Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Race Matters

Found this on news.com.  It seems Microsoft changed the look of one of the people pictured on its website.  The controversy stems from the fact that on its Polish website, it overlaid a picture of a white man over a picture of a black man.

Now, I'm pretty sensitive about certain racial issues but I am not in this case.   In fact, I see pretty much nothing wrong with what Microsoft did.  This is advertisement.  It needs to appeal to the demographic you are after.  I know nothing about Poland but I am assuming that the demographic is nothing like it is in the U.S. and that there are not many people who are black.  To appeal to that demographic, Microsoft probably felt it need to make the people look more "Polish".

While I would like to think everybody would be enlightened and not take race into consideration, I know better.  My company puts up several webpage.  We have one page in particular depicting a family.  This family looks very "American".  It depicts a white couple with a cute young daughter in front of a big suburban house.  This page works great for our site, but it only works great in the United States.  In ever other country, it does much worse.  The page is rather simple, and it changes language depending on the country.  The only reason it would only work in the United States and not in other countries is because the family just looks American.

So I see no problem in Microsoft changing the picture to better match the target audience and have no idea why anybody would make a big deal about it.  What do you think?

Microsoft changes ethnicity


  1. It's the poor ass amateurish Photoshop job I have problems with. For crying out loud, have real white people pose for the picture. Is Microsoft pinching pennies these days?

  2. It looks like the black guy's head doesn't quite look right either.

  3. Was the one with the happy American family one of the sites I designed?

  4. Yep. It is the one you designed.