In February 2021, Coca-Cola launched a new can design featuring the phrase “Try to be less white.”
In February 2021, readers asked Snopes to examine the authenticity of photographs appearing to show a Coke can imprinted with the words “Try to be less white.”
The photograph was fake. It was shared widely on Facebook in the final week of February, in the aftermath of a controversy in which Coca-Cola was accused of requiring its employees to watch a video course on racism containing a presentation slide that read “Try to be less white.”
We addressed those allegations in an earlier fact check, concluding that the anti-racism course was real, but it was unlikely Coca-Cola forced its employees to watch it, and the company explicitly denied having done that.
The prospect of Coca-Cola redesigning their cans to include that message was therefore exceedingly unlikely to begin with. In any event, the photograph was digitally manipulated and a complete hoax. The original is a stock image captured in 2014, and archived by Shutterstock. It can be found here. The composite image below shows the original stock photo on top, with the fake, edited “Try to be less white” version below it:
White people in the United States and other western nations, are “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white,” another slide reads.
It continued: “Research shows that by age 3 to 4, children understand that it is better to be white.”
The seminar has predictably provide divisive, with some praising the company and others threatening to boycott it.
Attorney and Center for American Liberty founder Harmeet Dhillon, who shared the slides on her Twitter, said the slides seemed “like blatant racial discrimination.”
In a letter to Fox Business, the soft drink giant said the slides being attributed to a Coca-Cola training program “are not part of the company’s learning curriculum.”
“Our Better Together global training is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace. It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long,” the company said.
It noted that the training is publicly available on LinkedIn, and includes a “variety of topics, including on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“We will continue to listen to our employees and refine our learning programs as appropriate,” the company said.
By: Snopes.com, fox5