How incredibly complex a subject is racism.
The fanatical, bigoted, passionate beliefs of some people still shocks me.
How incredibly and unfathomably ignorant is it to hate someone you don't know, based on a trait as innocuous as the color of their skin.
Yet here we are, in the age of "enlightenment" arguing over what should or should not be considered offensive.
Consider this recent report from CNN's Political Ticker.
Also, check out this video about the same controversial situation.
I hope you will follow the links above to get a better idea of what I am talking about, but in case you don't have time, I will summarize.
A Japanese cell phone company has pulled one of its television ads that used a monkey that appears to portray Sen. Barack Obama.
The commercial opens with a crowd rallying behind a well-dressed monkey speaking from a podium. The supporters are cheering and waving signs that say “Change.” In the ad, the monkey was encouraging users to change providers.
The company behind the ad, eMobile Ltd., insists it had no idea of any racial undertones and says the ad was just a nod at Obama’s worldwide popularity.
Eric Gan, president of eMobile, points out that their company’s mascot is a monkey – an animal revered in Japan — and has been used in previous ads.
“When we saw the idea for the first time, it was ‘Hey, you're copying the idea from the presidential election in the U.S.’ Yes, but, you know, that's how you make a presentation. How you make an impact. We thought it quite was interesting,” he said.
Bloggers immediately voiced their disapproval of the ad and accused the company of being racist.
Gan says the company was unaware of how the ad might be interpreted, but “now, of course, we know.”
You really should visit the article, and look at all the comments about this. It is unbelievable. Comments ranging from, "I don't see what the big deal is" (If you watched the video, most of the Japanese people that saw the ad didn't even connect it with Obama at all.) to "Karl Rove must be behind this".
Here is a snapshot
William Ayers July 2nd, 2008 11:19 am ET
Ironically, the monkey has more executive experience and more solid stances on issues than Obama.
W.H. Thomas July 2nd, 2008 11:20 am ET
After spending 1.5 years in Japan, I can honestly say as an African American, that Japanese citizens know very little about racism. It is good to know that Obama is popular in Japan.
Tom July 2nd, 2008 11:20 am ET
Karl Rove nonsense is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
lil July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET
Believe me they knew that their were racial undertones they just didnt
care or was trying to make a startment. Either way I dont like it.
not important July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET
Maybe they should do an ad about Pearl Harbor? Just rude and stupid ad. Obama should sue them.
joe July 2nd, 2008 11:21 am ET
Karl Rove and republicans must be stooping a new low!
How does something like this get turned into such a big deal? An ad made in Japan, designed for Japanese consumers and aired in Japan accidentally has racial undertones to it. The Japanese company is informed that some people might see it that way. In order to NOT offend anyone, they pull the ad off the air. Done. A little embarrassing, maybe, but does it really call for international finger wagging?
I genuinely think they were paying Obama a compliment. I see nothing in that ad that would suggest that they were trying to subliminally undercut his accomplishments by comparing him to a monkey. Especially when you consider that the monkey is highly revered in that culture.
Now that I have taken the time to "set the stage", I don't have much time to really rant, so I will try to keep it short.
Few things irritate me as much as seeing people that are out there trying to accomplish something take cheap shots from people that apparently have nothing better to do. In this case, it is a cell phone company trying to be creative in their hopes to convince consumers to switch to their company. I am not saying that it is a noble cause or anything, just that they are out there "doing their job" and made a slight misstep. When it was pointed out, they rectified the situation. Why continue to harass them about this?
Some of you may already know where I am going with this.
For those of you still scratching your heads, there is a little website that we talk about here from time to time. It is called Pink Truth. SOME of the people on that site seem to just LOVE to do this very thing. For instance, when Mary Kay donated some items to a holiday gift drive at Christmastime many joined the chorus of criticism suggesting that the gifts were no good, or not genuine enough, or not admissible because they reported the retail value instead of the wholesale value.
So what does the international criticism of this poor Japanese mobile company have to do with Pink Truth and Mary Kay?
Glad you asked.
Today, amidst the usual clatter of unintelligible drivel that is based on conclusions made from bizarre logic, there was this critique from The Scribbler:
Now I am pretty sure that I have seen some very intelligent stuff from "The Scribbler", and in fact would LOVE to have her join the discussion over here. Further, this comment (as with most of her comments) is actually a refreshing shift from the "norm" that you come to expect. Quite well done, really. Quote in italics, picture used for emphasis, makes it clear that pic was not altered, and then makes her point clearly and concisely... something I could even take lessons on.
But is it necessary? Does it help any of the readers? Does it really accomplish the mission of saving women from the MLM monster? Does it really do anything to demonstrate that MLMs are monsters?
I don't think so. I say if someone wants to appeal to people that share a certain ethnicity by inviting guest speakers OF that ethnicity that is their prerogative. Perhaps a white consultant that is curious about the perspective of a black woman that rose to NSD will want to attend. It does look kind of funny AND it WOULD be deemed racist if it said "and other WHITE NSD's!" Double standard? Maybe. Something to "get up in arms" about? Probably not!
It gets better.
"OH OH!!!! Is that a RACIAL SLUR or WHAT????!!!!! AHmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I'M TELLING!!!!!!!!!! discrimination!!!!! Does this mean that only her "sistahs" can go to this event??? this is one to send to corp and ask them about their discrimination policies!!! off with her head!!!"
"...off with her head!!!"....??????? WHAT? Are YOU kidding me?
"...Honestly, the double standard just kills me!! So her eyes, black NSD's are better and more desirable than white....unbelievable...why does the race card get pulled?"
You got the sense that she thinks that
"...black NSD's are better and more desirable than white..."
???? From THAT???? Seriously????
And by the way, the "race card" gets "pulled" when someone accuses someone else of being racist or using racism. Which is what you guys are doing. So you should ask yourself... and all your friends... why YOU are pulling the race card over this. Not the other way around.
Queen of Section 2 intones:
"It is reversed discrimination. But white people better not complain or they'll be viewed as a white supremacist. "
Uh, maybe you are right... YOU shouldn't be complaining. It says that there will be other Black NSD's there. It doesn't say "White's not welcome".
"chaine2" (who refers to herself as "AA") says it quite nicely:
"...I think it does matter to AA consultants. I was recruited by a lady that was in several MLM's before she got started in MK (she was recruited by an AA national that was recruited by GMB). She confided to me that she didn't like the other MLM's b/c there wasn't a lot of product and/or advertising geared toward AA and also that there weren't a lot of blacks in 'management' positions. She quoted to me that about 20% of the NSD's in MK are black. To an AA that represents a great opportunity to achieve success..."
I severely summarized her comment there, but I think she makes a good point.
Long post, I know (what else is new), but I really want to know what you guys think about all this.
Obviously, racism is not dead. It probably will not be for a long time.
Why (or how) do people find such hate and contempt for other people? (racism question in general)
Was the Japanese ad offensive?
Should people be wasting their time pointing their fingers at this kind of innocuous stuff? The Japanese ad? The "8 hours of power with GMB - and other Black NSD's" concept?
Should I be wasting my time complaining about people that waste their time pointing their fingers at this kind of stuff?