Red Bull Russia’s first misstep was holding an event that involved blackface in any capacity. That’s generally a sociopolitical, not to mention moral, no-no.
Its next mistake was broadcasting a video of the event of its own volition. Most companies try to keep their prejudices under wraps, and it’s only when others unearth their deep dark racisms that the Internet becomes clued in (and promptly furious). Is Red Bull cheerfully unaware of the implications of blackface, or does it simply not care?
Considering the other aspects of the “Flugtag” (flight day) event, which was held in Moscow on July 26th, it’s hard to believe that the head honchos of Red Bull Russia weren’t actively trying to rile up some feathers:
Two men in blackface is bad enough. Two men in blackface plus a guy in an Obama mask chasing a banana? That’s just asking for a Twitter uproar.
For those of you unaware why such a neutral (and frequently delicious) thing as a banana could possibly draw such ire, consider how long Black people have endured racial epithets such as “monkey” or “ape.” These comments aren’t just meant to draw attention to darker skin tones; they also play upon the gross notion that African people/people of African descent are less evolved, less civilized, and generally less worthy of respect.
Red Bull HQ -"Guys, think this might be bit racist?" -"What, you can't black up and chase a giant banana? Political correctness gone mad!"— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) July 31, 2015
The video’s apparent tone of lightheartedness only serves to make its mockery more vicious.
Red Bull has since taken the video down, and appears to be working on nixing all other copies that the Internet made (as the Internet tends to do).
They have not, however, made any actual comment. Do they think we'll just forget if they hide out long enough?
That's not how you do it, guys. You can't just brush it under the rug and not apologize.