In what has been dubbed “The Most racist commercial of 2016” by the Los Angeles Times, and other global media organizations, a Chinese detergent commercial has sparked a global outrage for the unethical portrayal of people of African descent.
Regulators in China are frantically looking for ways to repair relations with people of colour. The company involved in the advertisement has since issued an apology.
In the said commercial for a laundry detergent, a Chinese woman is seen doing her washing when a paint-spattered black man approaches her. As he gets closer, she seems to be responding to his flirtatious advances. Then she suddenly shoves a laundry packet in his mouth and crams him into a washing machine.
He emerges moments later, not as a black man, but as a light-skinned Chinese man. The woman seems pleased with this development. The commercial ends with the ad copy: “Change starts with Qiaobi.”
The commercial had apparently aired for months in China, without generating much debate, until a flicker of online discontent was picked up by a local English-language website. It posted a link to the ad and within hours it had gone viral, sparking a global conversation about racism in a country that is officially home to 56 ethnic minorities but is dominated by Han Chinese.
The advert unsurprisingly is a copycat of an Italian advert where this time a white man was washed black. Chinese people refuse to be associated with racism but in actual fact it has always been there, In China whiter skin is favored over tanned skin. There is also discrimination particularly in the human resource industry where whites no matter their origin are widely preferred than people of African descent.