What do a good facial soap and a tasty fruit have in common?

If you answered, “Nothing,” think again, and then answer at the top of your lungs: “RACISM!”

DOVE Soap has been a top seller for 60 years since it was introduced as a facial cleanser that contained moisturizing cream and watermelon has been around since Ancient Egypt where the populace knew a thing or two about hot summer days.

But if you are a soap company trying to attract customers with promises that your product is good for any skin type because it is hypoallergenic, gentle on sensitive skin, recommended by dermatologists and safe enough for baby’s delicate skin, non-drying and guaranteed to leave skin softer, smoother and more radiant-looking – well, good luck with that!

And if you are obliged to bring a snack to your new job and don’t want to go with the same old, same old doughnuts or bagels, heaven forbid you take a refreshing fruit almost everyone loves, doesn’t require forks and is easy on the pocketbook so you can feed the group without going broke.

DOVE Soap and watermelon are now synonymous with Confederate statues, fried chicken and other so-called “dog whistles” by which racists communicate with each other without using unacceptable words.

Unilever, which makes DOVE came under fire for an ad that showed a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, although the original ad also included an Asian woman in the series of photos.

And sure enough, to prove the theory that those who are looking to be offended will find something offensive in anything, an immediate hew and cry went up about how DOVE was suggesting that their soap could turn black skin white – and further, that this was somehow a desirable thing – the implication being that black skin is “bad” and white skin is “good.”

While the ad company for DOVE can be faulted for not getting the right message across, that should hardly have been cause for Unilever’s stock to fall, which it did until the company released the requisite apology on Monday.

The fruit police sprang into action in Detroit when a probationary firefighter made the mistake of taking a watermelon – the horror! – to work on his first day instead of leaden bagels or fattening doughnuts.

He stuck a pink bow on the green rind, took it into the station house and was promptly… fired.

The firefighter was white, some members of the station house were black and the watermelon was green on the outside and red on the inside.

If only somehow could establish a Department of Non-Offense, we could all breathe a little easier knowing we weren’t in danger of offending someone, somewhere, with something.

Do you think people have become too sensitive and see racism in even the most innocent things?

 
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