Search This Blog

Friday, July 1, 2016

AMERICAN RED CROSS: You Should Have Called The Media Guy!

Okay, so where am I?

I'm waiting by the phone hoping Gail J. McGovern, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross, rings me back so we can discuss their outreach advertising. Their swimming pool safety poster channeled their inner Trump nearly alienating African-Americans across the United States. They picked a helluva a spot to showcase who's cool and who's not cool. I mean swimming pools in this country long been the hub of racism—take a read of the Washington Post's article detailing why "America’s swimming pools have a long, sad, racist history."

When I was a first-time parent, I remember reading a psychology article chronicling a series of books and educational materials that described good behavior with the pronoun "he," while bad behavior was written with a "she." Subtlety showing that females were the originators of poor actions and nor males. This poster applied that psychological manipulation to the graphics.

The Red Cross poster shows nearly every child doing something "not cool" as black, while the others who are "cool" are not. To further break it down, four out of the seven of the black children are shown as breaking the rules, while only two of the 10 non-black children are seen breaking the rules. The only depictions of "cool" behavior are from caucasian kids.

Ugh, American Red Cross! What were you thinking?!

The poster went viral when John Sawyer posted the image on Twitter, calling it "super racist" and implored the Red Cross to send a new one to The Salida Pool and Recreation Department in Colorado.

The pile-on was, of course, substantial and filled with sarcasm and frustration:

The American Red Cross responded to the masses with mea culpa stating they were creating new poster and removing the material for their site.

"We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone," the organization said in a statement.

C'mon Gail, one call to the Media Guy—before you printed and disseminated thousands of posters, wasted thousands of donor dollars and setting race relations back even further—could have solved all of your issues. A simple review of your poster by your new Commissioner of Common Sense (that's me) would have saved all that embarrassment. My moderate salary or retainer fee would have already paid for itself. 

Gail, please. Call me back. You'll be happy you did.


ALSO, DON'T MISS: The Los Angeles Times breaks down Jesse Williams passionate speech about racism at the BET Awards.