort of racist exclusion and instead explained the model’s disappearance as a “technical problem in the direction of the script”. Apparently, most advertisers in Brazil also seem to have regular ‘technical problems’ in their choices as well!
See a series of advertisement fotos in which blacks “starred” or were represented
This publication contains moderate doses of irony.
Based on the explanation of a “technical problem in the direction of the script” by the Calçados Piccadilly (Piccadilly Shoes), we decided to show in a series of photos that they’re right, mistakes happen. It’s been a part of our lives for a long time.
This week is the same for the party for the black community in Brazil. Today (posted May 13th), the day that we commemorate the abolition of slavery and after that, in three days, we will celebrate dia do gari (street sweeper’s day). Look at such beauty !!
In addition, we got into a virtual tiff with the Piccadilly company, a manufacturer of women’s shoes and as always we received information that it is all a misunderstanding or technical error that will be repaired.
So, in celebration of the day of the “abolition of slavery,” street sweeper’s day and clarification from Piccadilly, we decided to show in a series of photos, some examples of “technical problem in the direction of the script” that have happened. Only a few of the thousands that don’t fit on this humble page.
Long live street sweeper’s day and the International Day of the technical problem in the direction of scripts!!!
Source: Todos Negros do Mundo