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Microsoft Idle

Microsoft Poland Photoshops Black Guy To White One 964

wanted writes "If you look at Microsoft's Poland business solutions Web site, you will probably not notice anything odd about the main picture. However, when you compare it with the original English version, you can see that someone decided that showing black people in Poland is probably not going to be convincing to business. They just Photoshopped the head of a white guy in for the black one, in an amateurish way, leaving his hand unchanged. (Here's a mirror in case something should happen to the original.)" We noted a few months back that the city of Toronto had done something similar.
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Microsoft Poland Photoshops Black Guy To White One

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:54PM (#29196453)
    is the white macbook in the picture......
    • by yoyhed ( 651244 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:33AM (#29196725)
      Or the fact that the monitor isn't plugged into anything.

      By the way, I'd already read this on a couple other news sites, and the bluntness of Slashdot's headline cracked me up. The other sites said something like "Microsoft hires racist marketing team". Then Slashdot steps in with "MS PHOTOSHOPS WHITE DUDE OVER SOME BLACK GUY".
      • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @01:01AM (#29196899)

        What surprises me is that the black guy had to go, while the asian is alright.

        They couldn't just take a new fucking picture with Polish people on it, now could they?

        • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:08AM (#29197267)

          Seems like the old stereotypes at work. Hire Asians, they're smart! Don't hire those negores, though; they're lazy and they steal!

          Having been born in a part of Europe that isn't much different from Poland, I can safely say that these stereotypes were quite common in much of Europe, at least while I was a child. When we moved to Canada, seeing asians didn't strike me as all that odd, but I really didn't know what to make of blacks. I got in trouble more than once at school for making racist comments about (or to) black classmates, but thanks to having spent my formative years in a nation which placidly accepts racial bigotry, it wasn't until years later that I really understood that there was anything wrong about the things I had said. I think it's hard for people who were born into multicultural societies to really understand what it's like being raised in that kind of culture.

        • by agentgonzo ( 1026204 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @07:35AM (#29199205)
          What makes me laugh is how carefully choreographed the original photo was. One black person, one asian, one white. Two men, one woman. It's amazing to see publicity photos etc and notice how many of them have the we-must-have-one-of-everything mentality in them. If everyone wasn't so paranoid about offending anyone, then the publicity shoot would have probably had a brief of "get three people in a room to look like they're having a fun meeting, then take a photo". Because everyone's afraid of being called a racist, I'm sure the brief would have included the caveat "Make sure one is black, one is Asian and at least one of them is a woman". The only thing that's missing is an "I'm gay" sign on one of them.
    • by squidinkcalligraphy ( 558677 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:40AM (#29196771)

      ... with the apple logo photoshopped out

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        They wouldn't be able to use the Apple logo anyway. You can't put someone else's trademark in your own promotional materials!
  • Know your market. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... t ['gra' in gap]> on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:56PM (#29196473) Homepage Journal
    The racism flag seems to get trotted out a little too often these days. Statistically speaking, are there a heck of a lot of black guys in Poland? Honest question, really. I dislike Microsoft for a lot of things, but the racism tag seems a little odd; I wasn't aware they had a reputation in that department.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Digitus1337 ( 671442 )
      What parent is trying to say is that Microsoft isn't racist... Polish people are.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        What you seem to be saying, is that targeting a specific market is somehow racist. If your market lives in a city of a million, and the black population is around 15, putting black faces in your advert isn't going to make sales. It will only make your advert look exotic, at best.

        As I recall, Poland didn't have a civil war to free the slaves. Nor were a lot of Africans likely to immigrate to Poland during the days of the Soviet. Prior to the Soviet, Poland was more in the business of exporting people, r

        • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:41AM (#29196781) Homepage

          Prior to the Soviets? During the Soviets, my dearly departed grandmother was "exported" from Poland to a Siberian labor camp (as was the rest of her family), mostly since her father was a war hero in the earlier Polish-Bolshevik war. (He got some of the townsfolk from the nearby village of to help pull a few big machine-gun caissons out of a ditch, and subsequently helped save the rear ends of the retreating Polish cavalry. I don't think the Soviets liked the family. Too much initiative.)

        • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:43AM (#29196791) Journal
          Poland like many parts of Eastern Europe did 'clean' up after ww2 by driving out anyone not Polish.
          The last months of 1945-46 did let many parts of the Eastern Europe become very "homogeneous".
          Decades later you can blame the Germans up to 45, the Soviets post 45.
          In reality the locals did sort things out in a very permanent way.
      • by igny ( 716218 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:30AM (#29196701) Homepage Journal
        Many Polish people may indeed be nationalist, they may be anti-semites, russophobes... but racists? There are just not so many black people in Poland. Microsoft was probably right thinking that having black people in the ads would not connect in a 99.9% white population.
        • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:51AM (#29196843)

          There are just not so many black people in Poland.

          Mod parent up. People in Central Europe don't give a shit about USian prejudices. We have our own.

          Do you hate gypsies?

          • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:46AM (#29197455) Journal

            Do you hate gypsies?

            Yes, actually (see, I'm from Eastern Europe, too). Though I don't consider it racism, because the hatred isn't towards race or ethnicity - it is towards a specific culture (I wonder if there's a term for that), which, IMO, is really deserving it. A gypsy who doesn't live like one isn't one anymore, as far as I'm concerned.

            • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Informative)

              by VJ42 ( 860241 ) * on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:10AM (#29198777)

              Though I don't consider it racism, because the hatred isn't towards race or ethnicity - it is towards a specific culture

              The Romani [] Gypsies prevalent in eastern Europe are an ethnic group, not a cultural one, so yes it is racism. Irish and "New age" travelers are a separate group and not properly referred to as Gypsies.

        • Re:Know your market. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:26AM (#29197347)

          Companies routinely do a lot of other things that couldn't be called racist very easily, in order to match their target audience. For southern European audiences, for example, people with blonde hair are airbrushed or swapped out to avoid making the ad seem too foreign.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mqduck ( 232646 )

          Many Polish people may indeed be ... anti-semites ... but racists?

          What the hell are you talking about?

        • Re:Know your market. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:06AM (#29197967) Journal

          I know the feeling. My hometown of ~10k must've had 5 black people in it. It was so rare seeing one, that I couldn't help but stare. Looking back, I wonder if that made them uncomfortable. :P

          But I also stared when I met a guy 4" 3'

    • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:13AM (#29196603) Journal
      Statistically, what are the chances of a perfect diversity trifecta of asian guy, black guy, and white woman? In an ad, pretty good. In real life, not so much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hjf ( 703092 )

      writing from Argentina here.

      Here we don't have many black people (black as in african, but there are dark-skinned people). So it's weird here to see an ad in which a black guy is just "sitting there". you don't see that in the office. the ad is supposed to be something people can relate to, and if you're not used to seeing black people, you find it weird.

      should microsoft make a different ad, featuring white people, for poland? probably. should they photoshop-out the black guy? that's pretty lame really.

    • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:34AM (#29196735)

      I grew up in Poland (81-93). And yes there was very little diversity in our population especially coming out of the communist era, where Russian mandate purged Poland of almost all non-Natives. Which considering what they did to countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Georgia I consider generous! I would say given my experience it's not that Polish people are racist, it's more that racism is a very new concept. Having had grown up in a totally homogeneous society, I could not even conceptualize any other kind of a society. I did not consider attacking anyone just because they were different. The few people I did see that were Asian or African only invoked extreme curiosity in me.

