Wednesday December 12, 2018

Chinese Company Ad unintentionally sets off Talk on Racism

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  • A detergent advertisement by a Chinese company Qiaobi, invites criticism on the grounds of racism
  • A black man is ‘washed’ with the help of the advertised product to change into a fair, chinese man
  • Qiaobi formally writes an apoplgy statement, stating it expresses deep regret for hurting sentiments of the Black people

A seemingly simple advertisement by a Chinese company, Qiaobi, which was first released on Chinese social media in March, came under widespread scrutiny last week as foreign media fueled allegations of propagating racism against the company.

The advertisement shows a black man trying to flirt with an Asian woman, who, unimpressed by his efforts, tosses him into the washing machine to wash him with the company’s advertised product. In a short while, a fair Chinese man appears from the machine, who highly appeals to the woman, as is evident by her smile.

After the sudden attention that the ad received, many online comments surfaced, like, “It should be taken down. All in all, not only is it offensive, but the rest is a complete copy. It has really caused us Chinese to lose face’, referring to the allegation that it was copied from a similar racist Italian advertisement. A few comments, however, spoke in favor of the Chinese company, saying, “There’s no reason to apologize. Blacks aren’t part of the 56 minority groups in China, so how could it be considered offensive?”.

After careful assessment and to avoid further negative press to the advertisement, Qiaobi issued an apology statement, which reads:

On 27 May 2016 on Sina Weibo, media outlets and internet users shared American media reports with the following information: “China’s Qiaobi advertisement is accused of ethnic discrimination, incites controversy on YouTube.” Later, we verified that the ad has been reported on or circulated by American media outlets including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and CNN; the UK’s BBC; France’s AFP, and other media outlets. It has attracted public attention in the US, the UK, and elsewhere. We’d like to express that we have properly managed this situation and would like to add the following:

  1. We have no intentions to discriminate against people of color… Ethnic discrimination is something we strongly reject and condemn.
  2. We express regret over the controversy the ad has created and do not intend to shirk responsibility. We have already stopped the ad’s circulation and have canceled several online streaming links. We hope that internet users and the media will cease sharing the video.
  3. The advertisement and the surrounding controversy have hurt people of African descent. We express our apologies, and also sincerely hope internet users and media won’t overanalyze the situation.
  4. Qiaobi is a domestic Chinese brand of cleaning products. We hope that domestic brands can continue to thrive and go global.

Written by Saurabh Bodas. Saurabh studies Mechatronics Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology.

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Actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra Faces an Unpleasant Experience of ‘Racism’ at Sydney Airport

Along with the note, Shilpa Shetty Kundra also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers "whether it is oversized or not"

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Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Shilpa Shetty faces racism at Sydney airport. (Wikimedia commons)

Actress-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra on Sunday alleged that she faced an unpleasant experience for being “brown” at the Sydney airport over her cabin luggage. Upset by an official who was curt, she says people’s tone must not change with preference to colour.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who dealt with racism in 2007 when she was a contestant on the fifth season of the British reality show “Celebrity Big Brother” — which she went on to win — faced the latest experience while boarding a plane for Melbourne from Sydney.

The 43-year-old took to Instagram to share the ordeal with a Qantas Airways lady staff member over a cabin luggage, which was deemed as ‘oversized’ at the check-in counter.

A furious Shilpa wrote: “At the check-in counter, met a grumpy Mel (that’s her name) who decided it was ‘okay’ to speak curtly to ‘us’ (brown people!) travelling together. I was flying business and had 2 bags (my allowance) and she insisted and decided my half empty duffel bag was oversized (to check-in), so she sent us to check it in at the other counter dealing with ‘oversized luggage’.

“There a polite lady (yes this one was) said, ‘This is not an oversized bag, please check this in manually if you can at another counter’ (all this happening while the counter is going to shut in five minutes).

Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Shilpa Shetty Kundra.

“As the manual check-in wasn’t going through for five minutes (we tried), I went upto Mel and requested her to put the bag through as her colleague said it wasn’t an oversized bag. She refused again… Just being adamant especially when I told her this is causing a lot of inconvenience.

“We had no time to waste so we ran to the oversized baggage counter and requested her to put the bag through which she did after I told her that rude Mel had issues! To which another colleague joined in and reiterated my duffle wasn’t oversized and could’ve easily been checked in.”

The “Dhadkan” actress said her intention to narrate her experience is to make Qantas Airways take cognisance of the matter.

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“Their staff must be taught to be helpful and tone can’t change with preference to colour. ‘We’ are not pushovers and they must know that being callous and rude will not be tolerated,” she added.

Along with the note, Shilpa Shetty Kundra also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers “whether it is oversized or not”. (IANS)