Today in racist advertising: A Chinese detergent brand just released a commercial in which a black man is shoved into a washing machine, and emerges as a man of Asian descent. The ad, for Qiaobi laundry detergent, is every bit as awful as it sounds.
It begins by showing a black man, with paint on his face and clothes, walking into a laundry room. A woman of Asian descent signals in a come-hither way after the man whistles at her; she then proceeds to shove a detergent capsule into his mouth, and push him into a washing machine. The woman sits on top of the machine, while muffled yells are heard from inside. She then opens the lid, and pulls out a smiling man of Asian descent.
In 2014, the Black Atlanta Star named China one of the worst places for black people to travel to:
A person of African descent traveling to China should not be surprised if they are repeatedly stared at or even swarmed by crowds of curious Chinese who will treat them as a spectacle by taking pictures, touching their hair, rubbing their skin, and asking questions that reflect their ignorance and lack of interaction with Black people.
The Shanghaiist made similar observations in its story about the ad. “Thanks to traditional beauty standards valuing white skin, many Chinese people have a well-established phobia of dark skin, which unfortunately also breeds racist attitudes towards people of African descent, who are viewed by some as ‘dirty’ simply because of their skin tone,” the site wrote.
The Shanghaiist also pointed out that the new Qiaobi advertisement is virtually identical to an old ad for Italian detergent brand Coloreria (the two ads even have the same music playing in the background). In the Italian ad, however, the woman washes an Italian man and pulls out a black man. The tagline for the commercial is “Coloured is better.”
So, whoever developed the Qiaobi ad should be fired twice: once for creating something completely racist and a second time for blatant plagiarism.