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Microsoft is web photo racism row

(12 Posts)
StewieGriffinsMom Thu 27-Aug-09 16:12:07

Message withdrawn

Callisto Thu 27-Aug-09 17:22:34

"The white head and black hand actually symbolise interracial harmony. It is supposed to show that a person can be white and black, old and young at the same time," said one blogger on the Photoshop Disasters blog. grin

Heathcliffscathy Thu 27-Aug-09 17:23:42

IME Poland is way behind on this issue. which is why it was photoshopped out. sad but true.

and totally unacceptable.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 27-Aug-09 17:29:49

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spokette Thu 27-Aug-09 18:13:59

This again confirms that racism is inherent in big business. Black people, according to the numpties in charge, do not sell products unless it is associated with music or sport and even then, those who do the promotion have to be the best of the best.

Earlier this year, one of the dolls based on a character in "In the Night Garden" was altered to have lighter skin.hmm

For years dark skin models like Naomi Campbell have complained that cosmetic companies do not use them because they are too dark and defacto, have no interest in catering for dark skin women. Only light skinned black women like Beyonce or Halle Berry are ever given multi-million pound contracts. That is why Iman started her own cosmetic range and other black women like Yana Johnson have followed suit.

TheProfiteroleThief Thu 27-Aug-09 18:19:51

pmsl at white head, black hand!

Cheats never prosper grin

mayorquimby Fri 28-Aug-09 10:27:22

"This again confirms that racism is inherent in big business. Black people, according to the numpties in charge, do not sell products unless it is associated with music or sport and even then, those who do the promotion have to be the best of the best."

no it doesn't. all it confirms is that these big companies assume that poland is an inherently racist country. otherwise why would they have used the black man in the advertising campaign in other countries? it's not like they photoshopped a basketball or a microphone into his hand in the countries they did use him in. they had him in the advertisement as a black businessman.
i'll agree that the decision to photoshop a white man over him for poland was wrong, but i don't think it shows the companies inherent racism. i simply think it shows their inherent greed and willingness to pander to what they see as a racist market.

Snorbs Fri 28-Aug-09 10:36:16

MayorQuimby, I agree. It's also likely that the photoshopping was done by Microsoft's Polish office rather than by someone in the US headquarters. The US would've photoshopped the Apple logo off the laptop on the table in the pic but then probably distributed the image along with the page template to the regional offices for translation. It would then be the regional office's responsibility for putting it up on their bit of the site.

Microsoft US has a big enough army of lawyers to know that doing something like this isn't just insensitive and racist, it's also flat-out stupid. The smaller regional offices, on the other hand, may not be as astute.

mayorquimby Fri 28-Aug-09 11:06:45

"For years dark skin models like Naomi Campbell have complained that cosmetic companies do not use them because they are too dark and defacto, have no interest in catering for dark skin women. Only light skinned black women like Beyonce or Halle Berry are ever given multi-million pound contracts. That is why Iman started her own cosmetic range and other black women like Yana Johnson have followed suit"

just as an aside ( i'm honestly not trying to pick apart your post or single you out,i just found this part of your post interesting) do the major companies not target light skinned consumers because it is what they know and what s generates the biggest products? you'll have to excuse my ignorance as i don't use make up mainly based on my gender and partly to some over-zealous catholic guilt

but is there a difference in the types of products which would be suitable, in general of course, for different races skin types?
and if that is the case a)why would these companies use black or dark skinned models to sell products meant for light skin and aimed at light skinned consumers? or am i being too simplistic?i mean i doubt manufacturers of hair products aimed at consumers with what would be considered typically black hair are using white models or catering their advertisement for the small section of white people who may also use their product.
b) should there be some sort of moral compulsion on these companies to cater to all races even if they don't have a financial compulsion (becuase as my earlier post indicated,i believe that if a company sees a chance to make money they'll do it)
because after all i doubt the women mentioned above started their businesses due to altruistic motivation. more likely they saw a gap in the market uncatered for and are trying to fill it for financial gain.
or
c) is the decision to not cater for the black market by these make up companies a conscious moral decision based on racism that they don't want their companies associated with black people?

btw once again sorry for quoting your post twice in parts. just when i read it back again it got me thinking and i'm genuinely interested to see what the potential answers to my questions are.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 28-Aug-09 11:16:21

I think Microsoft has fallen victim to the PCness required in the US for these sort of shots in the software and scientific fields at least. (My own company does it too). Photos always contain a mix of ethnic minority males plus females who may be white. Not white males though. Now, in my field a high proportion of asians would be justifiable but the absence of white males is unreal, as is the high proportion of black and latinos depicted.

Its probably well-meaning, but wrong... its reality that needs changing if the actual ethnic/gender mix isn't what you want in your publicity.

hoppybird Fri 28-Aug-09 15:10:52

We saw this story earlier in the week, and my dh reminded me of when we were visiting my family in Poland on honeymoon a few years ago. We'd taken our laptop (as we always do on holiday, for business purposes) and we were showing our wedding pictures to them, and also other pics from home, which included photos of dh's office. They were absolutely fascinated when they saw a pic of dh's (black Nigerian) colleague, and asked many questions - where's he from, are there many black people in the UK, is he nice, etc. They'd never known anyone who knew a black person, let alone work with one.

They reacted pretty much as we (perhaps) may react if we learned that someone worked with a traditionally tattooed Maori person, or a Pygmy. I didn't see their reaction as racist, it's just that Poland has been predominantly populated by white slavic Roman Catholics since the end of WWII, and seeing someone different is unusual. I myself found myself fascinated by the mixed race weather lady on the Polish weather channel a couple of years later, as I had never heard anyone other than a white person speaking Polish.

As GrimmaTheNome pointed out, the racial mix in that particular photo doesn't reflect the reality of most of the population in Poland, although I have seen Asian and black people in Warsaw on more recent trips.

LizzyBirdsworth Fri 28-Aug-09 21:32:03

"Earlier this year, one of the dolls based on a character in "In the Night Garden" was altered to have lighter skin."

Upsy Daisy was and is a "doll". She's not specifically intended to belong to a genuine ethnic group. Take Iggle Piggle for example, what minority group would he be categorised under? That particular "racial row" was utterly ludicrous, but hey I suppose it afforded a few folk the opportunity to climb on their high horses. A wee bit of self-rigeteousness makes us all feel better.

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