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PSP Ad Draws Charges of Racism 537 537

Lord Kano writes "The Guardian Unlimited is reporting that a new Sony ad for the upcoming white PSP has caused an uproar because of claims that it carries racist overtones. The ad depicts a white woman, clad all in white, grabbing the face of a black model in a dominating pose." From the article: "It's questionable whether the world is ready to explore themes of race and domination in the context of a videogame console ad. Although not as wilfully controversial as Benetton's infamous 'United Colours' campaign, many viewers will be unwilling or unable to decode the imagery until it becomes about two different colours of plastic." What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?
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PSP Ad Draws Charges of Racism

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:06AM (#15674988) Journal
    Importantly perhaps, the ads are for the European release of the white PSP and are appearing on billboards in Amsterdam rather than in the US where racial tension remains a fraught issue.
    So if an ad has racist tones it's ok for a company to post it in a country that doesn't have racial problems? I wouldn't really appreciate a company that does that.

    I like how a Keith Stuart (a games blogger from the UK Guardian) can comment on the state of racial tension in two countries he doesn't live in.

    In America, it's called "racism." In Europe, it's just people trying to protect their culture. To me, it's called "ignorance." Ignorance is everywhere no matter how hard we try to eradicate it.

    America's quick to cry foul play because of our recent history, yes. It's seen as very important to be equal opportunity here. Do I walk down the street and feel conscience of other people's skin color? No. Some people in America still might but it's only due to their ignorance. I've only seen someone oppressed once because of their skin color and it was because I was in Alabama for a wedding and my Indian friend was rubbing someone wrong at a bar.

    Why is Turkey having a hard time joining the EU? Hmmmm? One of the reasons cited is fear of mass immigration to the UK or Germany for work. There have already been two waves to Germany that upset the locals [wsws.org].
  • by BBlinkk (985908) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:10AM (#15675011)
    All they had to do was buy one billboard, now everyone in America knows about the racist ad, oh and they know about the white psp too. These guys really know how to get the bang for the buck in advertising.
  • by SourceVisigoth (141614) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:10AM (#15675015) Homepage
    >What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?

    I think it worked. We are discussing the PSP now and talking about an ad most people here wouldn't know about if it weren't so 'controversial'.

  • by Manip (656104) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:11AM (#15675020)
    What the heck are you going on about?! ...

    The ad isn't racist, nor are the people looking at it. The ONLY people that seem to be racist are the hyper-sensitive Americans looking at the ad and applying their own screwed up values to it.

    The above comment is a perfect example of that.
  • Get over it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gasmonso (929871) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:12AM (#15675029) Homepage

    If the media would stop magnifying everything different between blacks and white, then this crap wouldn't be perpetuated. Black, white, who gives a shit. Just enjoy the ad for what it is... it's cool. I don't believe that the creators want to string up blacks and start slavery. This is just ridiculous. Move on with your lives people.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:12AM (#15675035) Journal
    I'm sure Sony know's what it's doing. Get people talking about the PSP, doesn't it? Besides, how many people aren't going to buy a PSP because they're offended by this? I highly doubt the thin-skinned politically correct crowd is much into gaming anyway. Still, I'm not sure what the appeal of a white handheld is. I'd be much more inclined to buy the black version if it was the same price. I don't know why, but I find black a much more asthetically pleasing color for my hardware than silver or white.
  • In the US (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linvir (970218) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:16AM (#15675066)
    new billboard advert for Sony's white PSP has caused consternation across the US videogaming community.

    A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohammed in European newspapers.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:17AM (#15675078)

    Yes, it deliberately uses the contrast of the women's races as a metaphor for the difference between the available colours of the PSP. And yes, the white woman is acting aggressively towards the black woman.

    But acknowledging their races, even pointing it out deliberately and using it as a marketing gimmick, is a long way from racism. It's not as if people are supposed to walk away from that ad thinking that the white PSP is better because it's associated with white people. It's not using stereotypes or ridiculing the black woman in any way. It's just saying "hey, here comes the white PSP and it's going to take the world by storm, and here's a picture to grab your attention". With, of course, the added bonus that it gets lots of media attention for causing controversy.

    Not everything involving race is racist. Too many people forget this and seem to want to make race a taboo subject. That's ignorant in itself.

  • I agree. If you think about racism, you'll find the ad. racist. If you don't give a damn about skin color, the ad is just the representation of PSP colors.
  • facinates me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:20AM (#15675099) Homepage
    This ties in with a discussion I had with a friend recently (you know a discussion is going to be interesting when it starts with the question "do you have any interest in BDSM?"). Anyway....

    I think the racisim here is in the minds of the watchers. Would this be racist if it was a black woman and a white man? Would it then be sexist if it was a white man grabbing a white woman? In a full on dom/sub relationship it makes sense for the sub to do the dishes and house work and other such things, so if the sub is a woman, that fits with the "standard sexist gender roles" right? What about a master slave relationship? Is it somehow bad for a black woman to want to be the slave to a white master?

