“Hey,
@RedCross, send a new pool poster to @SalidaRec bc (because) the current one
they have w (with) your name on it is super racist,” @JSawyer330 tweeted
Monday, June 20, 2016.  A week later, The
American Red Cross issued a formal apology.

The
American Red Cross’ “Super Racist” poster in question aims to teach children
how to follow the rules at a swimming pool.
Unfortunately, the poster appears to only label white children as
behaving in “cool” ways, whereas children of color are labeled as behaving in
ways that are “not cool.”  One colored
child is illustrated shoving another, a white child, into the water.

I
think that it’s safe to say that The Red Cross, one of the nation’s oldest and
largest humanitarian organizations, isn’t trying to convey racist undertones
with their pool safety posters.  That
being said, their “super racist” poster is a silly, needless gaffe.  The organization should have been more
cognizant when developing their water safety poster, particularly since it
featured on both their website and mobile Swim App.

The
American Red Crossed issued a formal press release apologizing for the gaffe on
Monday, June 27th.  Their
apology includes the following, straightforward statement:

“We
deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent
to offend anyone.”

Additionally,
the organization has ceased production of the poster in question, removed it
from their official website and mobile Swim App, and requested that any
facilities that have the poster displayed take it down.

The
American Red Cross handled the situation perfectly.  They were quick, decisive, apologetic, and
formal – everything that illustrates that they’re taking the matter seriously,
and are deeply invested in the people they offended.  In some instances, an organization’s response
is more telling than what actually prompted it in the first place.  With their response, the American Red Cross
did themselves a massive service.

How do you think the American Red Cross handled the situation? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and join the discussion!

Contributor: Jack Haandraadts, Account Coordinator at Marketing Maven