Margaret Sawyer

Can You Figure Out Why This Red Cross Poster Is Extremely Offensive?

So Margaret Sawyer stumbled across the poster below outside of a pool in Salida, Colorado. Before I say anything, see if you can spot what immediately jumped out at her.

Margaret Sawyer

See it?


Look closely at literally anything that is happening.

Still nothing?

OK, let me help:

Margaret Sawyer

You know what's not a good time to be racist? Well, fine, there's never a good time to be racist (although some Americans believe that time is Halloween).

But, anyway, you know what's an especially bad time to be racist? During safety instructions designed for children.

Everyone doing anything remotely bad in this poster is not white.

Plus, please note, this poster is made by the red cross. Which has since removed it from its website. But not before posting it all over the place.

The best part about this all is it's obvious the person who illustrated this was trying to go for a "WE LIVE IN A DIVERSE NEIGHBORHOOD AND OUR MULTI-ETHNIC CHILDREN LIVE IN PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER" sort of thing.

Unfortunately, the illustrator's subconscious was doing most of the heavy lifting here when it came to deciding who would be involved in all the dangerous misbehaving.

To make matters worse, all the "bad stuff" the black kids are doing, is really just about how they're going to hurt white kids, not hurt themselves. Even the diving guy is almost hitting young Daphne.

The only black kid hurting himself is the kid who is literally drowning to death while both lifeguards are busy scolding the other black kids for putting white kids in danger.

OK, and by now I may be reading into this too much, but that "be cool, follow the rules" slogan also seems laced with some weird racial politics. It reminds me of anti-drug ads, where people try to recast what "cool" is — insisting, usually, that being cool is about being safe and listening to your white mom, instead of what rap music (black people) and hip-hop (black people) says is cool.

The whole thing seems to deliver this message: "It's actually COOLER to follow the rules and not be like the cool rebellious black kids."

America is hell.