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PC gone bad

January 30, 2013 - John Stack

Volkswagen is running an ad during the Super Bowl that shows a very white guy who works in corporate America in Minnesota. But, because he drives a Volkswagen, he is always happy, and speaks in a Jamaican accent. The point of the ad being that driving a Volkswagen makes you as happy as if you were living in Jamaica. But, its racist! So says Barabara Lippert and Charles Blow…

Barbara Lippert is from where she reports on the confluence of pop culture and advertising. She was on the Today Show and commented on the ad. She said the ad was ‘this is so racist’ and said it was "just saying that black people are happy." NY Times columnist Chales M Blow also weighed in calling it “blackface with voices” (whatever that means). Uh (cue it Liam) Really? Lippert finds it racist because it’s a German company, not a Jamaican one. She even says Jamaicans are OK with Jamaican beer commercials making fun of a Jamaican accent, but somehow its not OK for German car makers to accentuate the happiness people feel when thinking of Jamaica? Even worse, for both commentators, is that they are equating this with racist against blacks, not against Jamaicans. Really? I’ve never met a non-Jamaican black guy who speaks a true Jamaican patois. Why would a black guy (excuse me – African American) find this racist or unlikeable? It’s not about them at all. One can understand Lippert, a white middle aged woman not understanding that being black in America doesn’t equate in any way to Jamaicans with brown colored skin. Actually, it’s still stupid. She might as well have said that all blacks look alike. She’s the one making the ignorant racist statements. But Charles Blow is a black guy. Why does he see this as racist to blacks? Are all blacks Jamaican? Do they share some common bond outside of skin color? Why would someone feel oppressed when you are highlighting the positive energy of your culture? And here’s the kicker. Jamaicans love the ad. The only people it matters to. And not just typical Jamaicans like Jennifer Blake, who found it funny and has forwarded the ad to her friends and can’t see how anyone would be offended. Jamaican government officials have embraced the ad. Lawmaker Edmund Bartlett said the ad“"is a perfect illustration of Jamaican culture's global reach and our uncharacteristic penchant to be happy even in challenging situations." Who wouldn’t want people highlighting that part of your culture? Even tourism minister Wykeham McNeill thinks the ad is great for Jamaican tourism and the Jamaican people. This reminds me of Seinfeld clip. Jerry and Elaine are in a restaurant or something and an attractive Asian woman walks by. Jerry says he’s attracted to Asian women. Elaine tells him that saying that is racist. Jerry is bewildered how he could say something racist when he says that he likes it. Count me in too Jerry.


Article Comments



Feb-05-13 4:27 PM

Redskins become Redstorm... Same issue, different day... None of the REDSKINS had a problem with our school team being called the REDSKINS. Only some tight skin dingaling did. Now the kids are the RED STORM ..... Who is it that says "Really " (Liam I think)


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