25 January 2007

Is it just me...

Okay... it may just be me

Sometimes I get real sensitive to racial portrayal in the media. I suppose if you read my last post about looters and scavengers you already know this. But now something else has pushed me hard onto my blog

I wonder if the media does racist stuff deliberately ALL THE TIME, or are there instances of sheer ignorance that bring racism slowly and subtley into the light

What I mean is - are there times when people that control the news and television and movies and advertisement bring across minorities in a bad light and in their hearts they are 100% oblivious to the fact that they have made Blacks [and others] look buffoonish. Are there times when some of these people actually think they are doing something good and they are just innocently missing the mark by leaps and bounds

Okay - here is what is bothering me now. I just saw a commercial for
CISCO Network Services.

In the commercial you see a young Black boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old walking into a kitchen. Then you see a Black man walk towards him with a sophisticated camera cell phone and the man says, "Show me something cool, man." Instantly the boy starts wiggling and dancing and twisting and gyrating. He's what many people would call "Poppin' " So basically he's dancing around his kitchen. Then you see people from all over the world - YES - ALL OVER THE WORLD, rushing to their cell phones, PDA's, computers and laptops to stare in wonderment at this Black kid dancing in his kitchen

Why is the Black kid DANCING? Haven't we moved beyond that yet?

-Why couldn't he have pulled out a blackboard and solved some incredible MATH PROBLEM?
-Why couldn't he have pulled out a canvas and oil paints and started painting a masterpiece?
-Why couldn't he have pulled out some electrical components and made some incredible electronic device?
-Why couldn't he have pulled out a large double helix DNA replica and switched a few things around and said, "I just cured the common cold"

Why did he have to be dancing?

I just think that some companies and the people behind these companies just don't have a clue as to how irresponsible and ignorant they truly are. I bet CISCO didn't set out to make Black people look bad. They probably figured that they were doing something big by building a commercial around a Black kid. They probably never gave ANY consideration to the fact that they made the kid look like a buffoon. Just a smiling, mindless dancing thing. Poor kid.

I bet that no one in CISCO's marketing department even thought of giving him some intelligent dialouge or something truly intelligent and amazing to do on his "telecast" They probably said, "Hey, Black people can dance. Let's just give him some hip music and he can dance! Yeah - THAT'S ORIGINAL

To anyone reading this - if you agree with me, then watch for the signs. Watch for the negative and shallow presentations of minorities around you. Mind you, not all minorities are presented badly in the media, but when you see wrong - send out E-Mails and write letters to these companies. It is the only way we can truly bring racial ignorance and misrepresentation to light!



Gunfighter said...


I guess you won't be surprised when I tell you that this is exactly what I was thinking when I saw that commercial for the first time earlier this week.

While I don't believe that all of the less-than-favorable portrayals of our people in the media are intentional, I am particularly irritated by the "minstrel show" model that we so frequently see.

mark said...

" To anyone reading this - if you agree with me, then watch for the signs. Watch for the negative and shallow presentations of minorities around you. Mind you, not all minorities are presented badly in the media, but when you see wrong - send out E-Mails and write letters to these companies"

Markbey: Very interesting article TBM, I only have this to add if your going go after this companies for thier portrayal of black folks.

Then I also firmly believe that we should go after some of these rappers/record companies/black athletes for the sometimes murderously negative example they are setting for young black males especially.

P.S Flavor Flav is a coon.

Tasha said...

Interesting post. I like you and GF was wondering why the kid had to be dancing when I saw that commercial for the first time. I realize that some of the marketing execs are blissfully oblivious to the innuendo in their advertising, but there's got to be some sort of checks and balance system in place. Someone's got to know that some of the messages they send out are questionable at best.

I know there are a lot of ignorant people like that, but I refuse to believe that entire corporations and entire ad departments, etc are all completely clueless.

Black Chick Thinking said...

I agree with Tasha- there is no way that corporations and such are clueless. Yes, sometimes they are mindless and follow the dollar bill. But they as well as the rest of America follow and glorify these heinous sterotypes. CISCO, seemed as though they have something to prove if they even feel the NEED to center a commercial around a black person. The media has always made these "commercials" about blacks,so not for one second would I ever believe it was "ignorance." Stupidity may be a better adjective.

Anali said...

I like this series of posts on the media. I haven't seen the commercial, but this happens all the time. From a lot of these commercials, you'd think black people are dancing all the time.

And this is why it pains me so much when I see groups of black kids acting foolishly and dancing around in public. On one hand, kids should have the right to have fun, but they also need to know that people are watching and saying to themselves that yes, that is how they act.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hey GUNFIGHTER I'm not surprised at all that you were thinking this same thing. Hey - insightful Brothers think the same way!

"Minstrel Show" is 100% on the mark!!!

MARK I agree absolutely!

I E-Mailed CISCO about this add and I got the standard company fluff in response... we are trying to display a wide range of deverse talents... blah blah blah."

Simply a lack of creative minds in marketing.

Hi TASHA I find it hard to believe that NOBODY in these companies has a clue. Hmmm, maybe its just that the ones that do, don't have the clout to say, "Do ya'll see how wrong this is?"

In my heart, I hope there aren't Blacks on the marketing board that felt this was a great commercial.

If so, it makes me think of the movie "Dancing in September." Have you seen that?


Nice name!

I'm with you! This commercial made me think of that McDonalds commercial from about 18 months ago. The commercial featured a Black couple on an airplane and one of the flight attendants was collecting trash and he tried to take the Black woman's McNuggets. She popped her neck and said, "You better DON'T!"

I was like, "Why?"

"Why do this to my people? We don't talk like this - at least not those of us with any intellegence."

Oh, did I ever send McDonalds a scathing hot letter on this one! Of course they sent me some standard company rhetoric. But I noticed that a week later they had changed that commercial and removed her ignorant dialouge. So, I hope that lots of people complained and they learned their lesson. I believe that they filmed two versions of the commercial and decided to float the worst one first to see if anyone complained.

Hi there Miss ANALI!

I saw this commercial again today as a matter-of-fact.

I agree that our kids should be able to kick back and have a good time, but we know its not that easy unfortunately. As unfair as it sounds, our race is judged by the actions of the few and not the many. In the long run, it is our young people themselves that are going to misunderstood and misjudged by the actions of their peers. Sad.

DJ Black Adam said...

O.K., I feel you on this. As a child, I saw the Mc Donald's commericals they would play during the breaks when watching "Soul Train" and I wondered: "Why is everyone dancing, I don't dance when I order my MC DLT sandwich"?

Sas stuff, different day...

Bronzetrinity said...

I think that they are just oblivious. They probably don't have any black people on their staff to come up with ideas. They want to show diversity in their ads, so they just put up what they thing black people will like, or portray what they think black people are. So they will show us dancing, playing basketball, or rapping. Its because they think thats all we do and thats all we care about. They need some black consultants!
I also agree that Flavor Flav is an embarrassment. I makes me angry that a series can give this guy hours of air time instead of someone inspiring and motivating to our community.

Native Son said...

I have seen this commerical and I am with you. I thought I was being too sensative, but I am so sick and tired of companies thinking that the only way to advertise their products to us, they have to include dancing or when there is a black female in the commerical, she always has to say "girl you know it" "please" "chile (Child)" "girlfriend you know what I'm saying?" McDonalds is so famous for this.

The bigger question adn the root to our frustraton is, what color is the person who is hired to come up with the concepts of this commercials? Are they black or white?

MagnoliaDiva said...

And here I thought it was just me.....I HATE that commercial! It's about as stereotypical as they come.....