The Look

By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
July 14, 2019

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  • Wow! My heart aches for all who have received that ‘look!’ Let’s just remember that many others also receive it, Latinos, Asians, those who are fat, those who are old, those who are ‘disabled.

    • Agreed! Having grown up with a handicap sister, she and family have received “the look” for years. It’s difficult to understand why we can’t embrace our differences instead of fear them. Great video/great message!

    • Yes, others do receive a “look”. But the “look” accorded to those in most of your categories is completely different than the “look” inflicted on black Americans, and black American men in particular, which includes fear, hostility, and suspicion. None of us should be subject to the humiliation of a “look”, but let’s just remember that black Americans receive by far the worst of it.

  • WOW–totally blew me away. Hat off to P&G for getting that out.

  • I’ll be following the conversation. I want to hear the reactions of others.

  • Wow!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. The commercial is beautifully done, and I’m so grateful for the ways MDK is speaking up to making the world better.

  • Thank you for sharing “The Look.” I would not have known about it otherwise. My husband, daughter and 6 year old grandson watched it too. We had some great conversation in our household this morning.

  • Very moving but not surprising video….and things seem to be getting worse rather than better. Good for P&G. What can we do about it? We can speak up! We can vote! We can pass this video on as I am doing on FB and as Ann and Kay have done.

  • Excellent!

  • Thank you MDK. Haven’t watched yet and just read this but “this” is why I follow you and I so appreciate how you weave social consciousness into our fabric of life. Things I would not have been aware of in my white world.

  • It must be exhaustng to live with that day, after day, after day….. And yes, it does seem to be getting worse, or, is the spotlight on al of it just that much brighter because it has been there always.

    • It’s beyond exhausting

  • Amazingly powerful. Thank you for sharing this. I hope it’s a catalyst to conversations that lead to change. “The Look” needs to be banished.

  • Powerful

    • I live in Alabama and have a bi-racial daughter and the ‘look’ is absolutely real – it is real in Georgia, it is real in Florida, it is real in Mississippi. And racism is getting worse, black co-workers in a local restaurant were subjected to a white man yelling racist statements at them as they were waiting for a table – the response from the white wait staff? To ignore him and delay seating them. I don’t know what your claim is based on, that this is propaganda, but I can tell you that I have seen that look. I can tell you that now that my daughter is 19 we can’t go on vacation without people assuming that she is part of the hotel cleaning staff if she happens to be somewhere in the hotel without me.

    • You don’t live in every corner of Georgia, though, so while that’s your experience, and thank goodness it is, it’s not every Georgian’s. I’ve lived in the deep south my entire life, mostly Georgia, too, and I’ve seen the looks. i also still hear the stupidest talk and have to stand up to people I love, who love me but don’t like to be corrected, which is a very intimidating position.

      I worked with a woman i admired and respected, in retail. Once she came to me, whispering urgently I needed to go watch two women who’d entered the store with large bags. This was 1988, before the time of mega-purses. I was shocked when her reasoning was that they didn’t look like they had the money to be in the store combined with the color of their skin. I told her neither of those were reasons to suspect they were shoplifters (so ridiculous) but she eagle-eyed them until they left.

    • Thanks for posting.

  • Powerful! It makes me wonder if I have given “the look”. I sincerely hope not!

  • Laurene Why have I not seen this on TV? When was it made?

    • Quite recently, I believe. We first saw it this past week when Gaye shared it.

    • I saw it on GG Made It on IG this week also and wondered why it hasn’t been seen on TV yet too. Very powerful message.

  • This film is brilliant, and true. And needs to be broadly shared. Thank you both for bringing it to a wider audience. I stand behind you and beside you.

    A fellow maker,
    Cathy Gronewold
    Wayland, Massachusetts

  • I cried.

    • Me, too. Today’s gospel lesson for the Christian churches who follow the same lectionary, is the story of the Good Samaritan and the verse ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ If only we all lived our lives with this lesson in mind. Interesting story on CNN last night about our neighbors in Storm Lake, IA, where many newcomers work in our agricultural plants.

    • Me too

  • It made me cry. I hope I’m not guilty of this but I probably am. A great piece. I’m proud to say I own P and G stock.

