Danish TV ad spreads powerful message in favour of pluralism and diversity

By Sucheta Dasgupta

This time, it is a Danish television ad on diversity that has taken the internet by storm. It has been put together by the TV channel, TV2. The name of the director is Asger Leth.

Taking on sociopolitical divisions within the predominantly-Caucasian study group, the narrator asks members to step out of their ‘boxes’ which are lines chalked on the studio floor if they respond affirmatively to his “a-bit-personal” questions—Who in this room has been the class clown? How many are stepparents? How many have been bullied, and so on.

The objective of the three-minute ad is to show how frequently identities intersect and how easy it is to blur the lines between ‘them’ and ‘us’.

This also demolishes as fake the artificial ‘Them vs Us’ argument used to bully those who stand out in a crowd and deprive some demographic groups of their rights and due. Sadly, in today’s societies—be they in Europe, India or the US—instances of this are becoming increasingly commonplace.

The ad, as on February 2, has enjoyed over 26 million views and has been shared on Facebook 7.7 lakh times.

In Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006), Amartya Sen writes insightfully about how a person’s identity comprises an intersection of various aspects of their existence.

For example, someone may be a software engineer, painter, amateur athlete, Muslim, Gujarati, woman and a small town resident, and a mother, and who she is consists of the gamut of information and experiences that she has gleaned from inhabiting simultaneously all of these existences.

As the world tilts towards the right and the alt-right, and intolerance raises its head across the political spectrum—right and left, it is perhaps time to revisit this idea. It flies in the face of the convenient but unfounded and often-false stereotypes that humans try to force their fellow-humans to fit.

We may come in many colours and we may bring with us our own myriad cultures, but we are all united by our intelligence, emotions and the human condition. In today’s troubled times, ‘All That We Share’ urges us to respect that.