Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Intel's Racism


Speaking of the need to organize new progressive campaigns, look at this ad released by Intel. Although I am late to the news, I thought that it was important to pass along because I know that I had not seen it. Who in their right mind even thought that this would be a good ad to send out? Nevermind that, who is the person that even thought of this design to begin with? Of course, Intel Corporation apologized for the ad:


The intent behind our ad campaign "Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees" was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through a number of visual metaphors. Unfortunately, while we have used a visual of sprinters in the past appropriately, this ad of using African-American sprinters did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be culturally insensitive and insulting.

(...)

We are sincerely sorry and have identified specific steps covering heightened cultural sensitivity, our review and approval process, and just using more common sense to ensure that this does not happen again.

On the one hand, this is an excellent example of how structural racism works. I do not believe that any executive from Intel actually intended the message of slave ships to come across in this ad (if for no other reason than it would jeopardize their company image). But, lets think of the steps required for this to make it into publications. First, the creative idea had to be generated. Second, that idea had to be approved as a viable line for production. Third, the prototypes and mock-ups would have to be approved. Fourth, production would occur. Fifth, the distribution arm would have to find publications to place the ad. Sixth, they would have to actually distribute the ad[1]. The fact that, in this process, there were not enough people who who would look at this ad and realize the problems with the kind of "hidden" racism that invades our everyday lives. When we talk about racism, we think of Bull Connor's dog and hoses, but things like this show an equally problematic form of racism.

On the other hand, I question that assessment of negligent, albeit really stupid, people who fail to realize how this ad comes across because of this. Intel is footing the bill for a citizen-initiated proposal in California to eliminate class action suits regarding civil rights issues. Let's look at the last line of that apology again:


We are sincerely sorry and have identified specific steps covering heightened cultural sensitivity, our review and approval process, and just using more common sense to ensure that this does not happen again.

Looks like they are not doing well so far...

If you would like to help get the ballot initiative pulled in California (or at least get Intel to stop paying for it), I will be including a link in the sidebar to the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights on the sidebar or you can click here.


[1]And, the publications and others who actually approved of this ad in their distribution also deserve public outcry and swift punishment as well...they are getting off easy.

1 comments:

Andrew said...

I just happened on your post, but...wow.

Post a Comment