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Whites-Only Whoppers

May 13, 2013 — 1 Comment

A news item on Yahoo caught my eye that Burger King had entered the South African market. So I checked out the Burger King ZA website — and was stunned to see not one black person pictured on the entire web site. There’s one Indian guy…. and a whole lotta whites. Believe me, I checked every page thinking there had to be one somewhere. Nope.

WTF?! Is it apartheid 2.0 at Burger King? Does “Have It Your Way” mean the white way? Instead of paper crowns, maybe the kids pictured at the BK birthday parties should be wearing klan hoods.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like common sense and second nature to show diversity in marketing, media, everywhere. It’s not difficult. When I edit textbooks and some author names all the case study characters out of the 1952 social register — I change some names to reflect the broad diversity of America. It may seem like a little thing, but it matters to see yourself, or people like you, represented in media.

South Africa is supposed to be The Rainbow Nation. And blacks are a majority by far. Yet Burger King’s South African website is 99.9 percent white? Maybe they should just write the site in Afrikaans. In a country where blacks are still marginalized and lacking opportunity, twenty years after the end of apartheid, to not show them enjoying life and a burger on a web site (ahem, from a US-headquartered corporation) well it just sickens me — even more than the last time I ate a Whopper about eight years ago.

There’s better fast food burgers from local companies in South Africa anyway. Better fast food in general, based on my time there with Mtuseni. Here’s hoping the lily-white King flops in ZA.

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