  • Thank you

  • It brought tears to my eyes, even though I could see what was coming. Thank you for posting this and hats off to P & G!

  • I felt the exhaustion and the sadness. We are all a part of this and every thoughtful reminder increases my awareness. Thank you.

  • What a strong message from a surprising source. I will be sharing this. Like others I want to know what it will take to change the world around us. Thank you for spreading this video

  • Wonderful thought provoking advert.
    I would like to say I hold no prejudice for racial stereotypes BUT I have never lived any where with a large [or even a small] ethnic population so in truth I do not know. I am a 68 year old white female.

  • Thank you ladies, thank you GG, and thank you P&G. Let’s hope more people get a look at “The Look” and realize the pain this causes others. Because it’s not just the look, it’s the way people act.

  • Thank You!

  • I remember “the look” walking into a bank one day with a black male friend and a woman coming out suddenly clutching her purse to her chest.

  • Been listening to the Michelle Obama memoir (highly recommend). This ad really resonates.

  • Preach Sister!

  • I’m sure I have given The Look – much to my shame – because I catch myself having The Thought. For now, I just notice that I had The Thought, and then I try to catch the other person’s eye and smile. I wonder if I will ever, ever NOT have The Thought – it’s so frustrating to know how deeply racial prejudice runs in me. I also notice the degrees of my prejudice – one skin tone vs another, one type of “otherness” vs another. So grateful to P&G, and to you all for sharing this video.

    • Vie, thank you for this honesty. That, too, is desperately needed.

    • We did unconscious bias testing at work and the results were depressing. Apparently I’m unconsciously biased against women in science even though I am a woman working in IT! It convinced me of the need for positive discrimination to get people into positions of responsibility and importance, and to set an example that will change how people think in the long term.

      “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

      ― Jesse Jackson

  • Thank you, Karen.

  • So good. As a white girl raised in Mississippi by parents born in the 40’s and grandparents born in the 20’s, I can acknowledge that fear of and prejudice against black people in general and black men in particular were definitely conveyed to me, intentionally and unintentionally. Now I am 46 years old, and I no longer live in the south, but every day I still have to confront my biases. Knowing something intellectually doesn’t change the long-engrained patterns of seeing the world unless we challenge ourselves on those unconscious impulses. I think the most important thing I can do is to speak openly with my children about race and racism. I want them to expect to hear some horrible things from other kids and maybe even from the adults in their friends’ homes, and I want them armed with the knowledge of right and wrong, so they have the language to respond, even if only to themselves.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • A lifetime of seeing the look because Hispanic isn’t “white” enough and especially now in this political climateI’m so glad you shared this.

  • This is a heart-wrenching ad of what really goes on in the world. We are all included in this kind of behavior. Sadly, we always blame everyone else for our empathy. We always have a reason for being racist and truly believe that it is a good reason.

    • I feel sad that so many are fearful of other human beings. I think that the news covers bad actions of a miniscle few but since its all we hear, we feel unsafe. So sad.

  • This video hurts my heart. There’s no excuse for this kind of behavior. But thank you for posting the video and reminding me that there is much bias in the world.

  • Thank you for sharing

  • Brilliant

  • Thank you for sharing this very important message. You’ve made a fan of me now that I realize that you are “socially conscious knitters” and not just another knitting blog.

  • I work in a field where my coworkers have been from different races, backgrounds and ethnicities. In addition, I have worked in the Bronx, Queens, and towns that are close to Manhattan, basically the cross roads of the world. So six months ago when this subject blew up in IG I was a bit surprised at first. Call me naive. I am now finding that I welcome these conversations. I find that I am bored when I turn the TV on or looking at a magazine and see only white faces. Looking inside I am reminded of my belief that we are created from one Source, making us therefore all related, all sisters and brothers. The most profound things are being said on IG nowadays, too. And so many people have been so very kind. Deep down inside we all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are , no matter our color, our religion, our weight, sexual orientation, etc. So I feel lucky now that I have been given, through what I’ve been reading in IG and elsewhere, the opportunity to remember to go forth on a daily basis and keep that in mind, as Gaye would say, “on purpose”. Because as one person I cannot do great things. However I can do small things, such as kindness , acknowledgement, etc. with great love. Let’s keep continuing the conversations.

