Ads, Culture, and Race: America's Diversity Revolutionized by Ads - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1088 Words
Date:  2023-02-20


Almost immediately after the introduction of advertisements, images of cultural and racial groups have widely been used to promote the sale of goods and services. In countries such as the United States of America, characters in adverts have been derived from ethnic backgrounds, which have become common hence making advertisements a status of cultural icons. The high number of immigrants in America in the 1800s played a substantial role in heightening the national and cultural assortment of characters in advertisements (Minato, 2012). The rising population of immigrants and their improving economic status made the groups alluring to advertisers. Thus, this paper discusses and analyzes ten advertisements from the website, 'Business Insider,' and analyzes whether the content discriminates against the minority and immigrant populations and compares the findings to one discrimination theory.

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Sample Used for Study

The sample used for the study was ten advertisements that feature minority populations that include blacks, Hispanics, and Latinos. The sample was selected online from a website titled, 'Business Insider.' Also, the article within which the sample was collected is dated 2012. The advertisements present in the article depict the whites as the superior and dominant race (Minato, 2012). One of the reasons for selecting the article is the fact that it compiles some advertisements that were rendered to promote racial discrimination hence reinforcing prejudice and justifying ethnic stereotypes as well.

Description of Minorities and Immigrants as Portrayed in the Ad Samples

PopChips, American Apparel, and Burger King are some of the selected companies that used advertisements that got the corporations in trouble for allegedly promoting racism (Minato, 2012). Importantly, racism has had a long history in advertisements. However, it is unfortunate that companies use racist ads up-to-date. In the PopChips ad, the organization painted Ashton Kutcher in brown makeup. Kutcher played an Indian character, Raj, in the advertisement (Minato, 2012). The ad attracted immense criticism with claims that it promoted stereotypical behavior, particularly by putting brown makeup on a white person who acts in disguise of a black person. The character in the ad had a different accent, which depicted the different accent of most minority groups.

Consequently, the ads portrayed the dominance of the whites. The ad on PSP billboard has a white character that holds a shorter black woman viciously (Minato, 2012). The ad depicts the dominance of the white race over the blacks hence promoting stereotypical thoughts that the whites will always dominate other races. Also, another ad sample depicted the dominant nature of the whites, mainly when Burger King released an ad with a short wrestler in Mexican uniform. Similarly, the Mexican flag was also seen in the ad. Importantly, Mexico comprises on Latinos and Hispanics. The ad was considered racist since the short pugilist in Mexican uniform and the Mexico flag depicted the inferiority of the minority population.

Description of How the Ads Promote Social and Cultural Beliefs of the Minorities

The portrayal described above promotes ethnic and racial stereotypes in a variety of ways. One of the typical stereotypical thoughts is that whites are the dominant race when compared to other populations. Also, the ads seemingly appear to mock the accent of the minority populations hence showing that the minority groups have some flaws that make them inferior when compared to the whites. The majority of the ads appear to make fun of the lifestyles, accents, and skin color of the blacks, Latinos, and Hispanics. The ads associate flaws and imperfections to the people of color. Many of them depict black people as subservient, ignorant, and unattractive. Cartoonish images, bleach, and makeup brands have been used to lighten or darken the skin of the characters in the ads.

How Ads Promote Prejudice, Discrimination, Racism, and Anti-Migration Narratives

The advertisements promote and reinforce prejudice, discrimination, racism, and anti-migration narratives in different ways. First, by looking at the ads, viewers are likely to view minority groups as ignorant and unattractive persons. The views are likely to spread, and discriminations on these grounds are likely to result. The minority persons are likely to miss out on different opportunities because they are unattractive and ignorant. Secondly, individuals viewing the ads would associate blacks and other minority groups to incapability and stupidity. Such terms would be used often to refer to the people of color, which would increase prejudice and discrimination. Primarily, the ads are a source of increased racial discrimination, and any attempts to end these forms of prejudice are not likely to be successful.

How the Findings Compare to Theories in Textbook

The forms of racial discrimination portrayed in the advertisements discussed above fall under the theory of subtle, unconscious, automatic discrimination. The findings compare to this theory in that the racial hostility observed in the ad is not explicit. The forms of discrimination are not direct. Importantly, the intentions of the advertisers may be right, but their racially biased perspectives and associations are likely to continue, thus leading to adverse consequences. One of the reasons why the findings compare to the subtle, unconscious, and automatic discrimination theory is the fact that the ad contents are not directly discriminating against the minority groups. Most of the discriminatory signs identified are hidden. Besides, the respective companies claim that they had no intention of discriminating particular people in society. Healey, Stepnick, and O'Brien (2019) argued that subtle forms of discrimination are indirect and ambivalent, a characteristic observed in the sample. The conclusion that can be drawn from this analysis is the fact that the ads were discriminating indirectly, and most companies claimed to have to intention of causing prejudice and discrimination. However, this kind of prejudice evident from the ads could result in a community characterized by intensive discrimination against minority groups and immigrants.


To conclude, this paper analyzes ten advertisements containing minority groups and immigrants. The sample selected was ten ads from the 'Business Insider' website dated 2012. The ads promote racial and ethnic stereotypes by portraying the whites as the dominant population and the minority population as subservient, unattractive, and ignorant. The findings can be compared to the theory of subtle, unconscious, and automatic discrimination that focuses on indirect discrimination in most advertisements. The discriminatory content was hidden, and most company heads claimed that they had no intention of discriminating against the minority population.


Healey, J. F., Stepnick, A., & O'Brien, E. (2019). Race, ethnicity, gender, & class: The sociology of group conflict and change. Thousand Oaks, California : SAGE Publications, Inc.

Minato, C. (2012). 10 Recent Racist Ads That Companies Wish You Would Forget. Retrieved from

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Ads, Culture, and Race: America's Diversity Revolutionized by Ads - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 20). Retrieved from

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