The American Red Cross on Monday apologized for a water safety poster many have deemed racist after it depicted mostly minority children doing “not cool” things in a public swimming pool.
The poster — titled “Be Cool, Follow the Rules” — shows more than a dozen cartoon children playing in a pool. It points out five instances in which children are engaging in “not cool” activities, like running around the edge of the pool, pushing their peers into the water and diving. Four of the fictional rule-breakers are either black or Hispanic children.
“We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s oldest and largest humanitarian organizations, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do, every day.”
One can see exactly how this happened. It’s become almost an obsession for media companies to make sure that any images they show are racially diverse. It’s rare that you see a commercial or ad with exclusively white people (unless there’s only a person or two). Instead, every image with multiple people must include people from as many races as possible. In this case, I’d bet that the artist just drew people of different races as he or she drew each person and that’s how it ended up.
But in the big picture (pun intended), seriously? This is racist now? What’s the appropriate ration? Should 4 of the 5 hooligans be white? 3 of 5? Or is that still racist? The perpetually offended and their sliding scale is hard to live up to.