In this series I have offered five explanations of why people of color are included in advertising. Start with the first in the series and follow the links to the remaining four here.

I am now discussing how they are included.  Already I have shown how people of color are whitewashed. Here I show that, when people of color are included, they are often chaperoned. That is, people of color are usually outnumbered by white people. Here are some examples:

NEW!  This is a two-page ad for Kohls:


I speculate that, if there are more white people than people of color in an advertisement, the inclusion of a non-white person does not threaten the status quo (that whiteness is mainstream and normative) and the product is still clearly marked as mainstream and normative (i.e, white).

Next up: Subordination.

Also in this series:
(1) Including people of color so as to associate the product with the racial stereotype.
(2) Including people of color to invoke (literally) the idea of “color” or “flavor.”
(3) To suggest ideas like “hipness,” “modernity,” and “progress.”
(4) To trigger the idea of human diversity.
(5) To suggest that the company cares about diversity.

How are they included?
(6) They are “white-washed.”

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.