Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is up with this Palm Pre commercial, and is it racist?

Eons ago, Amy B. submitted the following ad for Palm Pre.  She wrote, "I saw this commercial, and though I don't have the chops to dissect it, I KNOW this is not ok.  Asian people as pixels? For a white lady's mp3 player?" 

Years ago, this guy hit on me at a coffee shop by saying, "You know, you are definitely some kind of culture."  To this ad, I say, "You know, you are definitely some kind of ... something."  But I leave it to you, readers, to explain to me what that something is.

Are "ethnic helpers" racist?

Amanda asks us about the curious case of "Asian Helper":

at first i thought it was just racist and now that i think about what i just saw in the grocery store i'm also annoyed because it's kind of semantically out of order too.  look, "hamburger helper" means stuff you add to your hamburger to stretch it into extra servings.  "tuna helper" means stuff you add to your tuna to stretch into extra servings. so is "asian helper" stuff you add to your asian?  oh wait, it does say "chicken" really small between the asian and the helper.  it's like betty crocker had the last minute thought that it might be racist.  eagerly awaiting "mexican helper" which is sure to come out any day now.
I think if Helper is going to go in this direction, it should go whole-heartedly and put the little glove guy in ethnic hats.

Are ads from the sixties...yes, yes they are.

Thanks to Laura for submitting (a long time ago—sorry for the delayed post!) this classic ad for our consideration.  Great Western Invention (spoon) Make Chinese Baby Velly Happy!  Oh, Jello.

Is "Couples Retreat" UK marketing racist?

Both Sheyda and Bernie call our attention to the brouhaha raised over Universal Studios' decision to edit out the black couple from the UK promotional poster of the film "Couples Retreat." 

The Huffington Post reported that "Universal changed 'Couples Retreat' marketing material for the film's UK release, and removed the black actors from both the poster's photo and the list of stars typed out ... The studio said it regretted causing offence and has abandoned plans to use the revised poster in other countries.... A Universal spokesman said the revised advert aimed 'to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognisable in international markets'."

So I guess what the studio is saying is, "We're not racist; international markets are racist."

Does that make it less racist??

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is this makeup racist?

Wendy submits the following find from Sephora:

China Doll Foundation

Napoleon Perdis "China Doll Foundation" is described as "a lightweight, long wearing luxe formula that combines the benefits of a self-setting foundation and powder in one.  Designed for ample playtime before setting to a soft-velvet finish that takes you from perfect to precious."

I have no idea what that last phrase means.

Wendy writes,
Given the name, I was surprised that the packaging is not "Chinese red." It also doesn't use that Chinese take-out carton font, and I'm surprised by the lack of Chinese characters and/or dragons. So is it still racist?
This is an excellent question.  Do things get points for being less racist than one can imagine them being?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is racist praise racist?

Um, yes.  Sheyda sent this story in a while ago, and I'm only now getting around to posting it, but it's still worth doing so.  The Huffington Post reports that two members of the GOP attracted criticism for their suggestion that Senator Jim DeMint watches over money "like a Jew":

The two South Carolina Republican chairmen who compared Sen. Jim DeMint to a penny-watching Jew have apologized for the remark. DeMint himself called it thoughtless and hurtful.

Ulmer, the Orangeburg County chairman, said the remark was "truly in admiration for a method of bettering one's lot in life" and he meant nothing derogatory.

Added Merwin, the Bamberg County chair: "I have always abhorred in the past, and shall continue to do so in the future, anti-Semitism in any form whatsoever. I ... beg that any and all who were offended will accept my deep felt apology."

* * * * *

Two South Carolina County Republican Party chairmen stepped up to rebut criticism of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a newspaper editorial Sunday. But their defense of the senator might be overshadowed by their use of an anti-Semitic stereotype to praise him.

After a Democratic state senator wrote in The State that DeMint didn't bring enough money back home, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer responded that he was just looking after the nation's pennies -- like a Jew would.

"There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," Ulmer and Merwin wrote in a joint letter published by The Times and Democrat. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

"It's people like Ulmer and Merwin that make many folks fear for the future of the once Grand Ole Party," wrote the conservative Palmetto Scoop.

Even if it's coming from a place of "admiration," it's really not okay, guys.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Racist or tacky?

Mariana writes:
is it racist to have a faux prehispanic destination wedding about 500 years AFTER prehispanic people were decimated after mexico was conquered???  or is it just tacky???

It is so hard to go right with destination weddings.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is United first class racist? reports that Armando Alvarez, vice president of Best Buy, had his first class upgrade revoked by a United Airlines agent at the gate because he was wearing a tracksuit:

MyFox Atlanta says that Best Buy vice president Armando Alavarez's first class upgrade was revoked last week, after the gate agent saw he was wearing a Puma running outfit. He said he frequently checks his suits and wears more comfortable clothes for the flight. You can see by the photo or the video clip below that his Puma running outfit was in excellent shape.

For those who don't want to watch the video (are you sure? you'll miss Alvarez talking about his Puma running outfit!), MyFox Atlanta says Alvarez wrote a letter to United to complain about having his upgrade revoked, but he hasn't heard back from them. The network says it contacted their customer service department three times but never heard back, either.

I have a hard time believing someone who looked like Paris Hilton would have faced the same shit.