A North Carolina dental center came under fire for posting a racially offensive magazine ad promoting a teeth whitening system.
Renaissance Dental in Raleigh published a full page ad in Midtown Magazine, which showed three white women dressed in different cultural attires.
With the phrase “Everyone SMILES in the same language” clad on the poster, one of the women is seen dressed in a kimono and holding a fan, another woman is seen wearing Native American attire and the third one seems to be wearing Scottish attire. The ad was blasted for cultural appropriation.
Social media users were not amused:
Renaissance Dental Center promotes their “FREE WHITENING SYSTEM.” A solid attempt to white wash “Japanese” and “Native American” clothing.— ,,,nolan!!! (@nolanarkansas) May 11, 2018
White women, we have died, been targeted, bullied for looking traditional, and we’re tired. Respect us.
Twitter do ya thang 9197866766 pic.twitter.com/3dRGH5RQn3
I'm not smiling @nhdentists. Welcome to 2018, to America, to racism without apology. To believing this was acceptable when you published it. To not realizing it wasn't until you were called out. We all see you. pic.twitter.com/M5n0DPGtEQ— Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (@mredshirtshaw) May 10, 2018
"Renaissance Dental Center": Because "Dark Ages Dental Center" would have broken the irony meter. https://t.co/OCdtnaTYB0— Kimber Agonistes (@KimberAgonistes) May 11, 2018
Renaissance Dental Center. SOMEBODY come look at this and tell me what’s so horrifically wrong about this ad. My blood pressure. Whew. I really want to know what in THE HELL @MidtownMagazine thought publishing this ad. pic.twitter.com/VZorCwWb8E— ??? (@BlackNerdJade) May 10, 2018
Amid the outrage, Renaissance Dental published an apology through their Twitter account, claiming they have now realized how “ignorant and offensive” the ad was.
In one of our recent advertisements, we attempted to focus upon something that unites us…the warmth and joy behind a smile. We now realize it was ignorant and offensive, and we are truly sorry. We have learned a valuable lesson in this situation. Again, our sincere apologies.— Renaissance Dental (@nhdentists) May 10, 2018
The apology, however, didn't convince some.
There are length of workshops in your area which focus on countering implicit bias. You may want your entire team to attend. As well as anyone outside of your office who helped produce/publish that dumpster fire.— Heidi B (@Knoppsy) May 10, 2018
I think the apology is good and all, but I'm completely shocked that this was a) an idea that passed b) it actually happened and someone photographed it c) it was published. How many people blindly thought this was OK?— Emily Hinton (@emily_onthego) May 10, 2018
How many hands did this have to go thru before it made it to the media? Not one person thought about how this wasn’t okay? Yall knew exactly what y’all were doing with this “whitening system”. Good play on words ??— g. ?? (@thegiftofgab__) May 10, 2018
Like, this didn't occur to you beforehand? I just can't believe at least 3 educated people looked at that and thought, 'This is perfect!".— Hugh Hollowell (@hughlh) May 10, 2018
How did you make it all the way up to your grown adult age and only NOW realize it was ignorant and offensive? Please take sensitivity training classes and read up on all things cultural appropriation. And maybe ask some of your non-white friends about current and topical events.— Dellany Peace (@IAmDellanyPeace) May 10, 2018
The dental center is owned by Anna Abernethy, Jill Sonner and Anita Jones Wells.