A Pepsi Ad-like incidence is what I was trying to avoid by running for LUSU office

Kendall Jenner handing over a can of Pepsi to Police Officer. Credit: Pepsi

In February 2017, I decided to do something crazy which was to run for the position of VP Education at a Foreign School where I had only resumed 5 months earlier. I reached this decision after one of my friends had made a call to me about the Full-time Officer Role being promoted by the Student Union.

Initially, I chose to run for Campaign and Communications because that is where my had core skills of online and offline communicating lie. But then, I felt I could do more with Education since I had always made a mental note about what could be done better. However, it was interesting to note that whichever role I eventually went for, I got a chance to contribute to the board meetings (assuming the Student Union had so much say in the University).

One of my major arguments as seen in my 2-minute speech was that, you can’t claim to be a diverse community and such is not being represented at the topmost level of decision making. No matter the good intentions, you might miss out on some of the things that matter to the people not from your locality.

Here is the Pepsi Commercial that sparked the backlash:

I want to believe that if a black person was at some point involved in the brainstorming session or approval process of the Pepsi advert, such potential rift could have been pointed out. I use ‘could’ because it will depend on the power dynamics of the group and whether there exists a Groupthink. Also, if they had like a black person come out and apologize by putting the Ad into perspective, then it might have been well-received, although with a pinch of salt. Like, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for a favoritism of black people, but more inclusion. Perhaps, showing the Ad first to a Black person could have helped with feedback and in other scenarios show it to a Latino/Hispanic, basically, get representation and sign-offs from each continent/group in your company.

People are hurting. And we need to be extra careful than usual, everyone including me and you.

Well, Pepsi has come out to give an apology and I hope this doesn’t repeat itself again cause there are other accusations of their ads causing pain to some other people. However, we have some we love. Also, as one of the Twitter users that replied this thread said, they could show their remorse by donating to ACLU or the BLM movement.

Regards, 
Benjamin