Earlier this week, officials from Ventura County, California apologized for a poster the county distributed meant to illustrate social distancing techniques.
One version of the poster, which the county said was printed in both Spanish and English and was meant for use at farms, used vegetable crates to show what six feet of distance looks like. The poster said, “6 feet (2 meters) is about the length of three produce crates,” and showed two shadow figures standing apart from one another with vegetable crates between them.
The other version of the poster, which the county said was also distributed in both English and Spanish, used a pair of skis to show six feet of distance between two people. The figures in that poster are dressed in business attire.
Ventura County residents and others found the use of produce crates to illustrate social distancing extremely offensive, especially when seen side by side with the poster using skis.
— Amy Maldonado (@AmyMaldonadoLaw) June 12, 2020
Come on Ventura County! Really? So wrong on so many levels! Shame on you. English
poster depicts professionals & get skis and Latinos (Spanish)get vegetable crates for social distancing & no faces As a former resident of Ventura County, I am so disgusted! https://t.co/n1QP1YfsTS
— Andrew Silk (@andrewsilk) June 8, 2020
Intent is irrelevant. People are telling you the effect. Your responses are dismissive and glib. Apologize. Redesign the posters (skis in Ventura County, really? I’m a straight white male born & raised in @CountyVentura and I couldn’t tell you the length of a ski). Do better.
— Jeremy Resnick (@JeremyResnick) June 6, 2020
County Executive Officer Mike Powers issued apologies on the county’s English and Spanish Facebook pages, saying, “We pledge to do better. Please continue to stay engaged with us as we work to engage with and support our diverse community during these challenging times.” The apology was issued on June 6 and was first reported by CBS Los Angeles on June 8.
Ventura County has designed a new poster, in both English and Spanish, which illustrates proper social distancing technique with a simple blue arrow. According to CBSLA the county expects to distribute the new posters this week.
Ana Lucía Murillo is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. and the 2020 summer correspondent for Latino Rebels. She tweets from @analuciamur.