      Then as communism fell the wave after wave of immigrants started to hit Poland. They could be seen begging for money on streets of all of our major cities. Not even sure where all of them were coming from, only thing that was apparent was there somewhat darker hue. These immigrants stoked all kinds of nationalistic feelings amongst my people, and often were met with violence. To understand such a strong response you must consider that prior to the fall of communism for many years (since the end of WW2) the word Pole was synonymous with Slavic and Catholic. There was no variation. So in essence it was as if the collective being of our society was under attack. Xenophobia was a very natural response (in a Human sense), and I believe it prevails to this day.

      • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @01:22AM (#29197017)

        As a "current" Pole (born 82) I have to say that I mainly agree with you. None the less I don't think that we are xenophobic. Some fringe cases, as for instance the ultra right wing minded and older people brought up in a different time are, as they always (or most of the time) are in other countries as well. But I wouldn't say that Poles in general are xenophobic or racism. The fact is that we didn't really have any diversity in society for a very long time and just now we begin to learn about new cultures, new people and so one. As you've said we are mostly curious.

        As to the matter at hand, Microsoft Poland did the "right" thing. A black (sorry I don't know what the PC way is of saying that :-)) man is a very rare thing in Poland, doubly so in a business context. So the ad wouldn't be as believable with him in it. The quality of the work is something completely diffrent

        • Re:Know your market. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:00AM (#29197555) Homepage

          Here's something nobody ever considers: what makes different skin colors "diverse"? They don't; they make people different colors. Associating race/color with diversity is a slight to all people, as it in and of itself is truly racist: "Oh, look; he has different color skin. He must be different/exciting/exotic/angry/mean/fun!" No, he's just a man - like you and like me, and every other goddamn man on this planet. (We then go on to associate their skin color or features with their behavior, as is biologically imperative, just as a soldier learns what an enemy combatant's uniform looks like or a dog learns that a specific bag that comes into the house every once in a while has treats.)

          Also, xenophobic and racist have two very distinctly different meanings. Racism is a hatred of an "essence" of a person's race, and those people; xenophobia is a fear (and maybe hatred) of outside cultures and forces, which is much more understandable (and natural, as such things tend to be disruptive.) What I suspect has happened in Poland (and has/is happening in many other places as well) is that it's an internal struggle trying to deal with what is seen as an invading culture and way of life - fear and anger at their structured world being disrupted, and someone 'forcing' change around them in their environment. Look at the Balkans for a perfect example: many distinctly different cultures, but all (mostly) very genetically similar people, yet... chaos. Their cultures are night and day from each other, resulting in an ethnic clusterf*ck.

          I think people in today's 'diverse' and 'connected' world need to take a step back and look at what used to make sense, in so many ways: good fences make good neighbors. All this cultural "blending" (which doesn't happen, ethnic ghettos form with a few stragglers leave to join the 'parent' culture to give the appearance of diversity) is not going to end well for anyone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
        I would also add that Poland is often seen in Europe as our Texas : they are fervently catholic, anti-gay, anti-abortion, and in favor of death penalty (despite it being abolished on all EU). Sorry AC, I know all Poles are not like that, but your leadership really doesn't make Poland the most sexy country to be in when you don't obey the Pope's commands.
    • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:51AM (#29196841) Homepage

      Speaking for myself, as a New Zealander, when I see African-looking people as the carefully-selected diverse-skin-tone group for a posed ad -- as opposed to Pacific Island or Asian, which are the faces we really see here -- it automatically makes me think "American". It's roughly the same effect as having people wearing cowboy hats and speaking in a twang.

      And that's generally an instant negative effect. It means you're saying "1. We're not a local company. 2. We're owned by some big American corporation you've never heard of who's never heard of you. 3. We're either too out of touch or too lazy to produce localised ad cop. 4. We're probably not going to localise any other resources for you, just design a one-size-fits-all media set in Texas and print 'em in China. 5. We're not going to listen to anything you have to say or care what your market segment thinks. 7. But we did run our media buy past our New York-based sensitivity screening group, so yay diversity!"

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:37AM (#29197407) Homepage

        it automatically makes me think "American".

