A photo of a Google-branded notebook distributed at the K&I Black Summit held by Google in August has sparked controversy due to its questionable slogan. The notebook, given to Black attendees, features the summit’s theme, “Seize the moment,” on the front cover. However, upon opening the notebook, recipients were greeted with an awkward line that reads, “I was just cotton the moment, but I came back to take your notes.”
Google’s K&I Black Summit notebook controversy highlights the importance of attention to detail and cultural sensitivity in corporate events. The incident serves as a reminder for companies to approach diversity initiatives with utmost care and consideration in order to avoid unintentionally insensitive gestures.
Unintentionally Insensitive Gesture
The notebook’s slogan has raised eyebrows as it seems to play on racial stereotypes, particularly associated with African Americans and cotton picking in the past. This misstep by Google, a company known for its diversity and inclusion efforts, has raised concerns about the attention to detail and cultural sensitivity during the planning of the event.
When contacted about the incident, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the notebooks were distributed during the event but stated that the cotton line was not added by Google. They explained that the notebooks were purchased from a third-party vendor. However, this explanation has not quelled the criticism surrounding the oversight.
Implications in a Post-2020 Era
Given the heightened focus on supporting black employees and promoting inclusivity after the events of 2020, it is surprising that such a slogan would go unnoticed. It highlights the need for continued efforts to address biases and ensure sensitivity in corporate initiatives, especially those aimed at underrepresented communities.
Unfortunately, the Google spokesperson did not address how attendees may perceive the awkward language inside the notebook, leaving room for speculation and further critique. The incident serves as a reminder for companies to approach diversity initiatives with utmost care and consideration.