Fear of a Black IT Department: Microsoft Says “Oops! Our Bad.”

It’s been only two days since word went out on Twitter about the Microsoft promo that had a white man’s head superimposed ontop of a black man in what has been widely criticised as mostly a bad Photoshop job. It has been reported on by online news outlets including The Huffington Post and Engadget. Microsoft was predictably quick to offer the basic “we’re-sorry-we-don’t-know-what-happened-we’ll-look-into-it” apology. CNN reported on Microsoft’s “Mea Culpa”, which you may watch here:

Two things all three of these pieces have in common are 1) that emphasis is paid more to the shoddy attention to detail in the creation of the ad (using an Apple MacBook, mediocre Photoshopping) rather than racist implications; and 2) they all missed a very important detail about the black man’s hand.

I’ve already gone over the racism implied by the action of replacing the black man’s head with that of a white man, so I’ll focus on what no one else has: the hand. The same statement keeps coming up all over the place, basically that “they forgot to Photoshop out the black guy’s hand!” But did they? Take a look again…

Oh, come on. Really?

Look closer.

His hand has been visibly (and may I say, quite obviously) lightened from about the wrist up. There is still a part of the man’s arm sticking out of the sleeve that indicates his true complexion. The hand has been lightened in both versions.

Don't let the MacBook, wrong lighting and mediocre compositing job distract you. The real story is still the racist implication.

Don't let the MacBook, wrong lighting and mediocre compositing job distract you. The real story is still the racist implication.

Thanks to Bill from Attention 101 for the YouTube link.

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