    Whats worst, a black person being a willing slave to a white person, or trying to tell that same black person what they can and can't do in the confines of their life and sexuality?

    This is all silly. The knee-jerk racism reaction is ridiculous. Isn't the whole goal of tolerance and antiracism to teach us to see people as people rather than black people and white people? Black people have as much right to be submissive as a white person if thats what they want!

    -Steve
  • by CFTM (513264) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:22AM (#15675116)
    I haven't read the article but last time I checked Europe is not immune to racism...except they put a shiny veneer on it and call it "hooliganism". No fan would get away with throwing bananas on a baseball field or football field; FIFA had to the use the threat of penality points being awarded to prevent ramapant nationalism.

    Racism, as the parent states, is an issue of ignorance and no country is immune.
  • by paradigmdream (915171) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:26AM (#15675141) Homepage
    americans are way too sensitive to racism these days
  • by Otter (3800) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:27AM (#15675144) Journal
    ...now everyone in America knows about the racist ad...

    The Guardian piece emphasizes some nebulous connection to "the US videogaming community", but this is a Dutch campaign and the ads are limited to the Netherlands. No way would a campaign like this be run in the US.

  • Re:In the US (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:31AM (#15675189)

    A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohammed in European newspapers.

    Except that I do not see people in the US calling for Europeans to be beheaded, nor calls by the US government for other governments to censor the ads. The thing that made the Mohammed Cartoons issue so notorious was the fact that it went beyond simply outrage and went into threats of violence and censorship.

    That aside; I'm willing to bet that some people at Sony are smoking cigars and sipping brandy right now. I'm sure that ad will generates tons of PSP sales, on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • What do I think (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thefirelane (586885) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:33AM (#15675203)
    What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?

    I think thousands of people now know PSP is coming in white... mission accomplished. If you don't like the ad, don't talk about it.
  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:33AM (#15675208) Homepage
    Um let's look at this one....
    Current PSP comes in black only....
    New white PSP is coming out....
    Sex sells .....
    Attitude sells ...
    Lets mix black, white, sex, and attitude in one commercial ...
    Instant racism. Now that's synergy of ideas working for you.
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:35AM (#15675227) Homepage
    Am I the only one who thinks the ad is just plain stupid looking? I don't get how that conveys "white PSPs are coming". Mostly it just looks like some bad soft-BDSM.

    Tom
  • by astrashe (7452) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:36AM (#15675244) Journal
    I'm not saying that this should be censored. It shouldn't.

    But this feels like trolling -- deliberately saying or doing something controversial, to draw attention. And trolling is lame.

    If they choose to open this door -- to associate an electronic device that has nothing to do with race with all of this ugly history, just to be titilating -- then they deserve whatever they get.
  • by sg3000 (87992) * <sg_public@m a c .com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:39AM (#15675273)
    > the success of an add is whether or not it propts you do buy the product

    Ad success is partially determined by whether it sticks in your head or not. Oftentimes it's too hard to determine if a particular ad resulted in a sale. This is because there's a time lag between when you see the ad and when you purchase. So they usually measure ad effectiveness by your ability to recall the ad after varying periods of time. So if you remember the ad two weeks from now, then they'll call it a success.

    However, the ultimate purpose of all advertisements is to make you have a favorable attitude towards a product or service. So a particular advertisement, even if it's offensive, can be a success if it gets your attention, but you eventually forget about the offensive ad but remember the product in a good way.

    However, it's been found that if you don't like an ad, you will associate negative feelings towards the product. Thus, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

    The other spots put the ad in context, but I suspect they were created just for the purpose of having plausible deniability -- "Hey, we're not being racist! Look at the other spots [that you wouldn't have noticed before if we hadn't had the offensive version shown first]". However, I don't their intention was to be racist, but rather to be controversial (like the old Benetton ads). Sony was hoping to get tons of inevitable publicity from a racist ad, but they had the other two produced to shield themselves from the inevitable fall out.

    It's important to remember that any major corporation (or political entity, for that matter) carefully scrutinizes every single element that goes into an ad photo. They hire psychologists for the sole purpose of this.

