“That’s Allstate’s stand. Are you in good hands?”
We’ve all heard it. We’ve all seen the infamous Black guy. I’ve been reflecting on this image though. Why is a Black man the face of an insurance company? Not that one shouldn’t be, but since when has the image of a Black man represented safety and protection in America?
I doubt that the heads of Allstate sat down with full understanding of the image of the Black male and intentionally decided to exploit it. Maybe they did. More likely, they simply thought to choose a man, signifying strength and protection, then added the black face to bring in the fear factor. This, in their minds, will show potential costumers that intruders will think twice before their invading homes because the company’s big scary Black guy will run them off.
The issue I have with this is that the company, essentially the country, is profiting off of the image of the Black man. They are benefiting from an image that, once assigned to a male, can offer a ticket for a life cut short. It’s offensive. A Black man is scary enough to protect American homes but too scary to be welcomed into White neighborhoods or survive a police encounter?
It really isn’t anything new though. Of the number of Black Soldiers exceeding 200,000 in the Revolutionary War, none would stand under equal protection of the law after the war was over. Promised everything, they would receive little. Today, through the clear image of the Allstate guy, America is still benefiting from the protection given by the Black male. Once again, over 200 years later, the children of the soldiers graced with black skin do not receive the same protection they put out.
*UPDATE: I emailed the company to share my opinion and this is the response I received*