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L’Oreal Is Found Guilty of Racism—We Yawn

L’Oreal was found guilty in their home country of France of racial discrimination after it was found that their executives were looking exclusively for an all-white sales team to promote it’s Fructis shampoo/hair care line.

“The court was told that a Disticom executive had sent a fax in 2000 saying that Garnier’s hostesses should be aged 18 to 22, wear size 38 to 42 clothes and be “BBR”.

This stands for “bleu, blanc, rouge” (blue, white, red) — the colours of the French flag — and is a well-known code for white people, La Cour de Cassation was told. “

In a country that has an increasingly large population of African/Black, Asian, Arab and Bi-Racial women, this of course has incensed many women of color around the globe—but no one can say they are surprised. L’Oreal just suffered a blow when it was reported that they lightened Beyonce’s skin in an American ad for their Feria hair color product. But the “shock & awe” routine that communities of color have responded with will eventually prove to be fruitless unless we are willing to really confront attitudes of beauty amongst ourselves. After all, companies sell based on formula, and the “white is right/popular/better” undercurrent has been, and will continue, to be the formula that keeps the dollars rolling in.

Also, there is the notion that women of color, since they do no represent the masses, cannot sell to the masses…but a caucasian woman can because (and this will never be said aloud) she is the ideal standard of beauty and who wouldn’t want to buy from her? Including women of color in their advertisements (Beyonce, Penélope Cruz and Kerry Washington, etc) is an admission to the branding and purchasing power that global women of color have—but if needed, L’Oreal is also willing to help you whiten your skin too!

If we continue to accept these standards, we will continue to be marketed to in such a manner. It’s not a surprise that most drugstore/mass brands do not make a full range of foundations, conditioners, etc. So it all starts with us ladies, there are plenty of companies that are more inclusive to our variety of tones and textures, its up to us to wield our credit cards with power.

ps. The entire Fructis line is kinda bullshit, take it from me, I tried it.


L’Oreal Found Guilty of Racism in Shampoo Ads

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Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington