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PSP Ad Draws Charges of Racism 537

Posted by Zonk
from the a-little-forethought dept.
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.gmail@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 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.
      • by Alexandra Erenhart (880036) <.saiyanprincess. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:18AM (#15675087) Homepage
        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.
        • 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 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 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 Alarash (746254) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:28AM (#15675161)
        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.
        We ALMOST saw her nipple. Gee, that was a close call. I don't think American tribunals would have survived a racism porn trials wave.
      • The article also doesn't tell the whole story. Half the adds have the black woman grabbing the white woman. It's also obviously about color in general, not color of skin. Both women are entirely dressed in their respective colors. (Cue remarks about how black and/or white aren't colors.)

        Really, while the adds are perhaps not as wisely chosen as they could have been (assuming all the media attention doesn't work to Sony's advantage), the issue is being blown entirely out of proportion by overly pc-people.

        I w
      • Context (Score:3, Insightful)

        by servognome (738846)
        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 h
    • 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 patrixmyth (167599) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:06PM (#15676051)
      The Dutch don't have racial problems?
      http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pag ename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1 150927809973&call_pageid=968256290204&col=96835011 6795 [thestar.com]

      Really?
      http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?su bchannel_id=19&story_id=30545&name=One+in+10+Dutch +people+are+racist%3A+poll [expatica.com]

      REALLY!?!?!?!?!?
      http://www.antislavery.org/breakingthesilence/slav e_routes/slave_routes_netherlands.shtm [antislavery.org]

      Apparently to most of my fellow Americans, Holland is just a magical place filled with Pot, wooden shoes, dikes (Is levy the new PC word?) and Windmills.
  • 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.
  • One ad of three (Score:5, Informative)

    by qshapadooy (134224) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:10AM (#15675012)
    Jeebus. There are three ads:

      * White woman over black woman.
      * Black woman over white woman.
      * White woman and black woman on equal footing.

    Everyone can't stop talking about the first and ignoring the others. And what are they ignoring the most? They're all hot.
    • Re:One ad of three (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:20AM (#15675102)
      As a followup, here are some links taken from the Fark discussion yesterday:

      equal [photobucket.com]
      white over [photobucket.com]
      black over [photobucket.com]
    • Jeebus. There are three ads:
      * White woman over black woman.
      * Black woman over white woman.
      * White woman and black woman on equal footing.

      Everyone can't stop talking about the first and ignoring the others. And what are they ignoring the most? They're all hot.


      Exactly my thought too. First off, most importantly, they're all hot. But 2nd, and the most troubling piece, why, why why, even on /. is it that all we can talk about is the 1st one? White over black? Seriously, get a life, there is no
      • But 2nd, and the most troubling piece, why, why why, even on /. is it that all we can talk about is the 1st one?

        Because geeks are almost as bad as Xian fundies when it comes to grabbing some tiny, stupid issue in a death-grip and getting self-righteous about it.

        Hell, I admit, even I'm not immune. Talk of lawyers sets me off.
        • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:12AM (#15675576) Homepage
          Hell, I admit, even I'm not immune. Talk of lawyers sets me off.

          Sorry, couldn't resist :-P

          Did you make a donation?
          At the United Way in a fairly small town a volunteer worker noticed that the most successful lawyer in the whole town hadn't made a contribution. This guy was making about $600,000 a year so the volunteer thought, "Why not call him up?"

          He calls up the lawyer.

          "Sir, according to our research you haven't made a contribution to the United Way, would you like to do so?"

          The lawyer responds, "A contribution? Does your research show that I have an invalid mother who requires expensive surgery once a year just to stay alive?"

          The worker is feeling a bit embarrassed and says, "Well, no sir, I'm..."

          "Does your research show that my sister's husband was killed in a car accident? She has three kids and no means of support!"

          The worker is feeling quite embarrassed at this point. "I'm terribly sorry..."

