Last year, October to be precise, Dove beauty soap came under fire for releasing an advert on Facebook featuring a black woman turning into a white woman after supposedly using the beauty brand’s body lotion.

Critics were quick to accuse the brand of aligning use of their body cleansing product with a racial transformation, which inadvertently presents the former as “dirty” and the latter as “clean” within the context of the ad. Dove has since issued an apology and the incriminating video has been removed.

The news now is that another one is here? This time around, it is H& M; Swedish clothing giant Hennes and Mauritz.

Who is A Monkey?

That is my take, my question.

On Monday, the company (H &M) had apologized and removed the advertisement of the black child after the company was accused of being racist on social media. It was a photo on the company’s online website of a black boy wearing a green hoodie with the inscription “coolest monkey in the jungle” This had triggered outrage among observers.

There is not an agreed-upon way to define racism and its use in advertisement because there is no standard idea of what racism is. The use of racial tropes is a common way to target specific demographics, and this is not inherently negative, though racism is.

This causes a great deal of debate when discussing whether it is ethical to use stereotypes in advertisement. Some people regard the use of archetypes to point to specific groups of people as racist, because it is a generalization. It could be offensive to some members of a group when their media representations are disproportionately distributed across a narrow type of appearance, and advertising is arguably the most prevalent medium available.

However, some may think that as long as the depictions do not cause harm, and they are successful in targeting a specific demographic, then they are not racist and are fair game for advertising.

This is it- can advertisers be more sensitive… there may not be a well-defined line to passing your various messages as far as racism is concerned , but, racism hurts.

By Kehinde Olesin