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O Magazine Photographs Aim to Have ‘Honest and Passionate’ Conversation About Race

by onelove
O Magazine Photographs Aim to Have ‘Honest and Passionate’ Conversation About Race

In the May 2017 issue of O Magazine, a series of photographs by Chris Buck challenges the concept of race by showcasing white people in roles that stereotypically shown as minorities.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

In one of the photographs, a group of Asian women, seated in a nail salon, are getting pedicures by white women. In another photograph, a young white girl stands before a wall display filled with black dolls.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

The third photograph shows a Hispanic woman seated in a luxury home getting served by a white maid. These photographs, according to O Magazine aims to challenge and help encourage an “honest and passionate conversation” about race.

The series of photographs appear in O Magazine by Buck who was commissioned to do the work.

“I feel like whenever I photograph someone of color, I have some awareness of the fact that they have a different background than me. One thing I try to do is to treat people to same. If you look at my book of portraits, you see people of color. You’ll see they look just as awkward as my pictures of White people. My portraits are about the vulnerability and humanity of individual people. I want to see that in people of all different backgrounds.”

Conversations about race is often a difficult issue among a multi-ethnic society in the United States. Lucy Kaylin, editor-i- chief of O Magazine said the idea for the race series came from Oprah.  Kaylin said,

“The main thing we wanted to do was deal with the elephant in the room — that race is a thorny issue in our culture, and tensions are on the rise. So let’s do our part to get an honest, compassionate conversation going, in which people feel heard and we all learn something — especially how we can all do better and move forward.”

In addition to the series of photos, blog posts about racism including a post by Monique Truong who wrote about the racist names her classmates called her as a Vietnamese growing up in North Carolina.

As Truong wrote, it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up to the indignities of racism. With photo series as these, hopefully, we come one step closer to a reality where everyone is treated with dignity and humanity.

What Happens After a F*%k Up Caused By Racial and Other Insensitivity?

by onelove
What Happens After a F*%k Up Caused By Racial and Other Insensitivity?

We’ve all read news stories of company advertising gaffes that are insensitive to people’s racial, gender and abilities and culture. In April 2017 alone,  several top companies have had to apologize for their racial insensitivity.  Pepsi for example had to pull its insensitive ‘black lives matter’ commercial, Nivea did the same for a ‘White Purity’ ad and the latest cringe-worthy gaffe came from Shea Moisture hair commercial about black women’s hair. You can read about each of the situations in depth. This post explores what happens to the company and consumers, of these brands after insensitive advertisements.

Public Apologies and Criticisms

Usually after such gaffes responses pour in online from apologetic statements from the company and outcry on social media from the consumers. For example, Pepsi wrote in a statement on its website “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize”.

The hope with statements as these is to publicly illustrate the company aims to do better and not repeat its mistake. For the offended, it seems this is time to vent frustrations on social media. Just read some Twitter comments below on Shea Moisture commercial.

In response to Shea Moisture gaffe, a Twitter commenter wrote that Shea Moisture could make a more direct statement the company ‘love, respect, celebrate and appreciate Black Women.’

This Twitter post did not accept Nivea’s apology say that it was not a ‘good apology.’

What Happens Next?

But after these apologies and comments then what? Does the company simply state their apology and go back to business as usual? Does the consumer celebrate the company’s tarnished reputation and settle satisfied in their justified comments?

What I hope could happen is that there are moments after or during these public relations failings and criticisms that each person recognizes one thing – we all f*%k up. Think about it. We don’t know everything. We don’t know every nuance about each other’s racial group, gender, ability levels.

For companies and individuals who want to do better, these moments are opportunities to take real steps to improve.  Most of us socialize and work in homogenous environments which can be breeding grounds for insensitivity those who are different. Perhaps, more companies could do better by simply hiring more diverse professionals that represent minorities blacks and Hispanics, for example, to ensure that they are on the leadership team that helps finalize creative decisions.

Most of us socialize and work in homogenous environments which can be breeding grounds for insensitivity those who are different. Perhaps, more companies in the United States could do better by simply hiring more diverse professionals that represent minorities such as Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented professionals, to ensure that they are on the leadership team that helps finalize creative decisions.

Studies have shown that diversity and the perspectives these professionals bring help companies make better decisions. Individuals who want to learn from their mistakes can actually take initiative to learn a little more about the culture, race, gender, or religious where they have been ignorant. Much easier to learn from each other when we are in the same room.

Find events to meet, have a conversation or sit at a table with more people we don’t know. Shameless plug, perhaps join a Unieros multicultural event or join our conversations online.

The intention to be sensitive to others can be awkward but why continue down the same path until the next time you read about a company’s public or have your own personal gaffe? Learn from mistakes and let the sunshine on those dark places even if burns a little.

Diversity Doodle Wins Big at Google

by onelove
Diversity Doodle Wins Big at Google
Doodle 4 Google Diversity Winner 2017

If you want to know what Google thinks of diversity, look at the winning drawing of the Doodle 4 Google 2017 competition. The winning drawing by Sarah Harrison, a 10th grader at Bunnell High School in Connecticut, featured on Google’s website March 31, 2017 shows a group of teens wear sweatshirts that identified their diverse  ethnic, religious  and social backgrounds.

Symbols depicted in the drawing on the teen’s attire include Star of David, Islam Star and Crescent moon, Christian cross. LGBT rainbow, and a young man in a wheelchair.

“I wanted to draw something that I hoped would show that we can all get along well, and that it’s possible for us to be happy with each other,” the 15-year-old told Google.

The annual Doodle 4 Google competition asks contestants to think about what they want to see in the future. The contest also aims to increase STEM education. Harrison won a $30,000 award along with a visit to the Google complex in Palo Alto. Her school will also receive Google Chrome Books and money from Google.

In a statement, Harrison wrote about the wing: “When I started, I was thinking of how there’s a lot of animosity toward diverse communities of people in the world right now. So I wanted to draw something that I hoped would show that we can all get along well, and that it’s possible for us to be happy with each other.”