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Rick Moran


August 31, 2013 - 10:15 am
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Is this ad “racist”?


The answer is “yes” if you want to cause a ruckus, as Human Rights Watch in Asia did.

The L.A. Times reports:

Dunkin’ Donuts on Friday apologized and will pull an advertising campaign running in Thailand that features a model in blackface makeup offering a chocolate doughnut.

Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand had come under fire Friday for an ad that the Human Rights Watch said was racist.

The ad in question was for Dunkin’s “charcoal donut” and it features a model wearing blackface makeup and bright pink lipstick holding up a bitten doughnut. The translated Thai slogan reads: “Break every rule of deliciousness.”

The most outrageous fast food menu items

Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands, apologized for the advertising running in Thailand.

“Dunkin’ Donuts recognizes the insensitivity of this spot,” Raskopf said. “On behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused. We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign.”

The marketing effort first drew fire from the Human Rights Watch.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division for the group, said it’s “rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin’ Donuts” would run such an ad.

The Associated Press said it’s common in Thailand for marketing to feature racist undertones. A Thai skin whitening cream, for instance, is advertised in television commercials as boosting job prospects for those who use it. According to the AP, the commercials say white-skinned people have a better chance of landing a job than those with dark skin.

There’s also a line of household mops and dust pans sold under the “Black Man” label. Product labeling features a smiling black man in a tuxedo and bow tie.

The initial reaction of the Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand CEO was incredulity:

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said CEO Nadim Salhani. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?”

In answer to the gentleman’s query about what if they used white to promote a product — nobody would care. And isn’t that the point?

Take a close look at that ad. It is a stylized portrait of a woman with decidedly non-black features. The lips are prominent only because they are colored pink. In fact, it is supposed to be a charcoal drawing, in line with the campaign’s product — a “charcoal donut.”

The rather nebulous racial features of the face a suggest more Caucasian origin than black. (Note: Yes, my racialist friends, there are definite differences in facial features between the Caucasian and black races.) In fact, the coloring isn’t even black — it is charcoal gray.

The Associated Press tried to muddy the waters by mentioning other products and ads that were racist by intent. That is not the case here.

The reason this ad is considered racist is because Human Rights Watch saw an opportunity to garner some free publicity by claiming it was racist — not because there was any racist intent by Dunkin’ Donuts or the company that designed the ad.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
not racist...and i love DD new breakfast crackers :0P people need to quit being so sensitive. nothing worse than terminal butthurt
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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my classmate's step-sister makes $84/h hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $20791 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site...
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Racism is unacceptable.

In America.

Most other places? It's fine - they practice it regularly, openly, and without apology. In fact, they don't understand the why "racism" and "apology" would appear in the same place, as if there were some connection.

We're weird.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do the ad again with the model dipped in chocolate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is not racist, don't even like their donuts but going to go buy a dozen just to support them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Once again Westerners insist on applying their models upon people and societies which are different.

This is Thailand.

It may have escaped the self-appointed thought police, but Thailand and Thai people have an entirely different history and culture. The attitudes and thinking which fuel western ideas of racism are entirely alien to them.

They are not Americans that dress and talk funny.

Oh yes, there were slaves in Thailand (Siam) King Chulalongkorn freed them. But the slaves were Siamese people, not Africans.

Progressives like to style themselves as supporting the right for different peoples to maintain their own cultures.

How about allowing the Thais theirs instead of trying to force fit them into Western ways.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The belabored racist president can use all the help he can get to make his racist America a real place, rather than a fiction in his aging lefty mind. You can bet your bottom dollar that the ankle-bitters will drag this ad and the furor home to rage against Dunkin' Donuts' corporate HQ.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Very good article, the only thing I would point out is a difference between the terms Racist and Racialist. Racism is the intent to demean one race or see superiority in another. Racialism is noting a difference between races or sets of peoples. It was used for centuries by those who saw Anglos and the Saxons and the Ethiopians as different without making one less or more than the other. The term has lost its meaning to culturalism in today's society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To me a racialist is someone who sees the world through a lens of race. Doing so almost always results in some kind of racial bigotry. Once one "notes" differences, it will be better or worse, a sad thing to do either way.

Semantics and pedantry amount to little in this area. Call it what you will: hate, bias, prejudice, etc. We all know what's being talked about, and when someone deflects and says "no, racism is only systemic and the oppressor..." and blah, blah, blah, it's worthless. Racial disdain is just that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
--“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said CEO Nadim Salhani. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?”

That's my thinking as well. This isn't a racist ad. It is not designed to demean or mock blacks. It designed to call attention to a new product that happens to have a black color. The model is attractive. There are too many grievance-seeking a-holes in the world.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He'll find out soon enough when HRW starts in on him next week.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It was the red lipstick! The red lipstick that did it!!

Any other color would have been fine.

And if this is Thailand, wouldn't the model be Asian? I can't tell for certain.

That said, how was this CEO Nadim Salhani buffaloed into rolling over? Does Dunkin' Donuts International have a club to wield? I don't know how their corporation is set up.

What about that Chinese fast food franchise that uses Barack Obama in its signage to sell fried chicken?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
America's being reverse-Orientalized. Edward Said is spinning in his grave. Just for that I'm making a kung-fu movie where everyone hops around like they're on trampolines, call each other "brother," write with giant brushes and drink wine out of giant open-mouthed jugs before smashing them on the floor, laughing, and calling for another. These are things I've seen many times.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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