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Slide Show: The Tech Industry Loves White-People Hands

White guy touching a tablet. White guy wearing a smart watch. White guy holding a phone. White guy holding a phone. White guy holding a phone.

Tech marketers love photos of hands--especially white people’s hands. Scan your average tech site, and you’ll find a dizzying assortment of pale fingers stabbing away at phones and whalebone-colored wrists slipped effortlessly into the bands of smart watches. Above, we've compiled a slide show of marketing photos that various tech companies and independent entrepreneurs provided to the media. In it you'll find more than 50 white hand models, promoting everything from apps to hardware, and just a few models of color. If you want to get an idea of who holds the power in Silicon Valley, just look at who's holding the gadgets.

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25 Comments

  • Just want to mention that we respect each individuals thoughts and opinions. https://placeit.net is all about generating product screen shots in realistic environments to showcase those products. The consumer has to be viewed for who they really are, people. Individuals each one unique. Our goal is to showcase products to individuals so they can be part of a unique experience called emotion. The emotion to "feel" how the product can have an impact in their life.

  • It's called contrast, it makes things like "products" stand out in shots. I'm hispanic and I'm sure my hands could look like a "white" man hands under any of those angles and lighting.

  • Some of those are debatable. KeiKei definitely looks like an Asian hand. Jawbone and Spotter don't look especially white to me. Reminds me of an old art class experiment: very, very light colour tints that look white on their own, but put next to actual white are very clearly colours.

  • Mike Giusti

    How about we stop trying to create problems that don't exist? This article is as bad as the NAACP bullying Apple into having a more "diverse" board of directors. This guilty apologetic mentality is as bad as entitlement and needs to die off. The FastCompany writing staff is starting to irritate me.

  • Levi Wanyoike

    I couldn't agree more Mike. As a creative and African (Kenyan) am really put off by this article. I come here for design inspiration but today Fast Company has fed me gabbage. This is the stuff you find in tabloid websites.

    P.S. I never looked at the slideshow

  • If you look past the forced "issue" of this sort of diversity challenge you will notice something else most if not all of these photos have in common, they all are shot against white or light backgrounds. Perhaps the designers in charge of art directing these photos are simply trying to put the focus where it should be, on the product, not on the race of the individual holding said product.

    I noted that Lapka was pointed out as using a black hand model, but also shot agains't a black background in all the photos I've seen.

  • Ali Kim

    Suzanne, this sort of article makes me smile. The greater point of cultural development, the reinforcement of white supremacy (or white preference if the language suites), escapes many. The idea that whites are the vast majority in America exists mostly in the minds of people. People who construct their national demographic research on TiVo and not the census. Hell, my mom had me waiting in so many salons when I was a kid, bored, flipping through Cosmo. Now I have an irrational preference for white women (I'm black and Korean). Prejudice is an association, a way of learning that makes our brains the most complex on this planet. Pre-judging is what branding is made of! It's not new, it's not artificial, it's not a socialist plot, it's a natural part of our psychology. I just hope the high and mighty, the "we've progressed to reverse racism" crowd, and even the white guilt crowd can come together and admit how terrible we all are just because we're human beings :)

  • Cesar Cruz

    In a living room far away...A little boy or girl is seeing all these hands and says, when I grow up I want to be a hand model.

    If I want to do something, I never think "Did someone of my race, already do that?" Why would anyone base their future or actions on thoughts like that. The thinking behind this post is one of the many reasons why racism still exits.

    And as for Rick Fernandez's comment, I've never been one for affirmative action. Give the job to a person who deserves it. Who cares how many Latinos, African Americans, Asians, etc are in the country? Don't you see that your thinking is racist thinking? Would you like to be on TV just because you are the race that you are?

    Stop seeing in color. Stop being so damn sensitive. Place value behind integrity.

    You know, when I buy a piece of technology, I never stop to think... "Oh, was the device being held buy a white, brown or black hand? Hmm, I'm brown so I guess I should buy the device being held by the brown hand.

  • More than that, the entire Hollywood TV and movie industry thinks only in black and white terms when it comes to diversity. Every show or movie must have at least one black person, and boom, quota satisfied. Hollywood forgets that there are far more Latinos now in this country than blacks, yet there is no similar mandate to ensure there is always at least one Latino in every show. I'm glad blacks are included, but it's time for Hollywood (and corporate America in general) to recognize that black and white thinking is exclusionary and far from representative of the ethnic diversity of this country.

  • Watch television commercials and look at magazine ads and you'll see cultural diversity is on the upswing. At the same time, to point out the obvious, the vast majority of the U.S. population is, in fact, white. So it's no surprise that advertising would favor white people.

  • The tech industry loves white people... As does the food industry, medical industry, textiles, chemicals, mining, legal--aw, hell. the whole MilitAry indusTRIal compleX loves white people--except the private prison complex. Brown people are pretty popular there--for some reason.

  • Boone Sommerfeld

    I can't help but think that many of these are probably demos shot by the developers themselves. Seeing as how the tech sector is lacking in diversity, I don't think it is an oversight on their part not to include more hands of color, but its just demonstrative of who is working in that space.

  • I love the fabrication of controversy where none really existed. If you've worked in advertising you know the big push for years has been the effort to include MORE diversity - not less. This can be seen in ads for Apple, Microsoft, Bank of America, McDonalds etc.

    In tech, especially with start-ups, you're not going to waste funding on a hand model so often the hands used in ads or promos are of the employees themselves. Or they're using royalty-free photos and photoshop.

    BTW, you can't really tell the difference between Caucasian, Asian, Latinos just by looking at their hands -- unless you contextualize the photos.

    This reminds me of the insensitive consultants who asked if we could make the subjects of an ad, I was art directing, "smarmier" to enhance their "Latino-ness." (Little did the consultant know, that everyone on that project - besides me - hailed from South America. This included our designer who was the product of parents of Brazillian and Peruvian descent.

  • These companies spend a lot more time and money than you think hiring hand models. It is rare that companies use the nasty callused hands of their developers...

  • Cesar Cruz

    Jeremy, you couldn't be more wrong. Everywhere I've worked in Design and Web Design, we have always used employees hands. And using a keyboard and a mouse doesn't cause hands to develop calluses. Monirom's comment is right on the mark. I can relate to her "insensitive consultants" request. It happens over and over.