September 2, 2013 by gabnormal
Recently, this ad for Dunkin’ Donuts appeared all over Thailand, much to the dismay of everyone BUT Thailand.
From an American historical aspect, this image is clearly racist. The woman pictured is obviously in black face, which has long been associated with racist minstrel shows from an incredibly racist time period in the United States. If something like this were shown in American subways or on American television, the backlash would be ridiculous in size, although completely warranted.
That being said, the CEO of Thailand’s Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t see anything wrong with the ad or the image used.
“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?”
Well, no, actually, it wouldn’t be racist if Salhani were to paint someones face white and use it in an ad, because, well, no one in history has ever painted their faces white in mockery of the Caucasian race, and because in almost every single case throughout history white supremacy has ruled and due to white privilege it is almost never considered a bad thing to be white, unless by being so one is completely unaware of all the atrocities that happen to people of color, among other things.
Additionally, the racial divide between blacks and whites does not have the same deep cutting effect in Thailand as it does in America. Thailand does not have the same history of slavery nor the deep-rooted racism that still exists almost 150 years after the abolition of slavery. So, in the minds of many Americans, this ad appears to be racist. But it’s no surprise that people in Thailand wouldn’t think twice about it in those terms.
However it is also apparent that Thailand doesn’t really see anything wrong with many different racial stereotypes, as an ad for skin-whitening cream claims that people with lighter skin tones get better jobs. And an ad for an herbal toothpaste states that it “is black, but it’s good.”
At first Salhani refused to remove the ad, more recently he issued an apology and agreed to remove the ad, though still thinks that all the fuss surrounding the image is ridiculous.