    Like the old Simpsons episode, if you want advertisements to go away, stop paying attention. Just don't look.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Del comic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DesireCampbell (923687) <desire.c@gmail.com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:39AM (#15675281) Homepage
    http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/?t=archives&date= 2005-02-05#1153 [ctrlaltdel-online.com] Tim Absath says it quite well, here's an excert:
    No one is offended that the billboard suggests a precursor to violence. No one is offended that it's two women involved in violence. If it had been two white women, one in a white suit, one in a black suit, nobody would say a thing. Furthermore, nobody has said word one about the version of the ad where the black woman is dominating the white woman. And I'm willing to bet that if that image had been on the billboard instead, nobody would have said a thing. At least not publicly. So ask yourself, honestly, why it's offensive to you. Because the billboard doesn't depict slavery. Not in the slightest. If the black woman was picking cotton, and the white woman was standing over her with a whip, then hell yes it would be offensive. But it's just two people squaring off, and one of them has the upper hand. So why does it matter to you which one that is? Because if we really want to reach the level of equality in our society that we all say we do, we need to stop dwelling on the past. Slavery is abolished. Has been for a good long time. Not a single one of us Americans owned slaves, or was a slave. It was a horrible period in time, but it's over. Being oversensitive about things like this billboard is what's keeping this racial tension alive. If you ask yourself honestly, you may find that you don't actually think the billboard is offensive, but that you've just been taught it's offensive. Stop making race a big deal, and race stops being a big deal.
    I repeat: "Stop making race a big deal, and race stops being a big deal."
  • by andrewman327 (635952) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:42AM (#15675311) Homepage Journal
    First slavery, now a white PSP!


    For what it's worth, I respect the fact that there is racism in the world, but some battles are not worth fighting. I do not think that this ad campaign is going to make people suddenly think less of blacks.

  • Re:facinates me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whereiseljefe (753425) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:45AM (#15675340) Homepage

    This is all silly. The knee-jerk racism reaction is ridiculous. Isn't the whole goal of tolerance and antiracism to teach us to see people as people rather than black people and white people? Black people have as much right to be submissive as a white person if thats what they want!

    I guess if you lived in Meriam-Webster's world, yeah, but in todays world, thanks to the Bleeding Hearts and the Religious Right, tolerance and antiracism means treat me special because I'm different (to make amends for when I was treated differently [read: special] in the past).

    Remember, everyone wants a free handout and these people that infiltrate our society (everyone's society, the Americans, le French, zee Germans, etc) won't let such a trivial thing like logic and reason stand in their way.

    I think the best way to describe the situation in America is not an attempt at tolerance and anti-racism, its more preferential treatment and reverse-racism (when I had better grades and more extra curriculars than a hispanic, but said hispanic gets the multi-thousand dollar scholarship and I get nothing, how is this tolerance and merit-based?)

  • by skinfitz (564041) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:50AM (#15675401) Journal
    They are linking the colours of the PSP to race therefore it's technically racist; equally regarding both skin colours involved (see how I got my point across without using the W or B words?).

    Sony will obviously be aware of this, which is why they have done it. The simple fact is that I have seen that advert now, which has made me think about a PSP and the fact there must be a white model coming (meaning there must be a black model already out) and I would probably never have seen that advert.

    It's called 'marketing'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:51AM (#15675407)
    There are many people of other races who are racist against whites and are violent about it. As a skinny geek, I was apparently a prime target as someone to attack in racially motivated violence. That goes for both when I was at an integrated school located in a black ghetto and when I was living in Hawaii.

    Maybe in your little border town in Canada you haven't seen such things, but if you go to the "wrong part" of Toronto, you may be in for a quick and painful education... but at least you will have free medical care to get you fixed back up ;)
  • Re:Get over it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digidave (259925) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:53AM (#15675425)
    The media is run by people and people are affected by their own bias. Somebody with no previous knowledge of racism would not think that this ad is promoting white supremacy in any way (especially after they see the other ads).

    People looking for racist overtones will see them everywhere. A black co-worker at my last job complained about police racism everytime he got pulled over (not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, drunk driving, etc) even though he deserved to be stopped. He was convinced that the reason he was stopped so often was because he was black while I have never been stopped because I am white. Nevermind the fact that he was a terrible driver who regularly broke traffic laws.

    In the case of the Sony ads people are seeing one instance of a white woman being agressive towards a black woman and assuming there is deep anti-black meaning behind it. Really, Sony's ad firm was trying to create a black vs. white ad campaign about the color of the PSP and used white and black people to help convey that message.

    The real racists are the people who continually add to the problem by accusing people and companies of racism. They're the ones who can't handle the fact that people come in different colors and that those colors can be used for visual effect in movies, tv and ads. (Just look at how Snipes' black skin and clothes are used in Blade).
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:55AM (#15675444) Homepage
    Black woman over white woman?
    RACISM!
    Oh wait, it's only racism if it's the other way around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:56AM (#15675448)
    LOL ... Hey, sheltered white suburbanite. I know a few neighborhoods I can drop you off in broad daylight no less, where you can hone in you're "colour" blind vision of society.
     
