This Donna Karan ad features a light-skinned model in the foreground, sitting in the back of a pickup truck, wearing neutral-toned clothing and a large statement necklace sitting. In the background are two black models, wearing clothing that is not meant to be featured in the ad. The light-skinned model is fully in focus, looking directly into the camera with a challenging stare. Conversely, one of the black models looks beyond the frame, while the other looks at the light-skinned model, and both are in the shadows, out of the picture's focusThe ad boasts, “Photographed in Haiti. Discover the beauty and inspiration”.
Do The Right Thing is a highly controversial 1989 film, written and directed by Spike Lee, about a Brooklyn neighborhood gripped by racial tension. In this scene, a young black man and his friends demand that Sal, the Italian-American proprietor of Famous Pizza, add some black celebrities to his restaurant’s wall, which operates in a mostly black neighborhood. Things quickly escalate to the point of violence.
This Dove ad shows a before and after up-close of skin. The “before” looks dry and flaky, while the “after” looks healthy and moisturized. Standing in front of the “before” is a black woman, in front of the “after” is a white woman, and in between the two is a woman of a more ambiguous racial identity The ad came under scrutiny for the seemingly premeditated placement of the models by skin color, although Dove asserted that this was completely unintentional.
In this Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1980’s,Eddie Murphy goes undercover using makeup to see what it is like to be white. The satirical skit follows Murphy as he goes through a number of everyday experiences as a white man. He is shocked to see the many privileges and benefits he receives from other white New Yorkers – from a cocktail party in a city bus to free money at the bank.
Every Single Word is a series of videos and blog run by writer and performer Dylan Marron. Every Single Word edits down popular films to only feature the words spoken by people of color. The series illustrates the lack of racial and ethnic minority representation in mainstream film by showing the mere minutes or even seconds characters of color are given in lengthy blockbusters and movie franchises. For example, in the entire Harry Potter series of 8 full-length films, 6 minutes of dialogue is given to characters of color, or 0.47% of screen time. The example linked above is from the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire. Marron features blockbuster hits, top-grossing films, and critically acclaimed masterpieces. Many videos in the series end after the title of the movie is displayed because there is no speaking time at all for characters of color.