Popular Media and Racial Discrimination

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In the recent years, social media advertisements have experienced a variety of developments. The changes that have taken place are due to intense market competition. Companies develop different strategies for adequately marketing their products and growing their sales. Companies remained committed to advertising as the environment became technological. Today’s technical advances make ads the most reliable marketing tool for start-ups and existing companies on the market. Other businesses, however, typically do not take advantage of the opportunity to build social issues with the ad. Institutions whose ads have sparked social divisions have been forced to pull out the ads from the social media. The current paper will assess racism as a social problem which manifests itself in various advertisements. Racial stereotypes in commercials are not discriminatory. However, when the stereotype features more prominently in comparison to another color, it evokes adverse reactions especial by the type of race background affected.

Racism has often been one of the major social problem affecting individuals especially those living in the foreign lands (Ramamurthy & Wilson, 2013). The social problem began way back during the colonial era where captives were taken to the developed nations to be slaves. Since then, racial discrimination has never been eliminated in the society since there are people defined in the community based on their skin color. In the US, the blacks lived in poor houses and worked in the firms where they earned hardly enough money to feed their families (Boulton, 2016). Even in the current age, racial discrimination still thrives in many nations despite intervention programs to eradicate it. The whites oppressed many black people who were taken to be slaves. They were forced to work long hours in the plantations and the mines. As a result of their condition, they could neither escape nor refuse to work. Social media ads have in the recent past continued to promote racism is their ads and the continued degradation of other people basing on race continues to elicit heated debates in many countries (Ramamurthy & Wilson, 2013).

Description of Framing

Racial discrimination remains one of the most significant social problems in many developed nations. The current paper will analyze and ad by Intel. The company came up with an advert to support its brand, arguing that a firm can multiply computing performance and leverage on the power of staff (Marco, 2007). In the ad, there is an image of six muscular runners who were bowing in front of a white guy who is dressed in executive clothes. With such kind of adverts, social division based on race is likely to occur. Even though the firm’s central message was the power of its computers to bring a better experience in the organization, what features and captures attention is the image of six black men bowing before the white man. One of the weaknesses noticed in the advert is that the advertiser focused mainly on the individuals in the image rather than the message itself. The ad is full of the pictures of the muscular black men and a white man yet the message intended to be conveyed through the ad is given a very small.

The ad was meant to show how a manager can leverage the company employees using the Intel computers (Marco, 2007). However, the manner in which the images were depicted displayed a high level of racial discrimination. If there had been a single white runner or even six masculine white runners bowing down to the manager, the ad probably would have been good. However, the use of two races brings sharp division, and it reminds black individuals of the oppression they went through when they were slaves and in the plantations (Boulton, 2016). The company was forced to pull the ad before it made rounds in the future. One interesting fact is that the company was aware of the insensitive and insulting nature of the Ad. The company finally pulled out the advert from the media (Marco, 2007). Firms have continued to flaw rules which are meant to bring together individuals from different races. The ad also naturalizes the stereotype that black people are only involved in working on the farms as slaves.

Research and Application

In the past, there are instances where ads have promoted racist ideologies. Even though such ads have never survived in the market due to sharp criticism, the message always sinks deep among those individuals affected. One of the recent adverts promoting racist ideas was the Dove, which was run by Unilever evoked social media outcry as it openly encouraged racial ideologies. The 3-seconds commercial showed a black woman removing her shirt to reveal the next (Boulton, 2015). However, there was a quick transition from black to white (Boulton, 2015). Individuals who reacted to the ad before it was pulled out wondered how it passed through many reviews without the management’s scrutiny of the racial aspect.

The Dove had to apologize later adding that the company portrayed the beauty of diversity, asserting that the ad meant that Dove Body Wash was intended for every woman. One main feature in most of the racial ads is the fact that the racial aspect of the advert comes out outdoing the initial intended purpose of the same piece (Amato, 2009). People end up concentrating on the social problem that comes with the ad rather than the message it the advertisement carries.

Synthesis and conclusion

The issue of racism has been a topic of discussion for decades. Hence, the use of racial ads is not a new feature in the marketing world. However, any form of discrimination against color in advertisements has been met with sharp criticism especially from the individuals affected. As for the ad by Intel Company, it had the option of using same color men in promoting its products. However, it went the wrong way by bringing in two races and displaying them as one serving the other. The problem with such ads is that they bring the colonial era thoughts back to those who suffered at the time. Firms must work hard to synthesize their ads to avoid backlash from members of the race affected by the ads. Additionally, individuals need to concentrate on the message more than the visualization found on most of the ads. The social media ads with racial message create division, and the affected individuals may not be receptive to the products being advertised. The ads must be crafted carefully with the central perspective anchoring on the message and not the visualizations. Furthermore, companies should come up with neutral images which reduce cases of racial discrimination. In this manner, firms will maintain a positive image thus boosting sales.


Amato, S. (2009). The white elephant in London: an episode of trickery, racism and advertising. journal of social history, 43(1), 31-66.

Boulton, C. (2015). Under the cloak of whiteness: A circuit of culture analysis of opportunity hoarding and colour-blind racism inside us advertising internship programs. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 13(2), 390-403.

Boulton, C. (2016). Black identities inside advertising: Race inequality, code switching, and stereotype threat. Howard Journal of Communications, 27(2), 130-144.

Marco, M., (2007). Intel Apologizes For “Insensitive” And “Insulting” Ad. Consumerist. Retrieved from https://consumerist.com/2007/08/02/intel-apologizes-for-insensitive-and-insulting-ad/.

Ramamurthy, A., & Wilson, K. (2013). Racism, Appropriation and Resistance in Advertising. Colonial Advertising & Commodity Racism, 4, 69.

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