For years, people have been gaining knowledge concerning trending global affairs through advertising as well as pop culture references. Several companies and organizations have strived to align their interests with the social, political, and cultural issues in society, and this has significantly influenced consumers positively because of the favorable impression created. Consumers attain self-satisfaction when they spend their money with companies/organizations that support a cause and engage in social responsibility (Brands 2). Because advertisements target society, they impact society in several ways. As such, society considers how an advertisement is presented and the effects it bears on the people. This essay examines the social issue of racial discrimination as it pertains to advertising. Racial discrimination happens to be a current and ever-evolving social issue across the world. The advertisement in consideration is that created by Airbnb Company. The company of focus decided to align its interests with the issue of racial discrimination after increased cases of racism that were experienced by the minority groups (in this case, it was the black community) while requesting service from the company. A campaign to boycott the company raised significant concerns among the stakeholders hence the need to dive into the matter and advocate for anti-racism in society. Even though racial discrimination cannot be entirely erased in the globe, there is a need to identify and address racism since it encourages undeserved privileges to some people and subjects undeserved restrictions on others. The advertisement created by Airbnb as a response to the racist-allegations opposes the idea of bias and discrimination subjected to people in society - it creates undeserved restrictions to the minority group and promotes hatred.
Challenging racial discrimination in society is an essential focus of most organizations and companies across the globe. It is, therefore, essential to hold debates regarding this issue that is terrorizing the society. Nevertheless, first, it is crucial to understand what racial discrimination entails - through description of the issue and provide a thoughtful rationale as to why people should care about it. Psychologists have defined racial discrimination as "systematic assumptions that certain groups are superior to others, based on cultural differences in values, norms, and behaviors" (Community Tool Box 1). Given that, racial discrimination causes the minority group to be treated less favorably in many ways. The racially discriminated group is imposed on unequal opportunities, limited resources as well as benefits accessible to the broader community. Racial discrimination has proven to be pervasive, and it usually is a reflection of the deeply engraved social, political, and cultural inequalities in society. As such, racial discrimination is declared evident when an individual uses power or authority to maltreat others. For years, some companies and organizations have exhibited institutionalized racial discrimination, which has affected the victims involved as well as the company in return through boycotts from consumers.
The issue of racial discrimination needs to be addressed in society because it bears adverse effects. It is crucial to curb racial discrimination firstly because it prevents the victims of racism from attaining their full potential as human beings. Secondly, it restricts the victims from making full contributions to society; for instance, when a black person is denied a job as a result of racial discrimination, then the community at large lacks the services of that person, hence stagnating development in society. Thirdly, racial discrimination has always been associated with increased chances of retaliation and resistance, hence unprecedented violence in society. Race-based violence is a widespread issue across the world, all because of the increased racial discrimination. In some cases, deaths and genocides have been witnessed as a result of racial discrimination. Fourthly, it is essential to reduce racial discrimination as it goes against the ideals of democracy, which founded most nations around the globe. As a result, racial discrimination has been declared illegal in most countries across the world.
Since racial discrimination bears adverse effects, governments, organizations, companies, and individuals at large have intervened to erase the social issue tactically. The anti-racism interventions can be instigated in the workplaces, media, schools, communities, and neighborhoods. However, the primary focus for this paper the intervention initiated through media, particularly advertisements. Organizations and companies use media advertisements to address the issue of racial discrimination in many scenarios. A company of interest in this discussion is Airbnb, a U.S-based Company. Airbnb joined the anti-racism campaign after racism claims were raised against it. In 2017, the company initiated the campaign through print advertisements (Hamlin 1). The advertisement conveyed a profound message of love for all after clients from the Black community raised several concerns about discrimination during the previous year (Hamlin 1). The company's CEO, Brian Chesky, initiated the campaign and took it all over social media. The advertisement was released in support of the then-upcoming Super Bowl event. The advertisement comprised of a series of images of people from different races, all cropped in one picture, with a caption below it. The caption read: "No matter who you are, where you are from, whom you love, or whom you worship, you deserve to belong" (Hamlin 1). The advertisement was developed with a link to the company's website, and it targeted customers, convincing them to make reservations regardless of the race. Since Airbnb's goal is to provide affordable housing to the people in need, the advertisement aimed at accommodating "refugees, disaster survivors, and relief workers" during that period, as well as "many other types of displaced people" over time (Hamlin 1). From these captions, we can tell the company's effort to align its interests with the issue of racial discrimination that is affecting society. The advertisement demonstrated a sense of evolution when it comes to societal issues such as racial discrimination; its intervention intended to accommodate people of various races, ages, and religious backgrounds. The company responded to the issue of racial discrimination quite bravely after having fallen in the ditch of racially-tagged organizations. Airbnb went further to enact unlimited anti-discrimination policies to address the issue of social discrimination both internally and externally (McCloskey 203). This shows Airbnb's need to provide equal opportunities to all its customers while conveying a critical message to society at large. Airbnb recognizes the adverse effects of racial discrimination in society, and as such, the company's advertisement was also a form of criticism to President Donald Trump's contentious executive travel ban order (Hamlin 1). The Airbnb Company, with the lead of their stakeholders, are against any form of racial discrimination for the good of all. Racial discrimination experienced within the company puts it at a disadvantage because of possible boycotts by consumers. Given that, the company is striving to impress consumers while keeping business interests as well as protecting society from the effects of racial discrimination. The U.S is a democratic country, and racial discrimination is illegal - it is, therefore, important for other companies/organizations to initiate thoughtful advertisements and those that address societal social, political, or cultural issues. Advertisements are indeed suitable platforms to showcase social responsibility.
Brands, Sustainable. "Study: 81% of consumers say they will make personal sacrifices to address social, environmental issues." Stakeholder Trends and Insights, May 27 (2015).
Community Tool Box. "Section 4. Strategies and Activities for Reducing Racial Prejudice and Racism." Chapter 27. Cultural Competence in a Multicultural World | Section 4. Strategies and Activities for Reducing Racial Prejudice and Racism | Main Section | Community Tool Box, ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/culture/cultural-competence/reduce-prejudice-racism/main.
Hamlin, Clarissa. "Airbnb Releases #WeAccept Super Bowl Ad After Racism Claims." NewsOne, NewsOne, 6 Feb. 2017, newsone.com/3659970/airbnb-releases-weaccept-superbowl-ad-after-racism-claims/.
McCloskey, Jason. "Discriminatorybnb: A Discussion of Airbnb's Race Problem, Its New Anti-Discrimination Policies, and the Need for External Regulation." Wash. UJL & Pol'y 57 (2018): 203, https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2059&context=law_journal_law_policy.
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