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« What kind of open are you looking for? | Main | Betting on the wind »

Marketing intolerance

Until 1967 (when I was seven) it was against the law for a white man to marry a black woman in Virginia.

Marketing is a complicated beast. It's not just advertising. It's stories that spread, it's editorial content, it even includes interactions and facial expressions. Marketing amplifies human nature. We had no trouble living with racist laws because that racism was confirmed by the media we consumed.

When someone stands up in front of a crowd at a political rally or in a church, they're marketing. And when a Hollywood filmmaker turns someone of a particular race or sexual preference into an object of ridicule or contempt, that's marketing too. Politicians market every time they speak up at a press conference.

When Michal Grzes, an elected representative in Poland stands up and criticizes a zoo for housing a gay elephant, he's doing marketing as well. If you want a cheap laugh, all you need to do is make fun of the minority, treat them as lesser, or separate.

I'm surprised and delighted that online media is being used to market tolerance more than intolerance. But it's an uphill battle, and until we get to the point where homophobia and racism (even for laughs) is unheard of, we have a long way to go. Marketing is too powerful, imho, to be wasted diminishing someone's humanity. And no one ever got ahead (no one, ever) by limiting the equal rights of someone else.

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