Dove: Racially insensitive or downright stupid?
Racially insensitive or downright stupid? I go with stupid. The soap company Dove, recently published an advertisement on Facebook showing a black woman wearing a brown shirt magically turning into a white woman in a white top after using one of Dove’s soap products. Although Dove’s marketing company approved of the advertisement, once it went public social media erupted, condemning the post as suggesting that black skin is dirty and white skin is clean. Additionally, some critics cited historical legacy of racism found in soap ads.
Within hours, Dove’s Facebook and Twitter pages were saturated with angry and disappointed messages. The company quickly removed the post from their Facebook page, and on October 7, 2017, Dove, issued an apology on its Twitter page for the advertisement saying that their company, “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.”
But these efforts came too late, the damage is done.
On Facebook, Angela Reinders wrote, “THIS IS GROSS. YOU THINK PEOPLE OF COLOR CAN JUST WASH AWAY THEIR MELANIN AND BECOME WHITE? WHAT WERE YOU GOING FOR, EXACTLY? YOUR CREATIVE DIRECTOR SHOULD BE FIRED.”
Another Facebook comment written by Mary Braden stated, “THAT’S NOT MISSING THE MARK, THAT’S ENSURING THAT I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER DOVE PRODUCT AND I WILL ENCOURAGE EVERY ONE I KNOW TO JOIN ME.”
Yet, many were not satisfied with Dove’s “apology.” Sonia Gupta tweeted Dove, “THIS IS THE MOST NON-APOLOGY APOLOGY I’VE SEEN ALL WEEK. ARE YOU JOINING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION NOW? WTF IS THAT AD EVEN SUPPOSED TO MEAN?”
Moreover, this is not the first time that Dove has “missed the mark” on representing minorities. Keith Boykin, CNN political commentator, shared a second, similar Dove advertisement depicting two women of color and a white woman standing in front of “before” and “after” signs of their skin. In Boykin’s tweet of the thoughtless image, he commented, “OKAY, DOVE. ONE RACIST AD MAKES YOU SUSPECT. TWO RACIST ADS MAKES YOU KINDA GUILTY.”
Even Fox Sports analyst Chris Broussard responded, tweeting, “I’LL NEVER USE DOVE SOAP AGAIN. #DonewithDove.”
Discrimination based on one’s skin color or race is one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination. However, employees that are subjected to such inappropriate comments or conduct are protected by various federal, state, and city laws. Under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, New York state, Pennsylvania state, New York City, and Philadelphia laws, covered employers are not allowed to discriminate, harass, or retaliate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race or skin color.
If you feel like you have been a victim of discrimination, the experienced  sexual harassment and discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, may be able to help. Our attorneys work diligently to protect the civil rights of our clients in both in the workplace and in the classroom. Whether you are in New York City or Philadelphia, give our talented discrimination attorneys a call, toll-free, at (800) 807-2209. for your free consultation.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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