Tag Archives: Black History Month

I have a dream that one day, faceless corporations will pander to me based on my skin color

As a middle-class white male, I know I’m not really in much of a position to bitch about being overlooked or disadvantaged.  Still, I’ll admit feeling a bit like the odd man out when one of my (formerly) favorite fast food establishments, McDonald’s, launched their “I’m Lovin’ It” ad campaign in 2003.  Few things are more transparent and painful than when a business makes an obvious attempt to pander to minorities, because they usually do such a piss poor job.

Oh sure, fast food chains targeting black people is nothing new, so that’s no big deal in and of itself.  But historically for TV ads, it seems the chains had their regular campaigns and then they had their “black” ads, replete with awful R&B-esque music and sad attempts to look hip.  But McDonald’s took it to a whole new level with “I’m Lovin’ It”, which featured a rapping soccer mom in one early spot.  Oh yeah, and this gem, which aired in Russia:

Now that’s commitment to a campaign.

So anyway, as much as I hated – nay, loathed – this lame campaign for years, I can’t help but chuckle at Mickey D’s attempt to show their love for African-Americans on the web.  That’s right, their is a McDonald’s website just for black people – 365BLACK!  It’s the one place on the web, I guess, where black people who don’t want their fast food experience to end with diarrhea can hang out and check out just how much McDonald’s cares about them.  After all:

At McDonald’s®, we believe that African-American culture and achievement should be celebrated 365 days a year “” not just during Black History Month. That’s the idea behind 365Black.com. It’s a place where you can learn more about education, employment, career advancement and entrepreneurship opportunities, and meet real people whose lives have been touched by McDonald’s. Plus, you can also have a chance to win exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. So make sure you visit often “” you just might get inspired.

Like the unique African Baobab tree, which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit, McDonald’s has branched out to the African-American community nourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities.

Hmmm, I wonder if any of those valuable programs and opportunities mention anything about the dangerously high obesity rates for African-Americans in this country?  Nope.  Well at least they probably have regularly scheduled special events to emphasize the special relationship McDonald’s has with the black community.  Oops. It seems like there hasn’t been anything new for black people to celebrate since the Essence Music Festival in July 2009.  I guess in the meantime you could head over to the company’s sites for Asians (Myinspirasian) or Hispanics (MeEncanta).

Thanks for marginalizing me McDonald’s.  So where can I, as a white person, connect with an eating establishment that truly cares about my white needs and white eating preferences?  I think that should be obvious.

With this ring…

The January/February 2008 issue of The History Channel Magazine (yes I subscribe) features some excellent content to commemorate Black History Month – a profile of prominent lawyer and rights activist William Henry Lewis and an expose of so-called sundown towns among them.

So imagine my dismay when I saw a full-page ad in the same issue for this:

Yee-haw!

Yeah I know that the reasons for the secession of the Southern states and the Civil War are numerous and complicated, but come on. This really is too much. Without even commenting on the utter tackiness of the ring itself – which I would expect to be worn by someone appearing on an episode of Cops – am I the only one who finds it a tad inappropriate that this thing is being advertised in the same issue of a magazine that shows pictures of a KKK rally and the 1921 Tulsa race riot?

To the magazine’s credit, at least they’re consistent. The March/April issue features a full-page ad for – I kid you not – a Confederate cuckoo clock (complete with a sculpture of Robert E. Lee) that announces the time with a miniature cannon.