Recognizing the significant role that advertising plays in American life, this article examines the phenomenon of race-based targeted marketing as a contributing factor to the racial tension of our media age and evaluates the role of government regulation in preventing the dissemination of racist messages through advertising. In Part I, the article first looks at the evolution of "mass" marketing into today's standard use of targeted marketing techniques, and especially how those techniques can sometimes have racist effects. In Part II, the article discusses both measurable and esoteric harms of cultural racism. Part III examines existing laws designed to regulate advertising generally and specific laws that reach discriminatory advertising for particular products and services. Part IV specifically analyzes the Federal Trade Commission's existing authority to regulate unfairness in advertising as it might be used to prevent advertising with racist effects. Finally, recognizing the difficulty of governmental intervention in the marketplace, this article suggests guidelines for use by advertisers who affirmatively wish to avoid advertising practices that cause racist harms.
Ross D. Petty, Anne-Marie G. Harris, Toni Broaddus & William M. Boyd III,
Regulating Target Marketing and Other Race-Based Advertising Practices,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol8/iss2/1