As you might have noticed from my Kanye West/Katrina/Bush reference in this post's title, I and many others are annoyed if not angry at this Microsoft race blunder.
Here's the situation as described by CNET:
In a photo on the company's U.S. Web site, three businesspeople--one black, one white and one Asian are shown as part of a pitch for Microsoft's business productivity software. In the same photo on the site of Microsoft's Polish subsidiary, a white head is placed over the black person's body, although the hand is not changed.
WTF were they thinking?!?!
Clearly the original photo was intentionally shot to portray diversity (of race and age) in the workplace - why was it not acceptable for use as a Microsoft marketing communication in Poland? Are there no (professional) black people in Poland, and what does this say about Microsoft's vision for who their consumers should be?
There's no avoiding the natural questions that come up in this situation, like what made them decide to white wash the African American versus the Asian? Ah yes and clearly the white woman's head couldn't be swapped because the female hands would be a dead giveaway. Ugh! Just makes me wonder what the thought process was behind this photoshop of horror...
Using Twitter as a quickie press conference for handling PR disasters, here's the 140-character tweet/apology from Microsoft. Such an obviously corporate and non-transparent response - I would actually applaud Microsoft if they just came clean about what the decision-making process was behind this race change.
Honesty is the only moral pillar that will sustain the global conversation on racism and clearly there's a need for it in media and corporate communications.
Want a laugh? Check out this sarcastic Media Assassin blog post, Microsoft Introduces Its Most Advanced Application, Yet: Windows RaceChange Suite Express for Vista.
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Labels: diversity, multicultural, race, stereotypes, stock photography