Take a look at this pool safety poster from the American Red Cross. Do you notice anything?
At first glance, it looks like a pretty simple way to teach kids how to behave while swimming. However, if you look closely it appears that only the ‘Black’ kids are doing actions labeled as ‘Not Cool’ while the white kids’ actions are ‘Cool.’
After images of the poster spread via social media, the Red Cross has recalled all of the posters and apologized for ‘inadvertent misunderstanding.’
In a statement, the organization said:
“We are working to reduce the drowning rate in 50 high-risk communities over a 5-year period by helping to teach at least 50,000 more children and adults to swim. With this campaign, we are focusing on areas with higher-than-average drowning rates and participants who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to take swim lessons.
“Once again, we apologize for any inadvertent misunderstanding with regard to the production of this poster, and believe we have taken every step to address the situation.”
It wasn’t inadvertent. Someone — from the animators, to the campaign creators — knew exactly what they were doing.