        Pretty much any picture where obviously boring and unrealistically diverse people are fakely smiling for no apparent reason whilst wearing pastel coloured sweaters or light gray suits, it screams "american" to me. The second feeling I get is nausea from the candy-coated overdose of political correctness. Can anybody here identify with any of the people on that Microsoft photo?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bz386 ( 1424109 )
      Mod parent up. People that regard this as racist have probably never been to Poland or any other Eastern European country. For historical reasons, you will very rarely see black or Asian people in any of those countries. Having an ad with a black person is just not believable. Personally if I saw a local add like that in my home country it would immediately say "ah, this is obviously a US add, so the product is probably very US centric", simply because the ad shows a black person. This is not racist, it is
    • by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @01:14AM (#29196965)

      The racism flag seems to get trotted out a little too often these days.

      Come on. Everyone known those stupid polacks are dirty racists :o)

  • by Techman83 ( 949264 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:01AM (#29196503)
    That the guy had actually been "photo shopped" white, rather then just a different person!
  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:02AM (#29196513)

    Maybe it's Microsoft's way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the writing of Black Like Me [].

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Hell, I thought Bill Clinton wrote that book. (How many people are awrare that Clinton was a mutant? He combined all of the white man's worst traits with all of the black man's worst traits, with a few of women's worst traits spliced in to make him everybody's bitch.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:02AM (#29196517)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:04AM (#29196525)

    They changed a black guy into a white guy, but they used cropping.
    A black man took a gun to an anti-Obamacare rally. MSNBC showed his picture, or at least a picture of his shirt and gun (no hands or head), claimed it was a white guy and that he was motivated by racism.

    Link here: Instapundit [] and Afterburner video []

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:06AM (#29196555)

    I find this very rude and discriminatory. How do we know this guy wasn't Gimped?

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan ( 558327 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:11AM (#29196585)

    You should see the real original picture [] before MS photoshopped in those two non-Busey guys.

    (Yes, stolen from reddit [].)

  • by bahamlabs ( 60506 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:28AM (#29196695) Homepage

    If they Photoshopped in a white guy over the black guy, what about the Asian guy? I mean, how likely are you to see a Korean guy walking the streets of Poland? ( Or maybe I just don't know the streets of Poland).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bob_Who ( 926234 )

      If they Photoshopped in a white guy over the black guy, what about the Asian guy? I mean, how likely are you to see a Korean guy walking the streets of Poland? ( Or maybe I just don't know the streets of Poland).

      Korean? He's Canadian, just like a lot of Asians in Poland. However, the sex change operation threw me for a loop, his name is Brenda.

  • Black guy? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jerrei ( 1515395 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:41AM (#29196777)
    I see an ugly guy being photoshopped into a good looking one. What does race have to do with it?
  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @12:44AM (#29196801) Journal

    Around 20 years ago someone arranged a 'living flag' ceremony on Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Invitations went out to any and all military people stationed in the area, an enormous number of potential attendees. People showed up, the event was held, photographers took pictures. After, the phone company wanted to use some of the photos for the covers of the phone book. Upon examination it turned out that very few non-white persons had attended. The phone company couldn't see their way clear to use pictures of reality, so they held a bogus living flag event with a mix of non-whites of much greater proportion that in real life, and even in the military. (I suppose that of real life makes you then it may do the same for the basic, well devised lie, so the best way to prevent this uncomfortable feeling is to lie real big.) Those pictures got used. People who attended the event found out and publicized the fact, but after the initial splash the matter remained known but non-newsworthy. Also after, I was told but can't confirm that some of the photos were altered to increase the female presence and to make some of the people more attractive.

  • by davevr ( 29843 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @01:29AM (#29197075) Homepage
    ... I wouldn't be surprised if the photo was originally was white and the US side photoshopped in a black guy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Take a look at the windowsill to the right of each guy's head.

