MANSFIELD: Sharper White Image

It’s the season again where mailboxes are overflowing with catalogs, and as usual, I’m pissed off at some of the companies due to their lack of diversity and inclusion. The Sharper Image catalog that just arrived has page after page of all sorts of items, from a nose hair trimmer to a tiny three-inch helicopter that really flies. But what it doesn’t have is people of color.

More than most catalogs, Sharper Image uses adult and child models throughout its whopping 75 pages, but alas, they are all white. No blacks, Hispanics or Asians are depicted using and enjoying their products. This is not by accident; this is intentional exclusion, no matter what the company might otherwise protest once confronted.

These companies don’t include minorities for one reason: They fear it will upset their white customers, and besides, no minorities are complaining — that is, until now.

I’m going to put their catalog, along with a copy of this article, in a manila envelope and mail it back to Sharper Image, and request that my black family be deleted from their mailing list until they correct their obvious racism. If a few other blacks do the same thing, the folks running the company will quickly change their minds and suddenly enact a policy of inclusion.

Are there more important issues of racism that black and brown folk need to be focused on? Surely. But it does not follow that we should ignore this blatant and obvious racism. The last time I raised this issue with a company they changed their policy, and not only did a few black models get some work, but black boys and girls, sitting at home thumbing through a catalog see someone that looks like them. Now that’s critically important.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc

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