Dove ads reveal need for more blacks in corporate leadership

racial justiceBy NBL member Melanie Bates

Earlier this month, news broke that Dove posted a racially insensitive advertisement on Facebook. The ad appears to depict a Black woman who turns white after using the Dove product. It conveys the faulty message that white is clean and black is dirty. This is not the first time Dove has been scrutinized for publishing racially insensitive advertisements. In an ad with before and after pictures, they showed an array of women and signified the white woman as the desired result. Even worse, the company sold a lotion that had the label “for normal to dark skin,” indicating that dark skin is not normal. Unfortunately, these types of messages in advertising are not new. Blacks have been the subject of racist soap advertisements dating as far back as the 1700s.

As a Black woman, I am outraged by what I saw. The reckless disregard of vetting ads for racially offensive content time and time again is simply unacceptable, especially during a period where our country is the most divided it has been in recent memory. By neglecting to do so, Dove has established a pattern and practice that should not be overlooked. We must demand answers to why these types of ads would make it past top level executives. This therefore speaks to a larger issue of the lack of Black women in corporate leadership. There needs to be more people of color at the top who are empowered to chime in when questionable acts are being contemplated. It is undeniable that racial diversity allows for a variety of innovative ideas leading to more equitable outcomes. Unless we make our voices heard and demand accountability, these despicable acts will continue.

Video: The racist roots behind the death penalty

death row“The death penalty in the South has roots in lynching,” says University of Virginia law professor and author Brandon Garrett. In a video interview at Salon, Garrett says “there’s a long, ugly history of racial bias in the American death penalty.” Garrett’s latest book is “End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.” In it, Garrett explains what led to the decline of the death penalty, and how reforms could one day bring it to an end. Read more in this article at Salon.

How the bankruptcy system fails blacks

bankruptcy budgetingBankruptcy is supposed to provide to relief to those who are unable, for a variety of reasons, to keep up with overwhelming debt. It’s supposed to give those filing a chance to start anew. However, according to an analysis by ProPublica, whites fare far better than blacks when it comes to actually seeing any relief from filing for bankruptcy. ProPublica’s report shows the US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee stands out in its analysis of bankruptcy filings nationwide, both for the large number of bankruptcy cases in which those filing were unable to get relief, and for the reasons why. Click to read more about ProPublica’s bankruptcy analysis.