Bank Staff Posts Company Dinner Photos Online; Public Relations Nightmare Ensues

(Original story at the Straits Times here.)

It was a company dinner which was Bollywood-themed. The ethnic Chinese staff joined in the fun by painting their faces in a darker color to look Indian. Racism probably wasn’t at the top of their minds when they did that, but because the photos were posted online, they raised eyebrows from the public.

Seeing red over UOB staff dinner ‘blackface’ photos

Published on Feb 12, 2012

By Jennani Durai

Several Chinese employees of United Overseas Bank have raised eyebrows online after posting pictures of themselves in ‘blackface’ at a Bollywood-themed staff dinner.

Pictures of last Friday’s event at the Fairmont Hotel were posted on social networking site Facebook on Sunday. At least three men are pictured with their faces painted black, presumably because the event was Indian-themed and Indians have darker skin.

‘Blackface’ is widely seen as racially charged, especially in the United States. It originated as a form of theatrical make-up for performers to act out caricatures of dark-skinned people.

Attempts to reach the staff involved were unsuccessful.

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Author: Nicholas

Experienced Mortgage Banker at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. Expert on real estate market in the Front Range.

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