Dove recently released a commercial on Facebook that has social media in an uproar.
The video features an African-American woman taking off a brown shirt, only to transition into a red-headed white woman wearing a cream-colored shirt. The white woman then takes off her shirt, transitioning into another white woman — this time with black hair — wearing a beige shirt.
However, the commercial in its entirety — though brief — isn’t what’s being shared on social media. Instead, a side-by-side photo of the African-American woman changing into the white woman is what’s making the rounds.
Not unexpectedly, people are upset:
Dove has even issued an apology:
But as some on social media have pointed out, the side-by-side image isn’t representative of the actual commercial. Taken in context, the ad goes from appearing explicitly racist to looking like a case of unfortunate optics.
Did Dove make a poor marketing decision? Probably. Was it racist? No.