Six Designs That White People Never Notice Are Racist

When products are made for you, you never realise how their design can be exclusionary towards people of color.

Stark Raving


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

The thing with privilege is often you only notice it when you don’t have it. Right-handed people use scissors and think nothing of it, it never even crosses their mind that it could be an issue. Women are more likely than men to suffer severe injury in a car accident when wearing seatbelts because they were made for the male anatomy. When things are made for you, you don’t even notice it. You don’t even imagine that other people don’t have the same experience. If oppression is invisible to you, it is because you are on the side of the oppressor.

As proof, here are eight examples of designs that are unwittingly racist.

1. Sunglasses

Some people of color complain that sunglasses are designed for Caucasian faces, with narrow and high nasal bridges, and aren’t a good fit for them. This makes them slide off easily, or sit too tightly on the nose. Afropolitan eyewear brand REFRAMD is trying to change this, and develop “a new generation of sunglasses that consider Afropolitans and other overlooked communities.” They have already made $45 000 on Kickstarter.

2. Band-Aids

Band-aids were designed to be “skin-coloured” to blend in and hide your injury. Except there is no such colour as “skin” or “flesh.” They are actually just the color of white skin. The eponym brand Band-Aid, part of Johnson and Johnson, announced last year on Instagram that they would be developing a range of different colored bandaids, from light to dark brown.

Screenshot by the author

3. Heart rate monitors

The majority of consumer devices that track your heart rate do so thanks to optical sensors that measure the volume of your blood. In between beats, there is a lower concentration of blood in the veins of your wrist, so more light is reflected back to the sensor, which allows it to distinguish between beats. The problem is that skin with…



Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work!