Payday loans

Unapologetically Racist Nivea Ad Seeks To ‘Re-Civilize’ Black Men

08/18/2011 5:55 pm 14 comments

Source: Justin Fenner / Styleite.com

Black men have to deal with a lot of inextricable and damaging stereotypes, but the idea that we’re savages who can’t even be trusted to groom ourselves when the occasion calls for it is among the most offensive of them. And that’s the very idea being supported in a new ad from Nivea, which encourages men of color to “re-civilize” themselves and “look like [they] give a damn.”

The ad, which we spotted on Good not too long ago, features a smartly dressed man (white point-collar shirt, dark denim, a sweater that looks like it was knitted specifically to fit his forearms) shot-putting the decapitated head of another man who had the audacity to grow out an afro and a full beard. The message here is clear: If you’re black, embracing a tonsorial style that isn’t close cropped and clean-shaven will make you look like a total beast and no one will ever trust or hire you. You’d better run to CVS and get some Nivea products before your chance for a good life washes down the drain! Offensive? Absofuckinglutely. True? Not at all.

To be fair, Nivea has another ad that asks white men to “look like [they] give a damn,” which features a guy in a suit holding the similarly severed head of another guy with shaggy hair and a full beard. But that ad says nothing about re-civilization. The message there seems to be that white men already have a chance to be productive members of society, and they only need to trim a little scruff off here and there to maximize their potential to do so. In other words, they’re already civilized, they just don’t look like it.

But black men, according to Nivea’s brand messaging, are inherently uncivilized and can only become civilized if they forsake what comes out of their hair follicles naturally. And that’s simply not true. Different hairstyles may communicate different things, but having a certain hairstyle (just like having a certain skin color) doesn’t encode certain behavior. And that’s probably the most offensive thing about this ad — it suggests that if you change how you look, you can also change who you are.

To read this article in its entirety visit Styleite.com.

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  • firedogg

    This gives me the best reason for using their products. I didn’t know they created products with people of color in mind… when did this start?

  • firedogg

    for not using their product. (correction)

  • LaMont

    wow this is tough for me…only because i know a ton of black people who buy into the ideals of this ad…hmmm i have a full beard and locs and work for jewish attorneys…but yet i’m on the fence about my opinion of it…

  • Robert

    The first sentence of the artice is a joke….”Black men have to deal with a lot of inextricable and damaging stereotypes”. Please! Black men perpetuate the stereotypes themselves by commited far more crime than any other segmaent of the population. Stop stealing, looting, assaulting, and raping in such large numbers and you won’t have to deal with negitive stereotypes. 

  • Robert

    The first sentence of the artice is a joke….”Black men have to deal with a lot of inextricable and damaging stereotypes”. Please! Black men perpetuate the stereotypes themselves by commited far more crime than any other segmaent of the population. Stop stealing, looting, assaulting, and raping in such large numbers and you won’t have to deal with negitive stereotypes. 

  • Liz

    As an older white woman who has witnessed the brutality of Black men decade after decade, I absolutely see the Nivea ad as racist in total —  including the head the white man is carrying.  It is a very
    sad commentary on America.  Ties in with all the trash and disrespect our President has suffered since
    his election.  When will this nation grow up?  There is no need to fear any Black man.  

  • Dividia

    I’ve seen black man that look just like that mannequin’s head.  I will not hire them. I will not date them.  In fact I will go out of my way and cross I495 (during rush hour) to get away from them.  Each black man that I have seen that look like the head have either asked me for money or if I can pop my p*ssy. I would prefer the decent looking black man and everyone else would, too.  You can rock a fro, locks and even tribal cut beards and still look professional. I have locks myself and I keep them in check. Also, please tell black men that soap and toothpaste doesn’t cause cancer and to use it daily.

  • Not Ignorant

    Excuse me, please me factual.  Crime is actually down in the black community and up in the white community.  Yes, white people do more crime that black people.  It’s a fact. Look it up.  It just gets more media coverage when black folks do it.

  • John Phillips-Jones

    Oh please, the ad isn’t racist in the slightest. If it was a white guy not a single person would complain.

    The people complaining that it’s racist are imposing their own stereotypes on the ad.

    What’s wrong with saying that a guy with unkempt hair and a scruffy beard is uncivilized?

  • Tyrone Johnson

    It’s not racist, it’s true. I wouldn’t hire anyone (black, white, whatever) who looked like the mask. Get a grip people.

  • Keycampellis

    Are we to believe that a German company with the name Nivea which comes from the  Latin word niveus/nivea/niveum, meaning “snow white”, now cares about how black men are perceived in society? 

  • Keycampellis

    Are we to believe that a German company with the name Nivea which comes from the  Latin word niveus/nivea/niveum, meaning “snow white”, now cares about how black men are perceived in society? 

  • Mari Anne

    Your dear prez is the one that is causing a lot of this crap!!!!!!!!

  • Ttd1223

    You GO Liz!! ;)

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