No. Hell no. Another day, another tone-deaf company. While it is nice to have a plethora of blogging material at my disposal, it is absolutely disheartening that it all involves a ridiculous level of racism. Gucci is the latest to add its name to an already long list of Black History Month fails. Many moons ago “blackface” and images of African American people with enlarged lips were commonplace. Racism was everywhere and tolerated by most. Unfortunately, racism is still everywhere…but it is being tolerated much less. The fact of the matter is that racism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As a matter of fact it is becoming more and more exposed in the media at-large. I have heard people say that it is because “black people are taking things too personally these days” and that “black people are just too damn sensitive nowadays”. Are you serious? This isn’t an issue of sudden intolerance by the black community. This isn’t an issue of sensitivity or hurt feelings. Black people in our country are finding their voices…and marketers better be ready to accept the consequences of their racist actions. Pulling ads or products once there is a negative buzz on the internet is just not going cut it. These ads and products should never have made it into production in the first place. Every company that has the ability to, should be seeking the services of a marketing consultant or firm that specializes in issues of multiculturalism. They should no longer trust their in-house staff to get these messages right…because when they get it wrong it can be extremely damaging to the brand. Voices are getting louder and they have far greater reach than they did before social media took over our lives. Marketers better start listening.
And if you find yourself thinking that black people are being too sensitive…you probably haven’t walked around your town in black skin lately. Just sayin’.