Are We Being Overly Sensitive To Marketing That Appears Racist?


This week a children’s clothing line and a South African Aid organization has been coming under fire over their recent marketing efforts.

The T-shirt company featuring a monkey’s body was paired with a cardboard cutout showing an African-American boy’s face.

The controversial combination seen in a photo uploaded to Twitter Wednesday is now creating ire and has prompted a quick defense by the company, Just Add A Kid, which is chalking it up as “a total misunderstanding.”

“We are looking into all the situations that occurred around this little incident,” company co-creator Lowell Cohen told the Daily News by phone. “We’re looking at the vendor, we’re speaking to our employees.”

The T-shirts designed by the clothing line feature cartoon character bodies ranging from surfers, cowboys, princesses, angels and various animals and occupations. In a later statement, the company said the pairing was “not authorized, condoned or tolerated” by the company.

“The head shots on our hangers are intended (to) reflect the different cultures of our happy customers, and are distributed separately to our shirts,” the company said in the statement. “In this particular case, one of our retailers paired a particular hanger with a shirt without consideration for how it may appear to many consumers. We are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.”


Feed A Child South Africa has come under fire for a controversial  commercial that depicts a black child as a dog.

The organisation says the advert is intended to highlight the fact that the average domestic dog eats better than millions of children in South Africa.

The advert shows a woman petting a child on a couch and feeding him snacks, the child bringing the woman her paper and receiving a scrap as a ‘reward’ as well as the child sitting at her feet while she is at the table and getting fed scraps from her plate.

In a statement, Feed a Child has defended the ad, saying the commercial is based on the shocking societal truth that many domestic animals in this country are better fed than many children.

“The commercial is intentionally emotive to trigger the necessary awareness on this issue to generate engagement and contributions. There was no intention to cause offence.”


What are your thoughts?  Are We Being Overly Sensitive To Marketing That Appears Racist?

Or, is this just a situation that draws attention to the lack of diversity in ownership and management at these businesses and organizations that could have prevented this from even seeing the light of day.




The views expressed are that solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect WHUR or Howard University.

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