Okay…so I’ve seen this anti-smoking ad produced by Truth.com and featuring Amanda Seales and I have to say it disgusts me. So facts are that in most city demographics Black people smoke more and that Black people are less likely to successfully quit smoking. And it is indeed facts that tobacco brands advertise more in Black neighborhoods but in the commercial they say “it’s not coincidence; it’s profiling.” That is where I draw the line.
Now I think it’s fine that there are organizations advocating for smoking cessation but to target Black people and hype up tobacco company’s target marketing and call it profiling is ridiculous. In fact it makes them the profilers and not the tobacco companies.
Marketing vs Profiling
There is a line between marketing and profiling but it’s really not that thick. Target marketing is part of what all companies do. They identify their customers according to demographic data such as location, age, gender, ethnic group etc. and then they use that information to guide where they advertise and how they shape their messages to relate to that group. So when the commercial cites that tobacco companies advertise more in Black communities, that isn’t profiling, it’s marketing. I mean would you call it profiling for tampons and maxi pads to advertise in a beauty salon? Are they profiling because they don’t include men in their commercials or consider men to be potential customers? That would be ridiculous.
What pisses me off is that profiling is a real thing and should be addressed but likening it to what is nothing more than standard marketing strategy degrades the struggle against the real thing. I’m surprised that Amanda Seales was a part of the commercial. She seemed to always have a very good nose for these kinds of nuances.
The Truth.com is clearly trying to take advantage of the re-emergence of activism and interest in social justice in order to push their agenda. The truth is there are a lot more dangerous things for Black people than smoking. Try heart disease, try strokes or better yet try the root causes for those diseases that plagues 1/3 of the U.S. population: obesity. Where are the anti-fat commercials? And after they finished with the Blacks they have now begun to place ads targeted the LGBTQ community. To again rally the efforts of an underrepresented group that is growing in power and voice through their advocacy. But no matter how they try to appeal to the emotions of these groups and leverage the power of their activism, Tobacco will NEVER be a social justice issue…ever.
For the Truth.com to call out Big Tobacco for racial profiling is audacious. For them to use the civil rights struggle of Black people to further substantiate that cause is egregious. Their narrative is suggesting that they are on our side, but when it comes to these organizations and institutions who have not historically supported the civil rights struggle and come with their own adjacent agendas, we should always be skeptical of their motives. Clearly the Truth.com doesn’t care anything about Black people being racially profiled or our struggle for equal citizenship. To try to use it as propaganda to get us to support their cause is shameful. Black folks better peep game.
I’m not saying; I’m just saying,
An Angry Black Man