Pepsi is one of my favorite soda brands and the Kardashians are one of my favorite celebrity families. But even my favorite brands can be problematic and that's not okay. To slip up every once in a while on minor things is allowed, but when it is an issue as big as the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad, it's a big issue. As a psychology major I have learned that even the least prejudiced people can still engage in prejudiced behaviors, and this ad is one of those moments. For those of you who haven't seen the commercial, here it is.
A prime example of a white feminist moment is instead of including the woman of color that Kendall handed her wig to, she just goes to the protest on her own. Some people might not see this as an important detail, but I do. White feminism sounds like it is a good thing, but even though it is feminism and it strives for "equality" it actually leaves other minority groups out of the picture. It is moments like these that are scattered throughout media and entertainment. Having people of color playing lesser roles feeds this idea to the people. And it is something that can be very damaging.
The Black Lives Matter movement is very important and it helps to bring the issues that have been around for way to long back to the forefront of the media. The problem with this commercial too is that it uses the powerful image of Ieshia Evans from a Baton Rouge protest for the shooting of Alton Sterling. She stood in front of the officers that were dressed in riot gear like a statue, with her arms held directly out in a passive way. And then she was detained along with hundreds of her fellow protesters. And Pepsi took this image and used it when Kendall gave the officer a Pepsi.
Even though the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad has its good and bad moments, it did have good intentions. And with that in mind I did like the commercial. In my opinion, Pepsi is a great soda and their idea that Pepsi will stop the violence and bring us together is cute. And I feel that if this was done differently, without using the protests and struggles of marginalized groups to sell Pepsi, people would not have gotten as annoyed as they did.
You may wonder about why this middle class white boy cares about this kind of stuff. Well for me it isn't just "stuff", I am a member of a marginalized group as well. Being a member of the LGBT community I understand struggles and prejudice, but I also have my privilege as a white male in this society. And writing this article to talk about this issue is one of the ways I can help spread awareness.
Trying to better the world is not easy. And expecting people to not mess up or be problematic may not seem like a lot to ask, but knowing that even people who are low in prejudiced feelings can still engage in these prejudices is enough for me to understand that putting my energy into fighting the wrong person/situation defeats the purpose of me fighting at all. I like the idea that sharing a Pepsi can bring us together. So why don't we just take a sip and see where we go from here.