      PS ... BNP are gaining popularity for a reason
  • by (A)*(B)!0_- (888552) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:56AM (#15675451)
    "How does ignoring the color of someones skin make me a fool? Seriously, the reply to this should be priceless..."
    Because there are cultural differences between races of people. Instead of taking a Pollyanna view that we're all the same, understand that a person's race does affect how they see the world and their place in it.
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:56AM (#15675454)
    Well, as an American born and raised to 8 in Illinois, grew up to 15 in Texas, and attended college in Ohio (Cinninati race riots POV.) I can tell you that where you live makes a huge difference in your perceptions of racism. Personally, I don't think we should lighten up; you should get serious. Racism does not occure in a vacuum; it's like a coal fire of hatred in the hearts of men (and women.) Some of the smallest sparks can smoulder for years after it seems to be put out and the more embers you pile on; the greater the chance to rekindle the violent flames of hatred.

    There may be more than one image to this campaign, but it doesn't matter which is being percieved; the message is the same: White vs. Black (on the PSP) and I for one don't like it one bit.
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cocoa Radix (983980) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:09AM (#15675560) Homepage

    You had to know that this would happen, though. If every single one of Sony's advertisements depicted a black woman dominating over a white woman, nobody would say a damned thing. As soon as ONE ad pops up showing the white woman in the domaninant position, well, then it would be considered absolutely outrageous.

    I'm sorry, but in the United States, slavery and apartheid of black people ended on a national level a long time ago. Of course there will be individuals who are still racist; that will always be the case, I'm sure. But enough is enough already. Just drop it, PLEASE. And that's not a message just toward cold blacks, that's toward the cold whites, too, damn it.

    Honestly, look at how racial diversity is crammed into everything. You almost never see an advertisement that doesn't include a black person or an asian person right up there with white people.

    In my humble opinion, the glorification of the black community is racist in and of itself. Take black history month, for example. A whole month devoted to the accomplishments of blacks. What is this telling us? That we need somebody to show us the accomplishments that blacks have made, lest they go unrecognized? Or that if we know about the greatness of an accomplishment, we'd damn well better know about the color of the skin of the person who achieved said accomplishment, given, of course, that the color of their skin is black. There's no white history month, is there? White entertainment television?

    And affirmative action is the worst, by far. Take scholarships granted to a college student just for being black. "Oh, he's black, the poor thing; we should give him extra money because he's black." is exactly the message that affirmative action sends to me. That a black person is helpless and stupid and should be greatly rewarded for making it to college, an institutional concept that sees millions of new people each year. How is that not the most extremely fucking racist thing you've ever heard?

    Mod me down, if you're offended; I don't even care, because I'm fed up with this whole racism thing.

  • by ianscot (591483) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:11AM (#15675564)

    But this feels like trolling -- deliberately saying or doing something controversial, to draw attention.

    Oh, absolutely, this is a troll. All ads try to draw attention; this one tries to do it by shocking the viewer.

    The gaming industry probably is due for an explosion of ads. It makes a lot of money, and yet the commercials I see very occasionally are running on kids' shows in the afternoon or something. If Nintendo's really trying to blow the market open and appeal to something beyond the usual gaming market, you'd think they'd want to run some prime time ads.

    This is also, like beer, one of the industries that can be free wheeling with its ad strategies. Airlines can't advertise with much humor or self-deprecation without taking a big risk, so you get classy commercials -- "Rhapsody in Blue" and that United livery airliner backlit by the sun, you know? Whereas beer can be funny in offhand, goofy ways and take some risks.

    I betcha we get more of this style of ad. This one is past what the U.S. would tolerate, but trolls, as John Dvorak or any sports columnist can tell you, get the eyeballs. They work.

  • by visionsofmcskill (556169) <`moc.pmteg' `ta' `noisiv'> on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:13AM (#15675590) Homepage Journal
    Is the ad potentially racist?

    yes.

    However racism depends on sevreal factors for recognition, to someone insulated or otherwise un-exposed to a diversity of cultures on a personal and frequent basis such an ad would be unlikely to convey any racist undertones to them.

    Racism greatly depends upon historical perspective. Without a history of oppression or ill-will surrounding race semi-fresh in the minds of the viewers it would be very difficult for any given imagery or prose to evoke such a moniker.

    However, in the ad we have a white woman all decked out in white mencing a black woman in black, attached with "white is comming" as a slogan. Intentional or not, satire or not, literal or not, product advertising or not... it carries obvious racial unertones.. even if its creators have no recist intentions, it is almost blatantly made in a manner delibratly based upon racial issues or at the minimum a HUGE leap of total ingnorance to the world we live in.

    Of course the intentions are all the more obvious by the markets they have decided to place it in, as the non-US release clearly indicates they knew just how the US (with a much more diverse population, and more open race relations issues) would react.

    Bottom line is, the ad puts a black person in a position of total infiriority to a white person, with a tag line that emphasizes that aspect.

    Its inflamatory at best.

    As a note of intrest there are the other two images, which "balence it out"...
        * White woman over black woman.
        * Black woman over white woman.
        * White woman and black woman on equal footing

    But of course this is pointless, the other two images have little to no relevancy in the worlds current climate of race relations. (of course if we had a succeeding couple hundred years of black oppression of the masses, and subsequent social revolution... the situation would likely be just as inflamatory in the opposite direction).

