DC Newspaper Ad Welcomes Howard Students With Photo of White Woman


An ad for a DC grocery store welcomed Howard University students back from winter break with big savings on sushi!!! …And a photo of a smiling white woman. As Howard is a historically (and famously and OBVIOUSLY) black university, the ad has critics’ eyes rolling.

Here’s Clinton Yates for the Washington Post (which may be the paper that ran the ad, according to someone in Yates’s comments):

The message is loud and clear. Giant, the grocery store that’s the anchor of O Street Market — a relatively controversial development in Shaw — is advertising to students at nearby Howard University. And the model they used does not look like most people who go to the school, one of the nation’s most prominent historically black institutions.
To be clear, there is nothing specifically wrong with this advertisement. It could be that this is just another college name plugged into a pre-done clip-art advertisement. But the choice to use a white model to symbolize a typical student at Howard is an interesting one, even if accidental. It’s not like white people don’t go to Howard, but they are in the extreme minority. If nothing else, it’s certainly something that is noticeable whenever highlighted.

It looks like this is an ad for the Giant chain of grocery stores—so I’m sure they made one stock ad for all of their stores that are located near universities, and then just swapped out the name of the school in the copy. But even if the oversight wasn’t deliberate, it’s still boneheaded. There’s enough erasure of people of color in mainstream media without stripping them from the spaces they’ve carved out for themselves as well.

Image via Twitter/WaPo.

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