Sunday, February 13, 2011

Commercialized Racism?

On Sunday, February 6th Pepsi Max ran a commercial during the Super Bowl that has started a bit of a shit-storm. As I generally enjoy weighing in during shit storms, I’ve decided to chime in on this issue.

The commercial in question involves a wife who is acting out in various negative ways regarding her husband’s bad eating habits. He tries to hide from her to engage in unhealthy eating but she finds him every time. Then he tries to hide in the park to enjoy a can of Pepsi Max and suddenly his wife is at his side, also drinking it. He is surprised to learn that Pepsi Max is “zero calories, maximum taste”. Then a pretty girl jogs up and flirts with him and he smiles back. The wife throws the Pepsi Max at him, but he ducks and it hits the pretty jogger instead, knocking her out. The couple is shocked and they hold hands and slink off together as the wife mumbles an apology at the unconscious jogger. (Note, I would have embedded the video here, but embedding is not allowed on this one, so here is the link to view it if you wish:

When I saw this commercial, the above narrative is how I viewed it. The races of the individuals in this spot were completely irrelevant to my viewing (in fact, once the furor started, I was surprised and I even viewed the commercial again so I could see the races of the people involved, as I hadn’t even really NOTICED the first time through).

But there is now a “petition” going around which is urging people to “boycott Pepsi” because of the “racist” ad that they ran, ( and PepsiCo was even condemned from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee…

Like the furor over editing the “N-word” out of the Mark Twain classic, ( I feel that this is political correctness run amok.  This commercial wasn’t about an “angry black woman” it was about a woman who happened to be black, getting angry at her husband for smiling at a flirtatious pretty girl.  It would have been just as funny had the races been reversed.  I honestly fail to see the point in making this huge deal out of it other than calling attention to the hypersensitivity which is, in my opinion, a contributing factor to us NOT being able to move past the racial issue in this country.  To me, the ideal is for race to be completely irrelevant, an individual's race not even a consideration...not this hypersensitivity that we're currently experiencing.

If leaders of the African American community want to make a stink about injustice, there’s plenty of REAL injustice for them to rail against, like the lack of jobs and education in the inner-city African American communities, like the wealth disparity that is destroying the middle-class in this country, like the fact that “experts” are saying that in order to fix our nation’s fiscal crisis the “American people need to know that cuts in entitlements are necessary” rather than making the billionaires pay a larger percentage of their obscene fortunes.  The serious problems in this country are NOT about “black and white” anymore…they’re about “rich and poor” and the “black/white” fight is really just a distraction to keep the working class separated and fighting amongst keep our focus off the oligarchs that are our true (common) enemy.

I’m getting SO sick of smoke and mirrors.

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