Home South African Institute of Race Relations weighs in on debate about race and advertising

Institute of Race Relations weighs in on debate about race and advertising

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The IRR took the stand on day two of the inquiry held by the SA Human Rights Commission.

Gabriel Crouse, head of campaigns at the Institute of Race Relations.

THE INSTITUTE of Race Relations (IRR) has weighed in on the debate about racism within the advertising sector.

Taking the stand on day two of the inquiry held by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), IRR head of campaigns Gabriel Crouse indicated that adverts that were classified as “racist” were actually not.

Crouse was responding to the commission’s questions about racial discrimination in advertising.

In his opening remarks on Tuesday, Crouse maintained that there was a deep connection between race and advertising.

He gave an example on how the industry often influences the image of a brand and marketing of products.

Crouse said that in 2021 there was a large number of South African adverts which raked in millions of rand and only four or five were classified as racist.

“Maybe out of those four or five adverts, none of them were racist if we are to follow the difference to the Equality Court,” he added.

He said that that was a success for the advertising sector and that South Africans should be proud of that.

He also conceded during the inquiry that racism has been South Africa’s top challenge for many years, adding that different people will have different definitions of what racism is.

Crouse made it clear to the commission that according to him the adverts were not racist at all.

“When we asked people, have you personally experienced racism in the past five years, 80% of black people said no,” he stated.

Commenting on the controversial TRESemmé advert flighted by Clicks, Crouse defined “dry and frizzy” for black women and “fine and flat” for white women not to be compliments at all.

Meanwhile, Advertising Regulatory Board CEO Gail Schimmel told the commission that racism is a real issue in the South African advertising sector and its effects are seen among communities.

She explained that 90% of the advertising companies adhered to their regulations but some did not, hence they only hold the advertiser accountable and the influencer.

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