    The real issue here, is such an advert reinforces negative stereotypes and relationships in our still healing society. While subtle it would serve to influence our children giving them (children of all races) cause to somehow believe just a "tiny" bit more in white supiriority, seeding racists, low self esteem, etc...

    Until the rifts between under-represented and marginalized minorities and the power wielding majority (still overwhelmingly white - and largely male) are diminished, such forms of "advertising" will remain bad mojo.

  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:19AM (#15675641) Journal
    Yes but here I am in the USA and now I've seen the ad and know that white PSPs are on the horizon.
    Sony reached this American, plus a number of others I'm sure, and didn't spend a cent.

    I beleive that is the point the GPP is trying to make.

  • Slavery (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann@slashdot.gmail@com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:19AM (#15675643) Homepage Journal
    Black woman over white woman? RACISM! Oh wait, it's only racism if it's the other way around.

    That's because black people haven't used white people as SLAVES. It's not about racism per-se, it's evoking the memory of slavery and humilliation of black people in the past centuries.
  • Re:Slavery (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:32AM (#15675772)
    If they had the chance, the blacks would have enslaved the whites. In fact, in Africa, blacks enslaved other blacks.

    Race-neutral whites today have nothing to feel guilty about. Only a fool liberal goes around apologizing for his ancestors.
  • Re:Slavery (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grommit (97148) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:32AM (#15675773)
    I'm pretty sure the number of black people who are still alive that have been (or still are unfortunately) slaves to a white person are very small nowadays. Even their children who have heard first hand accounts are probably low in numbers as well.
  • by Gingernads (831161) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:40AM (#15675843)
    So Spy vs Spy, draughts, chess, or a Pint of Guinness (white on top) are actually a metaphor for conflict between races? I feel so guilty for enjoying these things now. I'm going to go and kick some shame into myself very hard. This whole attitude that anything represented by black and white must have racial meaning is just ridiculous.
    As a child, I had a genuine childrens book called 'The Little Black Sambo' about a small boy who lived in the jungle with his parents and made butter from a tiger. Now THAT is offensive and racist.
    Why would any multinational be interested in alienating a huge market by offending them with advertising?
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:41AM (#15675853)
    And affirmative action is the worst, by far. Take scholarships granted to a college student just for being black. "Oh, he's black, the poor thing; we should give him extra money because he's black." is exactly the message that affirmative action sends to me. That a black person is helpless and stupid and should be greatly rewarded for making it to college, an institutional concept that sees millions of new people each year. How is that not the most extremely fucking racist thing you've ever heard?


    How about: "Here's someone that had to face an educational disadvantage growing up because: their great grandparents were forbidden by law from owning property or passing it on to their kids, causing this person's grandparents to work crappy jobs rather than go to school, causing them to be too busy and ill prepared to participate this person's parents education, causing them to be too busy and ill prepared to assist in this person's education. In order to stop this cycle, let's give this person a chance to get educated. Additionally, because of institutional racism, historical racism in education, and the first problem of parents not being able to assist in their kid's education, a large number of people of the same race as this person were poorly educated for generations -- which only fed the stereotypes. Educating this person will reduce that problem as well."
  • by Tungbo (183321) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:42AM (#15675859)
    "Honestly, look at how racial diversity is crammed into everything. You almost never see an advertisement that doesn't include a black person or an asian person right up there with white people."

    Let's see here:
      - How many female, non white in congress ?
      - Any female or non white President yet ? don't think so.
      - How many fortune 500 CEOs are female or nonwhite ?
      - How many major metropolitan media are owned by female, nonwhites ?
      - How many females in the Supreme court ? or lower court?
      - How many nonwhites is anchoring for a major news network?

    Stop belly aching - racial attitudes are real and still persists.
    They are perhaps not overt, but still present.

    Check out the site below for some glass ceiling charts based on EEOC data:
        http://www.80-20educationalfoundation.org/glasscei ling.html [80-20educa...dation.org]

    Travel to a country like Brazil where centuries of mixing have
    produced a wide range of skin colour and you will feel a very different
    attitude. It's not better, just different.
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Se7enLC (714730) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:49AM (#15675925) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't call the 1960s a long time ago, There are still plenty of people alive now who were alive then.

    But I agree. They need to make a distinction between real racism and just racial differences. Black people have black skin and white people have white skin. No amount of magical anti-racism laws will change that. The ads aren't racist at all. The point of using a black and white woman was to show the difference between the black and white PSP, not slavery roles! They probably made sure they used women just for the purpose of trying to prevent that imagery from showing up (since of course it is the Man who was the slave and slaveowner). Does that make it sexist?