  • “a somewhat seedy diner in a neighborhood that is usually perceived as dangerous” — I realize you may have actually done this intentionally, but I’d like to acknowledge it directly and specifically as a use of coded language, a close cousin of “the look.” This will inevitably be taken to mean “in a black part of town,” without it needing to be explicitly said, so it’s the same kind of shorthand as “he was wearing a hoodie.” We, collectively, need to stop treating black and dangerous as synonyms, which I know is your whole point.

  • A real gut punch. My company is actively engaged in becoming an anti-racist company and it is just this hard.

  • Just wow.

  • powerful, enlightening, heartbreaking, frustrating. will it ever end. will human beings ever evolve. will prejudice, and fear in all it’s forms ever leave us.

  • Cool; TY!! What’s the name of that tune? Reminds me of Bach’s Prelude in C (?) major…..?

  • This reminds me of a story my mother used to tell me about a man in old clothing going to church and nobody would acknowledge him. A couple of weeks later the new minister was introduced and it was the man they had treated so badly. I look at the video and think how rude people are.

  • This is powerful, but seriously flawed. Here’s my complaint: The video employs the “worthy black person” stereotype to fight another stereotype. Who’s more upstanding than a judge? It’s certainly a relief to see him get the respect he’s due in the final scene. But can we recognize racism when it happens to more ordinary people? What if the protagonist was a moody (aren’t they all?!?) teenager? What if he wore his pants super low? What if he took his time crossing the street with his rowdy friends? Would we be as inclined to sympathize? White fragility is real. White people (myself included) have a lot of work to do if they want to understand their own contributions to racism. And yes, we all contribute. That is one point the video conveyed quite well.

    • You raise good points. Thank you.

    • I agree with your point about the video employing a worthy black person. I worked in an industry that employs many people of color, usually in large public spaces. The racial stereotyping was infuriating: all hispanic women were janitorial staff, all blacks were security personnel, except many of them weren’t. They were often treated in the most appalling fashion.

    • Joanna, I had a situation a couple of weeks ago which was the same. My husband and I were in a standing room only section of a concert in lower Manhattan that took place at a restaurant.

      The old white people had seats near the front.
      Younger white people had seats toward the back and were with us in the standing section.
      Black men and women took orders and served food.
      Latino men took dishes and brought water. This strata (with few exceptions) happens very often in NYC.

    • I think the point is that we are only looking at the color of skin – that a black man can do all the “socially acceptable “ acts like education, dress, be polite, etc and he will still receive that same look, that people only see his black skin.

      • Not sure I explained what I meant accurately – this example shows just how discouraged black men must feel.

  • Thanks for sharing this. As a white woman, I think I sometimes forget how difficult life is for people of color.

  • WOW!

  • Excellent and sad.

  • My regret I will never be able to watch this and give my honest opinion. As with so many issues the lead of the story is the desired outcome. A strong woman of color from Mississippi.

  • Tears of pain…and sadness. Why we don’t see people as people, other human beings is horrible. Thank you for sharing, it is eye opening to see from someone else’s point of view and experience. As a white woman I just don’t have that experience, but I see it and need to be more aware of it as it happen all around.

  • In 1967 there was a song that made it big called Society’s Child about a white girl dating a black boy and the issues they have.Sadly that story line often holds true today.

  • Thank you for this.

  • Very affecting and effective. Thanks

  • Thank you for sharing this!

  • Last summer, I was in a crowded community pool, following around my 5-year-old who was in floaties, when my little guy backed into another person— an African-American teenage boy. I immediately said something to the teenager like, “I’m so sorry! That was my little one.” And the teenage boy apologized to me. And I said, “No, please don’t apologize— my son bumped into you. You did nothing wrong. I’m the one apologizing.” He just kind of smiled nervously and moved away. He was such a polite kid— I hope my two teenage sons are as well-mannered, and I teach my kids (who are white) to always apologize just to avoid conflict— but it bummed me out because I knew it was self-defense, the talk his parents undoubtedly had with him. Always apologize in any issues with a white person.

