Microsoft Caught in Web Racism: Edits Black Man From Ad

August 26, 2009

(ChattahBox)– Microsoft, the Seattle based software giant is furiously trying to tamp down a public relations nightmare, after the company was caught replacing a black man’s head with a white man’s in an online ad. The photoshopping was so crudely done, that the black man’s hands remained unchanged.

Perhaps Microsoft meant to promote racially harmony with a model featuring a white man’s head and a black man’s hands?

The original ad appeared on Microsoft’s main U.S. Web site, which was used to advertise the company’s business productivity software. The ad featured three business people sitting around a conference table; a black man, an Asian man and a white woman.

However, on the site of Microsoft’s Polish business unit, the black man’s head was erased and replaced with a white man. But the photoshop artist wasn’t very diligent and forgot to “whiten” the black man’s hands to match the white man’s head.

The sloppy racial alteration was quickly noticed and immediately began circulating throughout the blogosphere. Microsoft was accused of not only a crime of bad photoshopping, but of racism to appease to the different ethnic make up of the Polish population.

Microsoft pulled the ad and quickly apologized saying, “We are looking into the details of this situation.” “We apologize and are in the process of pulling down the image” from the Polish site, said a Microsoft official.

Microsoft also posted an apology on its Twitter account tweeting, “Marketing site photo mistake – sincere apologies – we’re in the process of taking down the image.”

Source


Comments

4 Responses to “Microsoft Caught in Web Racism: Edits Black Man From Ad”

  1. Tim Acheson on August 26th, 2009 11:05 am

    This story has nothing to do with race. Any suggestion that this is racism is pure controversialist nonsense. This is not a news sort. It doesn’t even warrant the effort it takes me to write this comment. Let’s try to grow up.

    This is a simple case of substituting the face of one model for another because it looks better. This happens all the time. Photoshop is routinely used by large companies and small agencies alike to adapt promotional material in this way. You try to hire the right models to create the look you’re going for, but in a large global company preferences will differ.

  2. Minister Faust on August 26th, 2009 7:12 pm

    Apparently Tim believes that offering unblinking absolutes is the same thing as proof. Sadly, he presents no evidence to back his assertion.

    Clearly, since Microsoft has presented no internal description of events (and is unlikely to do so), we do not *know* what the motives were. What’s strange is that, in the absence of *any* evidence, Tim seems to think he can rule out racial bias and discrimination. Of course, *pre-judging* a situation or motives is central to the social ill called–well, hopefully one can understand that train of reasoning.

    Tim’s argument would be far more reasonable and therefore credible if he’d urged caution before making any assumptions about racial bias. Yet unfortunately he undercuts his present argument by saying, without qualification, that this is a “simple case of substituting the face of one model for another because it looks better.”

    Interesting… without any information to go on, Tim can assess the motives of the designer or executive in charge? Or is Tim speaking of his *own* preferences? If so, why does he prefer this European model to the original African model? Since he has provided no reasons, we’re left to speculate, unfortunately, which is why he needs to pay greater attention to the rules of argumentation. We shouldn’t have to speculate–he should tell us.

    In fact, it’s not unreasonable, when creating an ad for Poland, to feature models who remind Poles of themselves. That, of course, begs the question as to why the East Asian model remains; possibly the answer is the stereotype of East Asian computational or business acumen. Of course, *we do not know* whether that was the reason, since we have no evidence. We might also benefit from knowing the ethnic make-up of the new Poland, and not assuming it’s exclusively White.

    Racial discrimination is a serious, well-documented and highly destructive social ill affecting employment, medical care, finance, law enforcement, housing, mental health and more areas of human experience. We cannot understand phenomena if we issue judgements, a priori, that such phenomena do not exist in a given scenario *without having investigated the scenario first.*

  3. MSpears on August 27th, 2009 10:46 pm

    Minister Faust needs to stop looking for racism where none was ever intended. This is about localizing an ad for Poland, which is 97% white. And that is ALL it is. If whoever was doing the work in Photoshop had been paying attention and whitened up the hand, this would not even be newsworthy.

    Having said that, I do not disagree that racism is a serious and well-documented issue. I do, however, think that some people are a little too anxious to jump on the racism bandwagon, and see racism where none exists.

  4. Minister Faust on September 5th, 2009 2:05 pm

    MSpears does not have sufficient evidence–and indeed, presented zero evidence to the effect that–I am “looking for racism where non was ever intended.” That failure to provide evidence defeats his own claims immediately.

    MSpears went on to write “This is about localizing an ad for Poland, which is 97% white.” Evidently, MSpears did not bother to read my sentence, which read: “In fact, it’s not unreasonable, when creating an ad for Poland, to feature models who remind Poles of themselves.”

    MSpears writes “some people are a little too anxious to jump on the racism bandwagon, and see racism where none exists.”

    MSpears has no evidence, and indeed, presented none, to evaluate anyone’s degree of anxiety; he presented no evidence regarding the existence of a “racism bandwagon,” and falsely accepts as an a priori conclusion that no racism exists in the above case.

    Of course, I wrote in response to the original commenter:

    “Clearly, since Microsoft has presented no internal description of events (and is unlikely to do so), we do not *know* what the motives were. What’s strange is that, in the absence of *any* evidence, Tim seems to think he can rule out racial bias and discrimination. Of course, *pre-judging* a situation or motives is central to the social ill called–well, hopefully one can understand that train of reasoning. Tim’s argument would be far more reasonable and therefore credible if he’d urged caution before making any assumptions about racial bias.”

    I remain surprised by the degree to which racism-deniers refuse to present evidence in their denials. When the racism-deniers reach the point that they can agree to some standards of argumentation (e.g, presentation of evidence, evaluation of evidence and its relevance, causation, proof, relevant point-by-point rebuttal), we’ll be far better off.

    To reiterate, since apparently it’s necessary: my posts never claimed racial bias. I am demonstrating that the deniers lack credibility, because they, without bothering to present so much as a shred of evidence, declare emphatically that no racial bias was even *possible* in this case. MSpears undermines his position further by attributing fantastical qualities to me, such as “looking for racism where none was ever intended.”

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