      I think it puts to rest any speculation on which photo was the original, if in fact either model was ever actually there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by christophe ( 36267 )

      (Warning: braod and probably abusive generalization below.)

      It's always funny to see such photos on American products or ads in my part of Europe.

      I remember the photo on the packaging of a computer mouse for children (from MS?): a boy with blue eyes and fair hair (in the center), a Chinese-looking girl, a black boy. This is an American mix, not a European one.

      To be PC in the West-European market, you have to add an Arab- or Turkish-looking child. In France the typical hair is darker than in the States and b

  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @01:43AM (#29197145)

    Trademarks help protect corporate and product identity, and Photoshop is one of Adobe's most valuable trademarks. By following the below guidelines, you can help Adobe protect the Photoshop brand name.

    The Photoshop trademark must never be used as a common verb or as a noun. The Photoshop trademark should always be capitalized and should never be used in possessive form, or as a slang term. It should be used as an adjective to describe the product, and should never be used in abbreviated form. The following examples illustrate these rules:

    Trademarks are not verbs.

    CORRECT: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software.
    INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.

    Trademarks are not nouns.

    CORRECT: The image pokes fun at the Senator.
    INCORRECT: The photoshop pokes fun at the Senator.

    Always capitalize and use trademarks in their correct form.

    CORRECT: The image was enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements software.
    INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.
    INCORRECT: The image was Photoshopped.
    INCORRECT: The image was Adobe® Photoshopped.

    Trademarks must never be used as slang terms.

    CORRECT: Those who use Adobe® Photoshop® software to manipulate images as a hobby see their work as an art form.
    INCORRECT: A photoshopper sees his hobby as an art form. INCORRECT: My hobby is photoshopping.

    Trademarks must never be used in possessive form.

    CORRECT: The new features in Adobe® Photoshop® software are impressive.
    INCORRECT: Photoshop's features are impressive.

    Trademarks are proper adjectives and should be followed by the generic terms they describe.

    CORRECT: The image was manipulated using Adobe® Photoshop® software.
    INCORRECT: The image was manipulated using Photoshop.

    Trademarks must never be abbreviated.

    CORRECT: Take a look at the new features in Adobe® Photoshop® software.
    INCORRECT: Take a look at the new features in PS.

    The trademark owner should be identified whenever possible.

    Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

  • Who is more racist? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:22AM (#29197331) Homepage

    Who is more racist, the person who decided the black guy should be photoshopped out? Or the person who think a black guy must be included because of the color of his skin?

  • by hany ( 3601 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:15AM (#29198043) Homepage
    Where the mirror of polish original? Looks like it got lost. :)
  • It drives me nuts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:41AM (#29198249)
    that every company feels that every time they show a group of customers it has to be "diverse". For example the pic from the article: asian man, black man, white woman. Wow I guess MS doesn't have any white men using their products, and here I thought that was the majority in IT. Who knew. Anyways seems stupid to go out of your way to create artificial diversity.
  • by tobe ( 62758 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:42AM (#29198927)
    I'm just totally amazed that marketing hasn't realised that no-one swallows this 'we're all at work and we're totally loving it' utter bullshit that every file photo they have exudes. Just look at them in that photo.. all sitting there with their brilliant teeth, perfectly pressed business suits not a hair out of place and those BIG CHEESEY SHIT-EATING GRINS. Is she showing them pictures of kittens ?? Kittens are nice. They make me smile. But no.. the inference is that it's a fucking Powerpoint presentation.

    FUCK OFF WITH THAT ALREADY. Have you ever seen a scene like that in your office. Don't you normally have at most a neutral expression whilst you're concentrating. This ridiculous crap they try to feed us that using their product will make us taller, more attractive, whiten our teeth and let us get more sleep is just insulting. It's software. Sell it like bridges.

    And HR can all fuck off too...
  • by rs232 ( 849320 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:52AM (#29198999)
    Couldn't they have just made him 'whiter' ? White Obama [] Senator Obama []

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