    As for affirmative action, I put that into the "Do you want EQUAL rights or EXTRA rights?" I lump woman's rights into the same thing. really any group that thinks they aren't being treated fairly. There should not be a law for any group giving them MORE rights than others, just laws preventing their rights from being taken. Quotas and scholarships for minorities are really just punishing the student who does not have the "advantage" of being a minority as well as putting the school or workplace at a disadvantage by requiring them to hire/accept based on race and not qualifications (If you are required to hire 10% minorities, what of only 5% of your qualified applicants are minority?) Race should be IGNORED in the application process, not corrected for.
  • Re:Slavery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian (66383) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:50AM (#15675933)
    There's a point at which we're keeping the wound from healing because we keep picking at the scab every time it itches.

    As long as we let slavery control our thinking in any way by doing things like playing the slave card every time a racial issue comes up, we'll never escape its legacy. You can keep evoking the memory of slavery in your own mind all you want - and I hope you have fun dwelling in the ugly past. If you need me I'll be in the better future.
  • Re:Slavery (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:19PM (#15676211)
    Indeed. I personally have never had any slaves or treated anyone differently because of their race. I'll certainly not be held accountable for something terrible which I could have in no way prevented (because it happened before I was born).
  • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:27PM (#15676310) Journal
    I agree. If you think about racism, you'll find the ad. racist. If you don't give a damn about skin color, the ad is just the representation of PSP colors.

    I believe you are correct, but I don't agree with what you were getting at.

    I lot of people have to think about racism, whether they want to or not. So they are going to be more sensitive about stuff like that. If you live your life in a place where there is no, or little racism. The ad probably won't offend you.

    But if racism is something you have to deal with on occasion, then you will be on your guard, and sometimes over react.

  • by GozzoMan (808286) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:46PM (#15676497)
    Because there are cultural differences between races of people.
    No, there are cultural differences between different cultures, "race" doesn't play any major role in it.

    Instead of taking a Pollyanna view that we're all the same, understand that a person's race does affect how they see the world and their place in it.
    I agree that we're not all the same, but the whole point is that "race" is a very poor indicator for these differences.

    All people are different. Assuming something about a particular person basing on her "race" is exactly what racism is all about.
  • Re:Slavery (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:46PM (#15676502)
    I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that a very large portion of white people in the US are born from poor ass sharecropping families who came here long after the civil war and do indeed have nothing to be apologetic for.

    (Especially those of us of a more Celtic decent, considering we were enslaved by Rome and others for far longer than American slavery existed.)
  • by dangermouse (2242) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:59PM (#15676649) Homepage
    I have bad news.

    People in the United States, particularly in certain parts of the United States, have to think about racism even if they are not themselves racists. A lot of people act as though racism is a thing of the distant past, simply because slavery was outlawed so long ago. But parts of this country still had institutionalized racism not forty years ago. People who experienced that are still alive, and their children certainly know all about it, and they still feel the effects economically, socially, and emotionally. And of course, there's still a marginal but not insignificant number of racists floating around, poking at wounds that haven't had time to heal yet; and there are people who exploit and exacerbate that emotion in order to gain and hold power within their community.

    Some people will tell you that everyone needs to just get over it, that whites need not apologize for the actions of their ancestors or walk on eggshells to avoid giving offense. Those people don't get it. It's not over yet, not by a long shot. It's going to take a few generations for the emotional aspects of the memory to fade, and probably longer to right the social and economic wrongs that were done. In the meantime, a certain degree of sensitivity can only help.

    So when some of us look at an advertisement that depicts a white person subjugating a black person, it's not so much a question of the ad itself being racist. In the context of its intent, it is clearly not. In the greater context of the time and society from which some of us observe that ad, its connotations are abrasive. Does this mean the ad in question is inappropriate? Not necessarily. It didn't run in the United States. Maybe in the Netherlands the social context is different, and those abrasive connotations are simply not there. I certainly hope that is the case. Regardless, your accusation of racism on (for instance) my part is misplaced.

  • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:06PM (#15676726) Homepage
    I don't think the question is "will it make people think less of blacks?" but "do blacks who see the add find it insulting?"
  • Re:Slavery (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hex0016 (758203) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:07PM (#15676736)
    Mod the parent up, please. Not to diminish the sad history of the African slave trade, but just about every immigrant group has been treated horribly in the past. My family is mostly Irish. The people who ran the coal mines in Carbon County here in Pennsylvania, as well as most of Appalachia not only paid their workers a pittance, they sold the miners their equipment, pretty much making it so that they could barely afford the necessities. See this article on the Molly Maguires [wikipedia.org] for some background, and the movie The Molly Maguires [wikipedia.org] for the Hollywood version.
  • by vought (160908) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:23PM (#15676892)
    I agree. If you think about racism, you'll find the ad. racist. If you don't give a damn about skin color, the ad is just the representation of PSP colors.

    You're not black, are you?

    Neither am I for the record, but I grew up in the American south, where (gasp!) white people gathered together still occasionally and breathily refer to blacks as ni**er, spook, spade, and lots of other extremely creative names.

