Procter & Gamble, which produces many of the every day products you’re familiar with like Mr. Clean and Downy, recently released a commercial under a new campaign called #TalkAboutBias called The Talk. In it, black parents speak with their kids, appearing to be in different eras of American history.
The ad highlights the ways parents of black kids have to talk to them about navigating the world, from dealing with slurs to learning how to handle interactions with the police. It’s a very moving glimpse into what many will recognize as their own reality:
BET reports that the campaign has caught all sorts of backlash online, with many accusing the company of “reverse racism” and making angry promises to never buy a P&G product again.
Disgusting! I am thru with P&G! You are depicting a bye gone era and you know it. I hope American blacks see how you are trying to use them
— Lynn Fewell (@Lynn_From_KY) July 31, 2017
message u put out: all whites r racist & all cops r bad. this is 1 person who will boycott your products until u modify ad to be honest.
— jim chambers (@jimchambers2) August 1, 2017
Your job is to make and sell products, NOT drive a bigger wedge between the people of this country. You should be ashamed to use racebaiting
— Shadilay (@taffytulip) July 31, 2017
Some people stepped in to point out that the campaign is simply asking that white people who haven’t experienced the racist incidents appearing in the commercial take a moment to consider what they’re being shown:
I didn’t get that from this add at all. White people were not mentioned. It encourages one to pause and walk in anothers shoes for a moment.
— Me myself and I (@jennybcsilly) August 1, 2017
It’s not race-baiting when families still have to have these discussions with their kids in 2017. The word you are looking for is “wrong.”
— ReedNickUlous Dad (@REEDiculousDad) August 1, 2017
Only a racist could be offended by this video. If you’re not guilty, it’s not talking to you. If you were unaware it educates you.
— Keith Jones (@preacherkeith) August 1, 2017
WLWT 5 reports that brand director of North America Procter & Gamble, Kristine Decker, says that they want to “make sure everyone hears this conversation.”
“Every mom, every dad has to have the conversation about the birds and the bees. But black parents have to have another conversation about race and trying to prepare their kids for what they might face as a black child. The resilience they may need. Just the bias that happens in society,” Decker said. “If you look at the ’50s, ’60s , ’70s up until today. It is the same conversation. That is unacceptable.”
Decker also pointed to a previous ad from the company about gender equality:
“So it is everyone’s job to be better. We hope that conversation starts and everyone to be a part of the cause as well,” Decker added.