Of washing powder, Afrophobia and racism in China

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The conversation

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The Conversation


Roughly two months have passed since the Qiaobi detergent advertisement went viral. The advert, in which a Chinese woman shoves a black man into a washing machine only for him to emerge as a shiny, clean, Asian man, prompted Western media to call it “the most racist ad ever”. At the height of the controversy, commentators from all over the world quarrelled endlessly over whether or not the advert was evidence of China being a racist society. Eventually, the Chinese government intervened and the company behind the offensive advert issued an apology.

Across my social and academic networks, the ad caused a major storm. Everyone from traders to academics and advertisers weighed in. With tensions running high, African traders in Guangzhou were quick to point out that Chinese ignorance in race-related matters was probably behind the advert.

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Recommended Citation

Castillo, R. (2016). Of washing powder, Afrophobia and racism in China. The conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/of-washing-powder-afrophobia-and-racism-in-china-60274