As soon as Halloween was over, the Christmas adverts started in the UK. This is expected. My friend who works in marketing for a big brand hates Christmas by June (May tbh) as they have had to spend their time figuring out the best impact. Each advert is carefully considered and planned. It’s tested on audiences around the country to make sure that it resonates. After all the point of any advertising and marketing strategy is to bring as many customers to think of the brand and buy the product. These adverts aren’t just a finger in the air, they are tried and tested to increase profit for each company. That is a simple fact.
However, with supermarkets, the act of putting non-white people in an advert is enough to cause a storm amongst racists. The simple point of a tweet saying that racists were triggered by that was also enough for people to come at me on Twitter. Why? Because it seems we have moved to a phase where calling someone a racist is worse than the acts of racism in itself.
This blows my mind! It literally is the reason I started writing the I’m not racist but… posts. Racists know that they are racists but they don’t want to be labelled as such because of the negative connotations. Some are outwardly so, which I appreciate because they are at least being true to themselves. But others; have so much cognitive dissonance that it’s impossible to start breaking down the walls. Each statement made is seen as an attack. It is the “otherism”, the “but”, the “whatabout” that is framed. It’s the notion that one statement must be challenged and referenced to the whole world. A simple statement of “I like strawberries” must therefore take into context that I hate all other berries or fruit. Most times, a statement should be taken for just that. I like strawberries. The reality of it has nothing to do with anything else. I like strawberries, but I also like many other berries, fruits and vegetables. Taste is not binary. Life is not binary. It’s not an either-or situation, most things rarely are!
Because I like strawberries, it doesn’t mean I hate blueberries. Because I’m describing an incident of racism, it doesn’t mean I discount other forms of discrimination. I read the other day from a blogger I follow about the discrimination her boyfriend experienced going into a bookstore. I was horrified! Distraction is the clear theory and practice that works because it takes away the onus on the point being presented. If you can change the subject, you don’t need to argue the real issue at hand.
What is that issue? Simple. Inequality. Inequality is the main problem and rather than focus on system changes to address it, we look at superficial solutions and finger-pointing. My posts are about being black, but I don’t discount other discrimination.
People don’t like me based on my skin. The sole fact of being black is enough to be hated. Being black or a person of colour to some is such a sin that others want us dead, tortured or at least enslaved. The white supremacy movement has been busy at work and is supported by deep pockets. They can not openly say they want our kind dead, but they can promote and fund systems of inequality. They can’t ban equal rights movements, but they can change the language so that speaking about injustice becomes an issue in itself. This is why ANTIFA is a topic of discussion, the sullying of anti-fascism under an umbrella term. This is also happening with critical race theory.
When I was told my posts were pushing a CRT agenda I had to look more into it. I’ve had so many white men approach me and tell me how critical race theory is wrong. What CRT is is a theoretical framework. It highlights racial disparity systemically as it implicates a lot of practices.
As with theory, it is an idea. I have noticed though is that those who are arguing against racism existing, that CRT is wrong are more right-leaning in politics. I’m beginning to see why people object to these posts as an example I give of discrimination, based either on theory or practice is viewed as agenda-pushing. People don’t want to differentiate the whole from individuals. It becomes an us vs them. From what I read and watch, the argument against is used to dissuade any further communication of those experiencing racism. Any form of black history or inclusion is thus equated to CRT, wokeness and just like that, the discussion changes. The goalposts have moved because no one is talking about the systemic issues.
But if the mere inclusion of non-white people in adverts is enough to rile up the racists, then we have a long way to go. Let’s continue to talk about racists and their tactics! Let’s keep calling BS on their “I’m not racist but…” and whilst we are at it, let us stop all forms of discrimination.
Another great article Fifi. Unfortunately our current administration seems to have emboldened the racists that would normally be hiding under a rock. Sooner they are back under it the better.
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I completely agree on this, and the sad reality is that even if you try to phrase it in a way that’s both intelligent and informative, they still get up in arms and tell you that you are some kind of “horrible person” or “a crazy radical”.
Call me crazy but I thought that giving a shit about other people was something to be proud of and not frowned upon.
Yet any time that a social disparity is pointed out, we are told that we are making stuff up in order to create trouble.
I grew up reading Charles Dickens, and he was always writing about the social evils of his day, why in turn can we not talk about the social evils of our day?
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“People don’t want to differentiate the whole from individuals. It becomes an us vs them…we look at superficial solutions and finger-pointing” I personally think this is the crux of the problem, and I truly appreciate your thoughtful articulation on the subject.
Unfortunately, I think that a lot of people blindly adopt whatever narrative their preferred media source presents to them, rather than having a conversation with the person across from them and learning about their experience and what they need to feel appreciated and supported in society. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings with our own stories and struggles, and everyone deserves to be treated as such.
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It’s very freaky when you realize how racist some people still are. It’s atrocious. I’m 100% for diversity in ads – and the UK is a diverse area. Many people from other countries live there now.
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