Day 75: Advertising In Poor Taste

Something bubbled over last night, and it wasn’t a carbonated beverage.

Pepsi debuted an TV spot featuring Kendall Jenner that was one of the most offensive ads I’ve seen in a while. For those who haven’t seen it, feel free to reserve the two minutes and forty-one seconds it would take out of your life for other purposes, I will summarize it for you:

Kendall Jenner is in the middle of a modeling photoshoot, when something catches her eye. It’s a gathering of a large group of people, marching, clapping, holding signs and smiling. They’re headed to some unknown destination for some unknown reason, carrying signs which read “Join The Conversation!”

Whatever that means is unknown to me, but not to Jenner, who springs into action.

She joins the crowd as they turn a corner and run into an unexpected road block. It’s a row of mean looking cops. Jenner bravely ventures forward to offer an olive branch in the form of a can of Pepsi. The cop accepts the Pepsi, drinks it and the crowd goes wild. World peace and global warming are solved!

Forgive my language, but that’s not how this shit works. And to pretend otherwise is totally fucked up.

Black Lives Matter protests, both the ones I’ve been to and the ones I’ve seen, are never a fun social gathering. They’re peaceful, but emotional and angry and people are on edge. They’re necessary because real people, the vast majority of which are people of color, are getting killed by a justice system set up to destroy their lives and humanity.

Jenner herself is a symbol of white privilege, both in the commercial and in reality. She was born into wealth and privilege, culturally appropriates black hairstyles and dates black men, but has somehow failed to show up to protest systemic racism. When she approaches the cops, she isn’t shot, beaten or tasered for holding a metallic object (or being unarmed) but her gesture of peace is accepted.

To whitewash the people and issues that people protest for, the protestors themselves and the nature of the protests is disgusting, degrading and despicable.

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