    During my time in Baton Rouge this year, I overheard (in racist hotspots like Outback steakhouse and a Shell gas station on the Interstate) wonderful things like "too bad so many of them got out of New Orleans - now they're stinking up Baton Rouge" and "If a hurricane hits the Baton Rouge this year, does that mean all the [blacks] will go back to New Orleans?

    In light of the fact that yes, people actually still think this way, and that Son'y ads portray black and white models fighting simply because they are black and white , then I think it's justified to criticize this ad campaign, and heavily.

    Hate groups and extremists like Michelle Malkin love to pretend that pointing out racism is racist in itself - because, the argument goes - "you must have racist tendencies to recognize them in others' speech or behavior".

    Ask yourself how much sense that makes. Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A racist because he tried to eliminate racism against blacks? Is the Southern Poverty Law Center racist because it seeks out racists and discriminatory behavior?

    Pointing out the obvious domination/submission aspects of an ad that highlights two races historically embroiled in conflict over race itself is not racist. And pointing out Sony's extremely stupid "piss everyone off with spray paint ads and white/black fighting" is elementary.
  • by authority69 (747949) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:24PM (#15676903)
    Looking at skin color cannot tell me anything about a person's culture. In fact, looking at skin color cannot tell me anything about that person except the level of melatonin in their skin, which really isn't useful at all. My skin has very little melatonin. What's my culture? Russian? German? French? American? Spanish? Canadian? African? Mid-Eastern? You could make a better guess based on my IP address than skin color.

    And last time I checked, there was only one race, Human.

    Skin color is not not a useful attribute or statistic. Perpetuating the myth that skin color matters only breeds more racism. Its counter-productive to say that skin color doesn't matter but then use it to categorize people. I loved it when Morgan Freeman came out against "Black History Month" [msn.com] here in the US. He's absolutely right when he says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it." "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.

    You want to differentiate based on culture? Go ahead. But don't assume that culture and skin color are the same thing.
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Atzanteol (99067) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:28PM (#15676944) Homepage
    There are two very big problems with what you've just written:

    • Not all minorities faced that situation
    • Some whites have faced that situation
    The problem with Affirmative Action is that it declares things based on race, not opportunities lost. That is the very *definition* of racism BTW. Frankly I wouldn't mind at all if a portion of scholarships went to folks who were *poor* regardless of race. Affirmative action assumes that all minorities are disadvantaged, and is very insulting. But it's racism "for your own good" so it will never end...
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    - C.S. Lewis
  • by buswolley (591500) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:41PM (#15677103) Journal
    How simplistic is your viewpoint. Racist thoughts are both explicit and implicit.

    On psychological tests, people who explicitly deny racist attitudes will still implicitly associate words like evil, danger, and thief with pictures of black males more quickly than with pictures of white males.

    Humans are built to recognize group markers that signify inclusion or exclusion. We use representative heuristics to efficiently make implicit judgements about our world.

    While explicit racism has declined, implicit racism is the harder foe. Also, it may be likely that implicit racism cannot be truly conquered..It may tranform though..into using other sets of group markers to segregate socio-economic groups.

  • by vought (160908) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:41PM (#15677111)
    But nobody says anything about the picture where the black is dominating the white. Why is that not racist? Or is racism only when the black is the one being dominated?

    Because blacks dominating whites and treating them unfairly is not a problem in the world today, and with few smll scale exceptions, has never been a problem in modern civilization - certainly not nearly on the level of whites treating blacks unfairly in an institutionalized manner, notably a problem here in the U.S. and in South Africa within the past few years.

    Racism in my country is borne from the class status of one race being used as power over another race, and that behavior continues today in many forms. The ad featuring a white woman dominating a black woman highlights this friction and has been interpreted as offensive to some people. Yes, it's a problem. No, pointing it out doesn't "remind" anyone that there's racism, except for an ignorant few who seem to think racism isn't a problem anymore because they can't go out and buy a slave.

  • Re:Slavery (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jc42 (318812) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:18PM (#15677622) Homepage Journal
    As long as we let slavery control our thinking in any way by doing things like playing the slave card every time a racial issue comes up, we'll never escape its legacy.

    Some of us don't want to escape the legacy of slavery; we want to end it. And that can't be done by suppressing the memory. The only way is to constantly keep bringing it up, until humanity institutes some way of finally ending it. So far, there is little sign of this happening, so we still need frequent reminders.

    There is slavery all over the world right now, including in the US. Just passing laws and saying we've solved the problem simply hasn't worked; it only drives such things underground. And when we're not watching, someone reinvents slavery under some new name. If we are serious about wanting to end such practices, we should be exposing and publicizing all the instances we can find.

    Of course, this particular ad campaign is a bit of a silly example. But it does tell us that a lot of people are aware of the history and are sensitive to the topic. To anyone seriously interested in ending such atrocities, this is a good sign. And that we can laugh at it while being appalled is also a good sign.

