Those who watch TV and read popular magazines, particularly those that cover fashion, have surely noticed an almost over-night explosion of blackness. Black actors and fashion models must be raking it in during the current diversity mania. The use of blacks to pitch products or explain the world on PBS documentaries is not necessarily remarkable, per se. Nothing unusual, for example, if Nike TV commercials featured black athletes to endorse sneakers. Nor would it seem odd if such commercials or fashion shoots failed to reflect America’ demography—trends come and go, and who knows, hillbillies may soon be chic, and denizens of the trailer court may appear everywhere.
What is remarkable, however is incongruity between the presence of blacks and what is being portrayed on the tube. This can be almost comical. PBS-like science documentaries are now guaranteed to have black commentaries on subjects’ notable for the lack of relevant black expertise. Casting directors must know this, but one can only imagine the dictates to boost diversity regardless of what everybody knows to be true.
Diversity ads often feature “all-American” whites doing ordinary things but, lo and behold, almost inevitably an obviously intact black family will join in to share a camping trip or family picnics. Interracial couples, typically a black male and an attractive white female (70%) are commonplace. Old Navy, State Farm and Hyundai are notable for offering inter-racial settings to celebrate their products.
Casting directors may even compete to win some mythical diversity trophy with the more incongruous the better. My recent men’s Land’s End Catalogue and what I saw on the company’s website might have convinced a naïve observer that a firm once famous for catering to über WASP’s has now embraced lower-class black millennials as its targeted clientele.
Why the sudden transformation? Have America’s advertising gurus discovered a huge previously untapped market of African Americans anxious for merchandise portrayed in TV commercials featuring actors who resembled them? Have educators finally discovered that black youngsters will flock to STEM fields if these see black scientist explaining particle physics? Or, perhaps the good-think liberals who control the mass media see hiring black actors and fashion models as instant reparation to compensate for past discrimination?
All possible, of course, but unlikely. The incongruity is so obvious that viewers likely tune out the intended message in favor of just noticing a racial fantasy. If this tune-out were true, the entire diversity enterprise would just be wasteful virtue signaling, and those paying the bills would eventually abandon it and return to an earlier more realistic era. Moreover, at least some consumers would avoid products associated with lower-class young blacks or inter-racial couples. After all, one of the basic principles of advertising is to associate one’s product with what is admired. Think the “aristocratic” ads of Ralph Laruen or Rolex watches,
This sudden blackness is more likely propaganda on behalf of creating a multi-racial America where race “no longer matters.” As such, the bottom line hardly matters. Tellingly, blackness—not racial diversity in general–is central given the paucity of commercials featuring obvious Hispanics and Asians, No Vogue fashion spreads of geeky Asian kids lunging about their MIT dorms but one recent Nissan advertisement depicts a black woman with two children and a white father speeding through the frozen tundra and other extreme locations.
To be sure, this is unlikely to be a Soviet-style centrally controlled project though there can be little doubt that it is elite initiated, even coordinated. If firms saw their sales skyrocket by gratuitously employing black actors and models, this success would be headline news. As far as I can tell, however, no such news from the front.
To appreciate this propaganda mission, let’s conduct a thought experiment regarding individuals being able to reject this top-down imposed visual diversity.
Imagine that in June of 2022 three geeks in the classic California garage began marketing the “Diversity Filter” that attaches to the TV much like a computer or telephone spam filter. Using sophisticated AI technology and off-the-shelf virtual reality software, the Filter provides TV viewers three settings. First, zero diversity so every black will be converted into a white and that would also include speech, hair, facial gestures and all else that define racial traits. The second setting is “race appropriate” and exclusively targets racial incongruity—LeBron James remains LeBron James pitching Gatorade, but the AI software will “whiten” a young scruffy black male in dreadlocks selling car insurance. Finally, for the audience that cannot stand what they perceive as blatant racial lies, the Diversity Filter will warn the viewer of this misrepresentation, for example, a documentary claiming an epidemic of police killing unarmed blacks, so they can immediately change channels of turn off the TV.
The Diversity Filter costs \$150 plus shipping, arrive with a money-back guarantee and will be a snap to install. Marketing will naturally target those partial to Fox New, magazines with an alleged White Supremacist following and “controversial” race-realist websites. I’d guess that the Diversity Filter will fly off the shelf.
The reaction would likely be widespread outrage from those in charge. The media giants might claim that their images exclusively belong to them, and thus the Diversity Filter violates their property rights. They would file a complaint with the FCC while their legal departments would claim copyright or patent infringement by those manufacturing and marking the Filter. Even if frivolous, such litigation would be costly and TV stations might refuse Filter ads fearing being dragged into court battles. Attorneys for black actors might sue claiming that their client’s imagines have been altered without their consent and the Filter will hurt the careers of a community that has long suffered systemic discrimination.
Democrats in Congress will assuredly propose laws making it a federal crime to interfere with broadcast transmissions for the purpose of “promoting racial animosity and misinformation.” The media giants would then hire engineers to make transmission signals impervious to Filter manipulation
Under such pressure, the Diversity Filter might be marketed on iffy websites with deceptive names. Shades of an earlier era when nerdy entrepreneurs surreptitiously sold “black boxes” to avoid TV cable or telephone long-distance fees.
Who will defend the firm manufacturing and selling the Diversity Filter? Hardly anybody. The traditional civil liberty organization would take a pass. For them, this would be a private squabble between commercial parties and end users, so, absent government censorship, no need to bother. Call us when government imposes such images on those lacking choice. Ditto for libertarians who would argue that if the public is unhappy about seeing too many black astrophysicists, the best response is to not to watch TV. They will further add that if this racial fantasyland is as upsetting as claimed, the marketplace will punish the perpetrators by reducing sales.
On the other side, defenders of the Diversity Filter would justifiably assert that they are only fighting fire with fire. After all, the media, with scant exception, already censors by race—why so few pictures of violent criminals while news accounts of these incidents rarely mention the perpetrator’s race. Why are horrific black-on-white crimes filtered out of public discussions, but obvious white-on-black hoaxes are headline news? Why are “controversial” books such as Charles Murray’s Facing Reality barely acknowledged despite their timely, well-documented messages? Why can universities and government agencies photoshop images to exaggerate diversity without apologizing for this misrepresentation? In sum, enough hypocrisy.
One might conclude from this mental experiment that the insertion of (selective) gratuitous diversity by the mass media is comparable to the PC indoctrination imparted by American schools. That is, the State Farm commercial depicting an idyllic picture of race relations is no different than Sociology textbooks recounting how the civil right movement has moved America ever closer to a multi-racial paradise. Meanwhile my Land’s End catalogue is just the haberdashery version of the 6th grade science book showing a virtual UN of youngsters diligently performing their chemistry experiments.
Diversity Filter merchants are thus to be condemned as the equivalent of those advocating ending mandatory indoctrination-heavy public education. In a sense, those refusing to watch a convoluted diversity on TV resemble tradition-oriented homeschoolers. Going one step further, these “educational” commercials together with all the racially unrealistic documentaries might be viewed as a way of finally reaching all those who have long departed school and its “good-think” message. Now, thanks to WOKE-TV even fewer Americans ae beyond the reach of zealots propagating the multi-racial, multi-cultural faith. Land’s End is not just trying to make me look a bit more WSPy; it is also promoting a fantasy under the guise of selling shirts and pants.