Dunkin' Donuts blackface ad to be pulled | Bangkok Post: learning

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Dunkin' Donuts blackface ad to be pulled

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It appears that the local Dunkin' Donuts franchise, under pressure from its US parent company, is going to stop its controversial "blackface" advert campaign that appeared 'racist' to some, harmless to others. 

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Skytrain passengers sit next to a Dunkin' Donuts poster featuring a woman with black face make-up on Tuesday. AFP

Dunkin' Donuts pulls 'racist' ad

Dunkin' Donuts said it is pulling a Thai advert featuring a woman with black face make-up after a human rights group criticised it as "racist" .

The US firm apologised for the "insensitivity" of the ad for its "charcoal donut", with the slogan, "break all rules of deliciousness".

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson criticised Dunkin' Donuts for "using racist images to sell donuts".

Protests during the late 1980s led to a change in the name and a much more offensive image used for a popular toothpaste in Thailand.

The image of the woman in black face make-up and bright pink lipstick was said to be an unwelcome reminder of the blackfaced performers in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They portrayed black people in what is now considered to be a very negative way.

Most of the criticism came from abroad, particularly the United States where the Dunkin’s Donut’s franchise has its headquarters.

Here in Thailand, the chief executive of the local franchise was clearly upset by the criticism which he said totally missed the point of the advert.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," Nadim Salhani said in a telephone interview. "We're not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don't get it. What's the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?"

"Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism," said Mr Salhani, a Lebanese expatriate who said his teenage daughter was the model featured in the campaign.

Many in the local social media agreed with Mr Salhani that there was no racist intent behind the image, but that did not ease the concerns of the US parent company.

"We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognises the insensitivity of this spot," Dunkin' Donuts said in a tweet posted on Twitter.

As of yesterday, however, the charcoal donut was still being prominently displayed in a poster on BTS skytrains.

Story contains information from AFP and AP as well as the Bangkok Post.

For some insightful commentary on the controversary, see this interview with well-known local observer Kaewmala: http://bit.ly/17LPS3W

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Dunkin' Donuts blackface ad to be pulled and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


abroad: in or to a foreign country - ในต่างประเทศ

absolutely: completely - โดยสิ้นเชิง, อย่างแน่นอน, อย่างแท้จริง

apologise: to say you are sorry for doing something wrong or for causing a problem - ขอโทษ

campaign: a planned series of activities - การรณรงค์

charcoal: a black substance made from burnt wood - ถ่าน

chief executive: the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด

concern: a worry - ความกังวล

consider: to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า

criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด

delicious: having a very good taste - อร่อย

deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

display: to put something in a particular place so that people can see it easily - โชว์, แสดง

ease: to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious - บรรเทา

expatriate (expat): a person living in a country that is not their own - คนที่อาศัยอยู่ต่างประเทศ (เป็นเวลานาน)

franchise: a formal agreement for someone to sell a company’s products or services in a particular place - การขายระบบแฟรนไชนส์ คือมีสาขาของร้านค้า เช่น 7-eleven

fuss: unnecessary excitement, worry or activity - ความอึกทึก, ความเอะอะ

headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ

human rights: the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think - สิทธิมนุษยชน

image: a photograph, painting, or other work of art that represents a person or thing - รูปภาพ

insensitivity: not realising or caring how other people feel, and therefore likely to hurt or offend them - ไม่มีความรู้สึกต่อ

intent: your plan or purpose - จุดประสงค์

interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

local: in this country (Thailand) -

miss the point: to fail to understand the meaning or intent of something ไม่เข้าใจประเด็น - ไม่เข้าใจประเด็น

negative: bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ

offensive: causing someone to become upset or angry; rude - ซึ่งทำให้ไม่พอใจ,น่ารังเกียจ

paranoid: worrying that people do not like you and are trying to harm you, although you have no proof of this - โรคจิตเภทแบบหวาดระแวง

particularly: especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ

portray: to represent or describe someone or something in a painting, film, book or other artistic work - แสดง, พรรณนา

prominent : easily seen or noticed -

pull: to take something away; to withdraw something ถอน - ถอน

racism: a way of behaving or thinking that shows that you do not like or respect people who belong to races that are different form your own - กาเหยียดผิว

racist: involving the belief that some races of people are better than others; involving the unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race - เกี่ยวข้องกับการเหยียดผิว, เกี่ยวข้องกับการแบ่งแยกชนชั้น

reminder: something that helps you remember something - สิ่งช่วยเตือนความจำ

ridiculous: silly or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at - น่าขัน, น่าหัวเราะ, ไร้สาระ

slogan: a short easily remembered phrase, especially one used to advertise an idea or a product - สโลแกน

social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

upset: to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something   - ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด

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