  • by Impotent_Emperor (681409) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:29PM (#15677784)
    Given the French Riots last fall, I believe there still are plenty of ethnic divisions among the old citizens and the new immigrants in Europe.

    And I think "buy American" has less to do with nationalism than overpaid union members. They were complaining about Japanese auto manufacturers until Honda and Toyota started opening factories in the U.S.

  • Context (Score:3, Insightful)

    by servognome (738846) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:45PM (#15678022)
    The ad isn't racist, nor are the people looking at it. The ONLY people that seem to be racist are the hyper-sensitive Americans looking at the ad and applying their own screwed up values to it.

    I see the ad as potentially racist, while I personally I don't see racism. The ad provides insufficient context, which leaves it to the individual viewer to create context. Those who have experienced racism, or have been consistantly exposed to the images of racism may fill in different context than somebody who has not experienced such things. People in the US can accept the images of a black player hitting a white player, or vice versa, in the sports arena because there is context, ethnic identity is trumped by team identity in the mind of the viewer.
    I'm sure the image of a white man standing with his foot on the back of a prone middle eastern man would evoke responses in certain communities.
    People in different parts of the world with different histories can look at the same image and interpret it differently.
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LGagnon (762015) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:02PM (#15678231)
    First of all, don't push the old myth that affirmative action involves quotas. Quotas are illegal in the US, and are never used for affirmative action. Take the time to look up how it actually works. Second of all, you are forgetting that the US still has a huge racism problem. We need affirmative action because minorities are still unfairly excluded from jobs. Maybe you haven't experienced it yourself, but if you're white then you likely never will.
  • by Loundry (4143) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:17PM (#15678386) Journal
    You aren't kidding. Being from around Cleveland, every time I've gone to Cinncinati I've been struck by how it seemed like it was part of the deep south, rather than another city in the same northern state. The differences in racism/racial-tension is increadable.

    Being from the Deep South, I often wish that people would understand that:

    1. The Deep South isn't nearly as racist as the New York / West Coast media loves to depict it. (It also isn't as inbred, uneducated, violent, redneck, and unsophisticated).

    2. There are many places that are NOT in the Deep South which are just as racist as the way the Deep South is depicted, as you have demonstrated here.

    I would honestly love to be able to talk about race relations where I live (Atlanta area), because the situation is quite a bit more complex and interesting than most non-Southerners think it is. But I don't think non-Southerners are generally interested in my point of view. In general, I think non-Southerners are quite content to think of me in terms of those horrible stereotypes that I've heard all my life, and a more nuanced discussion is light-years away from their realm of interest.
  • by SheeEttin (899897) <sheeettin@gmail . c om> on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:25PM (#15679016) Homepage
    Ouch, I'm rather late on this, but...

    Has anyone asked a black person how they feel on this? As far as I know, the only people who get agitated over racism are white. I don't know any black people that would consider this racist (especially since there's two more ads, one with the black over the white, and one with them together).
  • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joey7F (307495) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:14PM (#15681195) Homepage Journal
    I am *Hispanic and the 1st generation born in the United States. I have received Affirmative Action. I have blond hair (or did, it is brownish now), blue eyes and skin so white that anything less than 80SPF is bad news.

    Tada!

    Affirmative Action is the assumption that all people of a certain ethnicity are the same and different from people that are not of that race. This is obviously not true.

    BTW if we follow your logic, how about blacks of other countries?

    If Blacks are in the situation they are in as a result of history (which I agree with, btw) then why continue to offer a helping hand to blacks that have "made it"?

    The way to make Affirmative Action more equitable is to discriminate on economics instead of race as the GPP suggested.

    --Joey

    *I hate saying that. I am a freakin American. I have little in common with non American Hispanics.
  • by toiletsalmon (309546) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @11:51AM (#15683328) Journal
    sigh!

    Alexandra, that is not the point. Well, maybe it is actually. The POINT is, when you look at the billboard you see these two people fighting. One black, and one white. Neither one of them is even holding a PSP, so the logical conclusion can be drawn that they are fighting BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT COLORS. If they were holding PSPs, then I think the ad would have a totally different dynamic to it.

    Now, in the context of the US. You do realise that black people were considered the property of certain white people solely BECAUSE THEY WERE A DIFFERENT COLOR, don't you? And it was only 143 years ago that it ended. There could still be people alive with "second hand" knowledge of slavery.

    So now we have an ad for a portable videogame machine that is based on the exact same rationale as the slave trade. Now can you see why some people are a little turned off by it? Especially when the color of your game system is just as "important" as someone's skin tone. You probably couldn't find a more insignificant trait to base a judgement on.

    If slavery was based on anything deeper than skin color, then the parallels wouldn't be so strong. But it wasn't based on anything deeper than that, so the parallels ARE strong.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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