Within the past few weeks, we have seen Republican Senator Mitt Romney is out in the streets yelling “Black Lives Matter,” Nascar is banning the Confederate Flag and even Vogue EIC Anna Wintour is apologizing for mistreating her Black employees, it’s clear that white folks (and their brands) are afraid…very afraid.
Witnessing this type of course correction has been incredibly interesting as more and more companies finally coming to stand in solidarity with our lives. The most recent corporation to finally get the notion that inclusion counts is Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aid company, who despite being in business since 1921, has decided to launch its first line of products dedicated to Black and brown skin.
“We hear you. We see you. We’re listening to you. We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence and injustice. We are committed to taking actions to create tangible change for the Black community,” they wrote on their Instagram page introducing the new line.
Adding, “We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin. We are dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions, better representing you.”
“In addition, we will be making a donation to @blklivesmatter. We promise that this is just the first among many steps together in the fight against systemic racism. We can, we must and we will do better.”
In terms of disposable bandages, I guess this what happens when the Fenty Effect meets the Black Lives Matter Movement. While, this is clearly a move in the right direction, because Black children need to see themselves reflected in every aspect of life—on-screen, in leadership and even in band-aids—it’s hard to cheer that loudly for it. With everything that has happened in this country for the nearly hundred years Band-Aid has been up and running, they just NOW have an epiphany that diversity matters?
Like…they were totally fine— even during eight years of the first Black president Barack Obama and his stunningly melanated wife Michelle Obama—to solely make and market products to white folks. Hell, they even had the sense to make money off band-aids with cartoon characters before they thought about us. But now, they want to jump on the bandwagon.
Not surprisingly, I am not alone, giving them the side-eye:
In a recent interview with Forbes, Dr. Duana Fullwiley, Associate Professor at Stanford University, perfectly sums up why this feels somewhat “insincere.”
“What would be the remedy beyond a Band-Aid?” she asks. “I think the timing can be read as an insincere response of this moment. Everyone is getting in line to be on the right side of history.”
Adding, “Since Johnson & Johnson has been marketing white-skinned Band-Aids for nearly one hundred years, a more meaningful response to combat the dehumanization of black people might be to make dark-skinned Band-Aids and to only sell those for the next 100 years. How would white people react? Most would probably do a double-take. That, in and of itself, would provide a tangible prompt for people to examine how normalized whiteness is in America. The double-take would hopefully also reveal the simple pervasiveness of white privilege.”