    I’m kind of an awkward introvert, so the only look I give (any) people is an awkward smile if I make eye contact, and I wondered whether that was what “The Look” was going to be about, or about the experience I remember one of my African-American friends telling me about in college, walking around a jewelry shop with his grandmother to buy his mom a gift, and getting tailed by staff. The latter, obviously.

  • Thank you for sharing this — I hadn’t seen it. I’m in the middle of reading The Hate U Give with some high school girls from refugee families. It’s heartbreaking to discuss and teach about America’s problems with race with these young women who’ve come here for a better start. But it’s important. And interesting to talk about this topic with them. Even though our country’s heritage is not theirs, they know first hand about tribalism and racism. And how we all have to battle it. Including in ourselves.

  • That made me weep. Will share with my company and co-workers. Thank you!

  • Rarely does anything on TV move me to tears, and certainly not a commercial (unless it’s one of those “mom of an Olympian” ones). And even more rarely does something I read on a blog lead me to write a public comment. I am usually more of a silent observer. But this post has me doing both… This: “Then you sit with it a while, and recognize that it’s in you, it’s in your town, it’s in your friends and neighbors and coworkers”. It strikes a chord, and makes me realize that being a silent observer is no longer enough. Life feels exhausting lately – so many affronts to decency, equality, fairness, coming from so many directions. From the comments I can see that others feel it too. But we must strive to overcome the exhaustion, and I can only hope that others who see the ad are similarly touched and moved to be… more.

  • Wow. This is a terrible, remarkable, brilliant work of art. I am ashamed each day of our country, of who and what we have become and I pray, I pray I have never been any of those white people and I cannot fathom how horribly exhausting it must be to live that experience every day as a person of color. Thank you MDK for posting this.

  • Thanks for sharing this with all. I had never seen it on TV.

  • Thank yo for posting this. It is so appropriate for our times.

  • Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing this. It made me cry.

  • Powerful and moving, and sadly relevant. Thank you for sharing. I feel very strongly that it is important to exercise empathy, and try to imagine how you would feel if you were walking in another person’s shoes. This ad has done that very effectively.

  • What a lovely thoughtful reminder for all of us. Thank you and the sponsers for giving us this video. MDK is fantastic!

  • Thank you. Lots of things for lots of us to learn and think about.

  • Excellent video. Words are inadequate.

  • I’m glad you showed it. Despite what Ravelry says, I’m NOT a white supremacist!!

    • Ditto!!

  • Thank you for sharing this.

  • Wow! Well worth watching and remembering…..

  • Just watched the 4 part series, by Henry Louis Gates, on PBS, called Reconstruction. The Look is one of many horrific white behaviors spawned from a 150+ year long narrative manipulation/ white spremacist con. A must see. Thank you for sharing this.

  • I’m a proud to say that I worked for this company and was involved in the early days of this campaign – “my black is beautiful.” This is another award winning ad in the campaign from 2018

    • Thanks so much for sharing that ad. Both of them are deeply thought provoking and heart opening. So much self examination needed for all of us to live our lives from love, in awareness of the social and mental structures that shape us.
      Thanks to MDK for spreading this and to all the wonderful comments. I’ve been getting so discouraged of late, you all gave my heart new wings.

  • This brought tears to my eyes. As a white female, I can only slightly relate. As a teenager I got that sort of look as a potential shop-lifter, as a young mom as a “better keep your little one in check” at the store, but nothing like this man. I remember as a child angrily telling off a white boy who told one of our classmates of color that her hair felt like…well something unpleasant that you didn’t normally touch. We’ve come far, but have much farther to go,

  • Thank you so much for posting this. I know someone who is a judge, and no doubt has had those very looks.

    I love you guys, and thank you for making the world – not just the knitting world – a better place for *everyone*.

  • Very profound

  • So the next step is – “what can each of us DO to make this change?” I am thinking about ways that I can respond when I see this happening. How can I support people who are being marginalized?

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I have been thinking that perhaps the silver lining to the comments coming from the White House is that so many are talking about racism. I know I am so much more sensitive to things I didn’t give much thought to at all. And that’s what privilege is all about . . . So count me in to listening, learning and supporting all of my fellow humans.