The American Marketing of Black People

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Marketing is a powerful tool.

I’ve learned this running my business, if you name a product something catchy, people can understand it quickly and it is easily consumable…you have a marketable product.

One of the biggest marketing tactics that anyone in America has probably heard of is of Texas.

The term “don’t mess with Texas” was carefully, planned and thought out in 1985 as an anti-littering campaign.That slogan is a part of Texas culture and speaks to each and every Texan to take pride in their state.

The Marketing of Black people in America

America, from the moment slaves were forced off the slave ships and were marketed and sold has never stopped marketing black people as less than.

And that is why when people speak of racism, those that don’t fully understand what it is, say a blanket statement to themselves that they aren’t racist and shrug it off.

But every single nonblack person in this country and perhaps the world needs to realize that whether you think that or not, your subconscious is full of subliminal messages made by marketing that instills racist values in you. (See my post on racial bias here)

I’m going to copy some words from a Facebook post I wrote in 2016 before I even truly understood the way marketing works:

“Racism is still considered something that is an over the top hate for someone’s skin color.

Because you have a black friend, relative, neighbor, or coworker that you are cordial with, then you must not be racist. Right?

Let me give you some perspective:

America is taught to be racist.

I had a conversation with my white husband about a month ago, about racism.

And how it’s more than just hate, it’s the way we classify people, it’s the way we view them. It’s how we see the black race as a whole.

I explain it like this, corporations in America spend billions of dollars on advertising products to people to make us see their products the way they want us to see them, right? America as a whole advertises black people as dangerous, criminals, less than and not worthy.

Think back to the movies and television shows you watched while growing up. Who was it that always played the roles as the robber, the gunman, the rapist, the one being dragged off to jail, the ones in the hood, the ones on drugs?

When the Negative Marketing of Black People Works

As I was talking to my husband about this he stopped me and said, “You know what? I probably would disagree with you, but I have a soldier, who is from Nepal.

He didn’t come to America until he was a young adult. And while he was in Nepal and looking for colleges in the States to go to, he was looking for colleges with the least amount of black people.

Because everything he had seen about black people…from the movies he watched to the rap music he listened to, portrayed them as dangerous.

This is coming from someone who had probably never met a black person in his life until he came here, and had already been sold the story that all black people are dangerous.

Why does this pose a problem for police in America?

Now, take this perspective and think about the white child growing up in America, in a small town with little to no black people, who grows up watching regular television, dreams to be a cop, grows up, goes to the police academy, becomes one and moves to an urban city.

His parents may not be racist, he may have never encountered racism, but this is America, and what he has been taught through the news, movies, and pop culture, is that black people are dangerous.

Do you think he would be more hesitant around a black person than a white person? Do you think he might draw his gun quicker in a situation that he felt he was in more danger?

Can you honestly deny the stereotypes that are given to certain races in America?

I know for myself, I would rather be Asian and seen as smart, than black and seen as a criminal and less than.

The marketing of Black People is accomplishing a major goal

What happens when these biases invade the minds of your everyday citizens? It leads to the dehumanizing of black people. That when you already believe that black people are dangerous, it is much easier to justify in your mind when they are murdered by police.

When you see a man who is black being arrested…it seems right, because, in your subconscious (due to racial bias), black people are criminals.

The work is not over

This is why Black Lives Matter exists.

MLK did amazing with the civil rights movement, but the hearts and minds of Americans have not changed.

It is underlying in the back of all of our minds. We need to stop being divided and deleting people because that will never solve the problem, honest conversations will.”

As we’re hearing from the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s case, Greg McMichael told police he didn’t know him but he “knew instinctively he was a criminal.”

I’m not comparing all non-BPOC to Greg McMichael but it’s time to look and see the misconceptions and biases that lie in the back of our minds.

Learn to recognize intentional marketing. Black actors have fought tirelessly for roles to not play “robber,” “drug dealer,” etc.

The news and media, plays into the same marketing when they show criminals committing the same crime even with the headlines they use for black people as opposed to white people.

Donald Trump himself is currently using this same tactic to label protesters as thugs, killers, terrorists etc.

In fact, Trump uses marketing for almost everything he does, and that is why so many people follow what he says. If he doesn’t want you to listen to someone he starts marketing them to you as how he wants you to see them, that’s why he’s given all his enemies a nickname.

It’s marketing.

Same with his slogan, “Make America Great Again” it’s one of the most racist slogans I’ve ever heard, this country has never been great for black people.

Christians, take the time and pray for God to reveal these biases that you have been sold.

It is not fair for an entire race to be marketed as criminals when white people can walk around as individuals.

That is why we say black lives matter.

Each and every single individual black life should be seen by their character, not through the lens of being a criminal.


Learn to recognize the lies that have been sold about black people in America. They are not there by mistake, they have a purpose to shape the minds of Americans into thinking that black people are dangerous.

Because if they are dangerous they are not valuable.

And if they are not valuable, the country won’t speak up when they are murdered.

Read Next:

How to Confront Racial Bias

How to Be Anti-Racist

Anti Racism Resources

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