Nothing Sells like Whiteness: Race, Ontology, and American Advertising

Shalini Shankar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, I examine how white supremacy is reproduced and circulated through advertising. I explore the shift from the racial and ethnic specificities of “multiculturalism” to the more open-ended concept of “diversity,” which indexes difference in unspecific and nonthreatening ways. How diversity is represented in general-market advertising and how it differs from multicultural advertising offers a window into white supremacy and the role of advertising in furthering its agenda. Advertising has long acted as a vehicle for white supremacy, and by analyzing diversity, there is something to be learned about the current work done by this medium. [race/ethnicity, advertising, media, diversity, white supremacy].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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