#3. Professional Golf Wants to Mend Centuries of Racism (With Some Friendly Fried Chicken)
Before the 2013 U.S. Open, Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia was lobbed a big fat wobbling softball of a question about his opponent, Tiger Woods. Garcia was asked if the pair would "be friendly."
Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
They hoped he'd threaten to eat Woods' children, but golfers are an affable lot.
"We'll have him 'round every night," Garcia chuckled. Then, noticing that nobody in the room was gasping and holding their hands over their mouths in shock, he went on to clarify: "We will serve fried chicken."
Then he presumably flipped the press the double bird while flying away on his jet pack.
In case you're not up on your racial stereotypes, the idea that black people can't get enough fried chicken goes back to Birth of a Nation, and it's largely considered offensive because, you know, Birth of a Nation. But man, maybe it was a matter of ignorance. Basically every culture on Earth serves some form of fried chicken, because fried chicken is awesome. Maybe he just meant to say he'd serve Woods a big fat plateful of deliciousness.
As long as nobody comes along to fortify this racist debacle, maybe the whole thing will just blow over. Uh-oh, here's George O'Grady, head of the BMW golf championship, and it looks like he's driving a cement truck:
Action Images/The Telegraph
Soon, an apology for the apology, the best kind of apology.
Listen, we know that in Spain, nothing short of a concentration camp is considered racist. But even so, "That's not racist, he has black friends!" is a pretty universal admission of guilt.
#2. Disney Totally Messes Up Their First Black Princess
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
When putting together The Princess and the Frog, a literally jazzed up retelling of The Frog Prince, Disney came across some issues. Namely that in early drafts their first black princess ever appeared as a servant named Maddy. Yes, Disney creatives at one point sat around a table and somebody said, "Hey, instead of a princess, what if she was a maid -- and instead of a name, what if she was just called something phonetically very similar to an archaic racist term for black women?"
And everybody thought that was such a good idea that they had to write it down.
State Library and Archives of Florida
"Mammy" turned, over the years, into an ethnic slur. Many words do that.
Luckily, sanity prevailed, and Disney reinvented Maddy as Tiana the waitress (the closest a black woman can get to a princess, apparently?). Unluckily, they didn't fire the guy who came up with Maddy, but instead promoted him to be in charge of product placement. Here's what he came up with:
Caroline H/Sociological Images
To X, From Y. Platonic Valentine candy!
Obviously the characters aren't supposed to embody the flavors in any way -- it's just a total coincidence that the white girl with the blonde hair is vanilla and the only black girl in the pantheon gets watermelon. Hell, chocolate would have been less offensive (just ask Life cereal up there).
#1. Dove Offers to Scrub Away Your Unseemly Blackness
Simone van den Berg/Photos.com
In 2011, Dove launched a skin product intended to moisten and revitalize aging skin (we're not sure how, so we're forced to assume it involved kidnapped orphans and youth-draining elixirs). They tried to be inclusive with their promotions, and prominently featured a white, Latina, and black woman in their ads, all showing off hauntingly youthful flesh.
Unfortunately, their arrangement left a little something to be desired.
via CBS News
Not even one Asian woman.
Due to silly layout problems, Dove not only implied that their product could wash away your ethnicity, but also that this was desirable. If you think we're reading too much into it, keep in mind that skin-lightening is a real thing, it's not exactly uncommon for us to be told that white = success, and it probably doesn't help that our brains tend to interpret images as progressing from left to right.
It legitimately looks like this Dove ad is saying that dark-skinned girls have terrible, damaged skin, and that this soap product can "fix" them -- finally turning their consumers into the skinny blonde women they've always dreamed of being.
The ultimate goal.
After the inevitable firestorm of controversy, Dove issued a statement clarifying that "all three models were intended to showcase the 'after' product benefit" and that they "do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience."
Don Rickles was presumably insulted by this statement, leaving Dove mired in a hellish Mobius strip of perpetual offensiveness.
Related Reading: Did you know ovulating can make you more racist? It totally can. And even if you aren't already a racist, Glee could turn you into one. Even nerds can be racist- as we've thoroughly documented.