Beverly B. Media and Communications

Diversity isn’t Nude

By Beverly B. Media & Communications

The growing use of social media is making it a small world after all. You can become friends with someone in Australia, Skype with family in Trinidad, and learn of new cultures through Google. However with so much information at our fingertips organizations and business still find themselves in hot water due to cultural ignorance. As an African-American woman I am astounded that when looking for a pair of stockings the color of some items are still called “nude.” For anyone that doesn’t know the nude color is of a lighter shade. This labeling is not only found in stockings but in makeup also. It is just a reminder of a time when African-Americans were not recognized as people let alone consumers. But is this cultural ignorance or lack of sympathy?

Athletic shoe maker, Adidas had to pull one of their latest shoes due to a backlash from the African-American community. The Jeremy Scott X Adidas Roundhouse Mid “Handcuffs” sneaker was supposed to be an incorporation of Adidas’ updated version of their classic Roundhouse and the vision of famed designer Jeremy Scott. Scott known for his over the top designs added the plastic handcuff to each ankle attached by chains. Instead of becoming the latest craze the sneaker became the latest controversy. Many in the African-American community viewed the “handcuffs” as shackles that were used on slaves and protested that the sneakers be pulled, which Adidas promptly did. Must admit the first time I saw the sneakers I thought they were ugly, at no time did shackles come to mind. Does that mean they don’t look like shackles? No, it just means that that is not the first thing that came to my mind.

Nike found themselves in a similar situation back in March of 2012 when in an effort to honor the country of Ireland leading up to St. Patrick’s Day they ended up having to apologize for their black and tan sneaker. The Nike SB Black and Tan Quickstrike was named after a black and tan colored alcoholic beverage made by mixing stout and lager in a pint glass, but instead they ended up naming the sneaker after a British paramilitary group known as the Black and Tans who were used to brutally suppress the armed Irish Revolution and was feared because of their savage attacks against Irish civilians.

Alderman Edward Burke from Chicago who sought reconciliation with descendants of the Potawatomi tribe members who fought in the Battle of Fort Daerborn suggested they get together and “smoke a peace pipe.” Burke made the suggestion after Joseph Podlasek, executive director of the American Indian Center of Chicago, said at a City Council committee meeting that Burke’s resolution to proclaim a “Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation” lacked the Native American point of view.

I can go on because when it comes to attracting a diverse audience in which we do not belong to or don’t fully understand HOMEWORK is key to any promotion. We must look past the surface of stereotypes. Slavery, immigration, Indian reservations, concentration camps, all of these words stir up intense feelings in a particular group more than it does in another, but that doesn’t make their pain is less important.


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