Heineken’s Ad Is A Terrifying Sham — And I’ve Lived It Many Times Over
Ruchika Tulshyan
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Bursting My Bubble

Dang, Ruchika — thanks for bringing me down to earth. My revulsion at the Pepsi ad, I think, made the far less glossy, process-oriented angle of the Heineken ad appealing to me. Your caution about the danger in “oversimplifying how deep-rooted biases and beliefs really are and how difficult it can be to overturn them” worked like smelling salts. When isn’t the “onus for change…put on those whose very humanity is under threat”, though? It’s why revolution is so friggin’ difficult — and often exciting. I sure don’t see you throwing in the towel anytime soon, so when you focus on how unwilling we (humans) are to changing our minds, I take it as you preparing us for the long haul. Let me give you an glimpse of hope. I do a brand of intense men’s work in maximum security prison: a diverse group of outside men meeting with a diverse group of inside men for five-day stretches for deep, confessional, mutual engagement. I don’t have to tell you that race lines are deeply drawn in there, so the first time I checked in as “a white kid who grew up in the South Bronx, with all black friends” I had no idea how it was going to play out. How did it? Well, almost every training I get a hardened white guy with visible swastikas pull me off to the side to whisper, “What you said, you know, about how you came up and all… I mean, I want to make a change, I just don’t know how…”. And so the work begins. One guy at a time.

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