Tom Burrell, ad visionary, examines the marketing of the myth of black inferiority

(January 19, 2010) Recently there has been a collage of disturbing images saturating the media: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's racially insensitive comments about Barack Obama; Chris Brown's abuse of Rihanna; Tiger Woods' adultery with numerous white women; the controversy surrounding the Black pathology on display in the film Precious.

These images are disturbing but not surprising, according to advertising visionary Tom Burrell, author of the groundbreaking BRAINWASHED: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority (SmileyBooks; February 8, 2010; Trade Paperback Original; $15.95). A selection of the Black Expressions Book Club, Price M. Cobbs, M.D., author of Black Rage, says of BRAINWASHED, "Tom Burrell has mined his pioneering career to produce a wise, thoughtful, and must-read book."

Burrell, a 45-year veteran of the advertising industry and an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Fame, calls the marketing of the myth of Black Inferiority to justify slavery within a democracy "one of the greatest propaganda campaigns of all time."

Burrell examines how, for hundreds of years, Black Americans have labored under a Black Inferiority/White Superiority shadow and have been subject to a brainwashing campaign that was launched when slavery in America was legal. The debilitating campaign continues to this day. Until now, no one has detailed the damaging effects it has had on generations of Black Americans from a marketing/propaganda perspective.

During his decades in the advertising business, Burrell coined the phrase "Black people are not dark-skinned white people." It was there that he got a close-up view of how Blacks are viewed in this country and the way they unconsciously view themselves. He connected the dots from slavery and Jim Crow segregation to present-day commercial and social propaganda.

Topics explored in BRAINWASHED include:

 How Blacks and whites have been victimized by the lie and why this victimization must end.

  • The 10 questions every Black American must wrestle with to free their minds, including: 
  • Relationship Wrecks: Why can't Blacks build strong families? 
  • Uglified: Why are Black and beautiful still contradictions?
  • Studs and Sluts: Why do super-sexualized stereotypes from O.J. to Tiger Woods still reign supreme? 
  • Homey-cide: Why do Blacks kill one another at astronomical rates? 
  • Dos Will Do: Why do too many Black parents promote educational catastrophes for their children? 
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Why do we settle for living large, because we feel so low? 
  • Neo-Coons: Why is the joke always on us? 
  • Brainwashed 2010: Why Black pathology plays big at the box office 
  • How brainwashed are you?

But BRAINWASHED is more than a book, it's a movement that offers people a template for engagement and empowerment. Burrell explains that the most potent resource in the anti-brainwash initiative is media: audio or visual, via television, radio, film, music videos, billboards, print, the Internet, or cell phones -- everything that influences our minds. "The full media spectrum is now at our disposal," notes Burrell. "With technology, we can elevate our cultural discourse and reward positive thinking and action."

To recruit "evangelists for positive propaganda," Burrell has established the Resolution Project, which will sponsor the 1st Annual "Flip the Script�Stop the Brainwash" campaign. This worldwide competition will honor the best positive propaganda campaigns in video, art, creative writing, poetry, music, and other media based on a theme inspired by BRAINWASHED. 

Marketing communications pioneer and Advertising Hall of Fame inductee Tom Burrell is credited with revolutionizing the image of African Americans in television and changing the face of American advertising. His award-winning work promoted positive and realistic images of Blacks and acknowledged the purchasing power of the African American community.

In 2007, Burrell founded the Resolution Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes intra-racial dialogue and community-based new media "stop the brainwash" campaigns. He lives in Chicago's South Loop area.

To see more about the project click here.

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