A Blackman mysteriously turns into a Whiteman. What was supposed to be a pictorial prowess ended up as a clumsy patchwork by Microsoft on one of their international campaign posters in Poland. Unmasked by the Internet, the multi-national firm is accused of racism. Having apologized, they intend to repair their error. But how is this error to be repaired in a country where high ranking officials, in the ruling party, have expressed their horror following a Blackman’s election into the highest U.S. office? Would a dog in the Microsoft campaign be more acceptable?
Is it possible that Microsoft believe their Polish customers cannot bear the sight of a Blackman? Apparently, yes, that is, if we follow the rather unbecoming pictorial “ethnic cleansing” carried out by the U.S. computer giant on one of their international campaign posters. The original poster shows three people: a White-woman, an Asian-man and a Blackman. In the Polish version, the Blackman’s head is butchered and replaced by a Whiteman’s head. Or shall we say, a more human head? The patchwork is, however, blotched Internet users notice that apart from the head swap all other physical appearances of the Blackman are kept on the Polish version, including – as the illustrated photos show – his black (or rather brown) hands!
A “marketing error “
The absurdity, spotted by Internet users who say the hoax is nothing short of pure racism, is cause for serious concern. An eruption of critics on the subject matter, Tuesday, forced Microsoft to apologize for what they called a “marketing error”, talk about a clumsy marketing strategy! ” “We apologize and are in the process of pulling down the image,” reads a message posted by Microsoft on its corporate Twitter feed. To observers, the incident seems all the more strange, considering that Microsoft has always promoted diversity.
But what would one not do to sell a few more computers in Poland, a country where the high and mighty openly express their fondness for racist ideologies? In November 2008, Artur Gorski, a Conservative member of the PiS, the Kaczynski brothers’ ruling party, proudly remarked in a most obnoxious manner that the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States was “a disaster, it’s the end of the white man’s civilization”. Could this Polish Microsoft campaign have been made to satisfy the whims of this conservative member, Artur Gorski, who belongs to a wider ruling government, the mouthpiece of the Polish people? What will Microsoft do to repair this error? Embark on an educational programme to make the Polish accept the fact that Black people are, in fact, humans? Would a dog in the Blackman’s seat have offended the Polish people that much?