Software giant Microsoft has apologised for editing a photo to change a black man's head to that of a white man.
Honestly. How thick do some people have to be if they think it won't get noticed? They couldn't even be arsed to change his hand colour. And they want everyone to think they can handle thousands of line of computer code?
Not one to defend Microsoft, but I think it's probably just a case of a very bad local decision in their Polish office rather than a company wide policy.
Afterall, I think it would be difficult to call Microsoft racist based upon their adoption of "offshoring" for many of their business units.
When was the last time you called Microsoft Support ?
I wasn't calling them racist, just stupid. I think it should be allowed to do this without fear of being lambasted - after all, don't we get fed bollocks by the bucketload about respecting 'local culture' and 'local feelings'? In principle, if we have to embrace diversity just so long as we don't offend corporate US black people, at the expense of working class Poles, then whats the point of it?
To the muppet who contacted me and said I was a racist..
When the BBC sends females reporters to Pakistan and Iran, they have to cover up to engage with local customs so unless you want to display total parity, is it up to us to have a pop at Poles who might or might be misdirected by something as anodyne as having a not wanting a black person in an ad? Is that 'racism'? Is it the role of Microsoft and private companies to dictate what we should and shouldn't be feeling and thinking?
Especially when we only complain when the person being offended isn't the shaky head of an unstable region that has nuclear weapons and/or oil.
Good point Al R: watching Sky News over the recent weeks (and their ridiculously veiled Alex Crawford), I wonder what the NATO troups are fighting for. I had originally thought it was to get rid of the religious madmen, but having veiled Western women prancing around Afghanistan gives me the impression that NATO are there to promote fundamentalist Islam.
Back to Microsoft: has anyone given any thought to the fact that the percentage of blacks in Europe is so minute that there is no commercial point in targeting them. (Why the US, with only 14% blacks, overrepresents them, is another issue). In Europe, the MS ad in its original form simply doesn't work the way it perhaps does in the US. If you want to show the relevance of a product in international commerce, for example, you will definitely be better off showing Japanese, Korean or Chinese faces in Europe.
It's seems that these days it's oh so easy to cry "racist!" when minority races are excluded from advertising etc. Microsoft, is as we all know, a worldwide corporation, probably with a presence in every country/territory in the world. As someone pointed out, it makes little commercial sense to have representations of whatever in a market in which they don't belong. How ridiculous would it be for the same ad to be placed in, say, Tanzania. The 3 caucasian/asian models would be irrelevant in a population of 99% black people. Three black models would be relevant, and maybe due to cultural mores, perhaps no female at all...
In the past such campaigns would have been farmed out to affiliates of the main advertising agency and similar scenes would have been photographed, but with differing models (to fit the culture) and perhaps different setups and so on. The smaller countries offerings were generally handled by an European agency tasked to produce a basket of scenarios for many differing countries for the client. However, as we become ever more homogenized in this computer/internet driven world, the advertising agency and responsible Microsoft persons made the (bad) call to save money and do a 'one size fits all' version and let loose some truely crappy airbrushers to change the scenario in clumsy ways.
There are many racists amongst the populations of the world, who hate (and that's a strong emotion) anyone who isn't just like them. I've personally experienced racism many times in 2 Asian countries, 2 African (black) dominated countries, as well as in a few 'white' countries in Europe. If I would choose to be affronted, especially with modern legislation, I'm pretty sure that legal action could have been taken. However, I know only too well the feelings of ordinary people who are 'invaded' by those different to them and it seems human nature is set up to 'hold at arms length' those sheep not of the fold.
The Poles, at least those that i have come into contact with, seem like nice people, hard working, family orientated and church going (should that be a measure of character). There are so few foreigners in Poland, let alone many black people, that if the advert had featured the black gentleman, then they would not have done their research properly. Could this have all been a hornet's nest stirred up by someone with an agenda to push ?