WASHINGTON – A new video ad portraying America as a racist society, produced by consumer product giant Procter & Gamble, is being met with fierce criticism.
The ad, titled “The Talk,” depicts scenes of black mothers warning their children about the dangers of being black in America, how the system is stacked against them and why they should fear police.
Building on the company’s decade-old “My Black is Beautiful” campaign, the commercial begins with a black girl, from what appears to be the 1940s era, holding a white doll telling her mother that a woman at the store told her she was pretty for a black girl.
“That is not a compliment,” the mother responds. “You are beautiful, period. OK?”
The next scene depicts a young black boy running away from a group of white boys, which transitions into a mother’s explaining to her son why there is nothing he can do to stop whites from calling him the ‘N’-word.
“There are some people who think you don’t deserve the same privileges just because of what you look like,” another mother tells her son. “It’s not fair. It’s not.”
While staring at a crowd of white people while standing in the rain, another mother lectures her daughter about why her road to success will be much more difficult because of her skin color.
“Remember, you can do anything they can,” she says. “The difference is you have to work twice as hard and be twice as smart.”
Another scene features a concerned mother alerting her son about police.
“Come straight home after practice,” she says. “You got your ID – in case they [the police] stop you.”
The final scene depicts a mother warning her daughter how to react after getting pulled over by police.
“When you get pulled over …” she says before the daughter interjects, “Mom I’m a good driver, don’t worry.”
“This is not about you getting a ticket, this is about you coming home,” the mother cautions, shockingly.
“Let’s all talk about ‘the talk,’” the ad’s caption concludes, “So we can end the need to have it.”
No fathers are featured in the entire 2-minute video, other than one brief non-speaking appearance at a baseball field.
Started in 1837 by candlemaker William Procter and soapmaker James Gamble, Procter & Gamble today is the largest consumer-goods conglomerate in the world, making a wide array of familiar brands including Tide, Pampers, Nyquil, Febreze, Swiffer, Mr. Clean, Downy, Cascade, Crest and Old Spice.
The goal of the company’s ad campaign is to spark a constructive dialogue about race, P&G’s communications director Damon Jones said.
“It’s unfortunate that in the current environment everything becomes politicized, because the talk between a mother and a daughter isn’t politicized at all; it’s just reality,” he told the Washington Post. “It would be great if we lived in a society where we didn’t need The Talk.”
He added: “I don’t think race has ever been an easy subject for us to tackle in this country, but avoiding it doesn’t push us forward, and part of this campaign is about getting people to have these difficult discussions so we can get to a better place.”
The mega-corporation is promoting their mission on Twitter:
— P&G (@ProcterGamble) July 25, 2017
However, according to many on Twitter, Procter & Gamble is stoking the flames of racial division.
— Steel F Rabbit (@RabbitSteelFist) July 28, 2017
this doesnt help anything it on hurts and divids more. Shame on them.
— haylo (@haylo22) August 1, 2017
Disgusting! I am thru with P&G! You are depicting a bye gone era and you know it. I hope American blacks see how you are trying to use them
— Lynn Fewell (@Lynn_From_KY) July 31, 2017
Racism: anything that makes white people feel bad about their race
— jennwith2ns (@JennWith2N) August 2, 2017
Boycotting all products due to race baiting. Sick sick sick. We are not your props for propaganda.
— Tsarian (@TsarianPassio) July 31, 2017
The ad ignites “a tornado of white tears,” Damon Young writes on the far-left website The Root, in an article titled “Procter & Gamble Release an Ad About ‘the Talk,’ and White People Respond With the Wettest, Saltiest, Stupidest White Tears Ever.”
Whites find the commercial problematic, BET wrote in a commentary, because “a large chunk of the white community is attempting to silence the very real experiences of Black folks in America.”
But as investigative journalist and conservative commentator Michelle Malkin contends in National Review: “The ad plays as a kinder, gentler version of Black Lives Matter propaganda, but the underlying themes are the same: Little progress has been made since the days of Jim Crow: Racial discrimination against black Americans is inevitable, police officers are the enemy.”
A sincere attempt to transcend racial tension would include the plight of people of all races, Malkin writes.
“Yes, racial discrimination still exists. Yes, parents of all races and ethnicities must expose their children to hard truths about people who will judge them by their skin color, eye shape, socioeconomic status, physical stature, and IQ instead of by their character,” she says.
“But if inclusion, diversity and candid talk are such cherished values at P&G, when will they be airing bold videos about the brutal treatment Asian-American high-school students have suffered at the hands of bigoted black students in Philadelphia over the past decade? Or about the targeting of young female Asian Americans and elderly Asian-American crime victims by black gang members in New York and San Francisco? Or on the long-simmering tensions between blacks and Latinos and blacks and Koreans in Los Angeles? Or how about decrying the prejudice against multiracial children who are mocked for looking ‘too white’?”
The “unrealistic” video also devalues the “nuclear family,” black conservative commentator Anthony Brian Logan said of the ad that depicts a father in only one scene.
“The only kind of talk I got was, ‘you need to do right. You need to do the best things you got to be doing,'” he said. “It was all about personal accountability, personal responsibility. It was not about ‘white people have this, white people have that.'”
“This whole commercial from Procter & Gamble – is nothing more than a marketing ploy to try to get black women on the Internet — to buy their products,” he continued. “It’s a marketing campaign to get people to come purchase things. It’s nothing else. It’s not some kind of PSA. It’s not an altruistic thing. It’s all about money and that’s it.”