          "Does your research show that my brother broke his neck on the job and now requires a full time nurse to have any kind of normal life?"

          The worker is completely humiliated at this point. "I am sorry sir, please forgive me..."

          "The gall of you people! I don't give them anything, so why should I give it to you!"
    • 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.
      • Slavery (Score:4, Insightful)

        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: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).
          • 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.

    • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cocoa Radix (983980)

      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

      • 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.
        • Get a clue (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:57PM (#15676627)
          In the town of Elsemere, Delaware, a local politician named John Jaremchuk recently proposed (local ordinance 447) that brown people (specifically, people of hispanic appearance) be required to carry papers proving citizenship, and that anyone (regardless of actual citizenship status) who could not produce such papers would be fined $100.

          My daughter looks hispanic (though she's not) and she doesn't even *HAVE* citizenship papers. Neither do I, but I'm pasty white, so I get to go anywhere I want without question.

          The proposal was defeated, but Jaremchuk has considerable local support... especially among the police and the anti-hispanic vigilante types who like to cause trouble in the low-end housing where there's a high percentage of illegal aliens... Jaremchuk is a rising star in Elsmere politics, and his entire platform is thinly veiled, weasel-worded white supremacy (he'd probably say "traditional cultural values" and "equality").

          Elsmere also has the distinction of having the strongest curfew laws on the East Coast, but the curfew is only enforced on brown kids, as far as I've seen. We live less than ten miles from Elsmere, which is NOT below the Mason Dixon line - this is the industrial northeast of the USA here.

          If you think color-line racism isn't alive and growing in America, you are living a very sheltered life. The 9/11 atrocities have proved the perfect wedge to drive racial profiling back into the mainstream of acceptability; in fact Ordinance 447 mentioned 9/11 specifically as justification.
        • Re:One ad of three (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LGagnon (762015)
          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.
  • >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'.

    • I live in the Netherlands and work in Amsterdam, haven't seen the real billboards, yet already know that the PSP, which I don't care about, is going to be available in white. I'd say it works.
  • Success of the ad doesn't hinge on whether or not you like it, but whether it sticks in your head and gets mindshare. Since everyone's going nuts over this one, people are discussing it, and it's propagating virally among blogs and news sites (here included) it's doing an amazingly wonderful job and some ad exec's probably enjoying a hefty bonus.
    • i disagee... the success of an add is whether or not it propts you do buy the product. IMNSHO this one is a bomb. It doesnt make me want a PSP, it doesnt tell me why it's better then the compitition, it doesnt say anything about what it can do, how it looks... nada....
      • Incorrect. The success of an add is if the sum is equal to the numbers you are adding together.
      • by sg3000 (87992) * <[moc.cam] [ta] [cilbup_gs]> 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.
  • by Valthan (977851) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:11AM (#15675018)
    One, it isn't in the US. 2 you need to lighten up, sure racism exists, but its a video game advert and guess what, in another on it shows the black person on top of the white... I don't see what the big deal is personally, but I guess that is how I was raised, with quite a few good friends who are of different races. Check out The CAD newspose [ctrlaltdel-online.com] for an insightful post on the subject, as well as the pictures of the different ones, including prior art for a DS :P

    Disclaimer: I am Canadian from a small border town near Niagara Falls.
    • 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.
  • 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]
    • 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).
  • by Red Samurai (893134) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:12AM (#15675032)
    Have a look at Nintendo's work: http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/images/news/ds_ad .jpg [ctrlaltdel-online.com]
    Seriously though, I think Tim's article on the whole issue covered this pretty well (currently on the front page of CAD).
  • 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) *
    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.

    • "A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohamed in European newspapers."
      You are an IDIOT.
      I have not heard any death threats over this. And frankly it isn't US outrage over an advert. It is some people upset over an advert because they feel it is racist.
      Is showing two people in conflict that clearly involved the color of their skin racist?
      I think to some people it would be. I wonder if any people of color in the UK or Holland are offended by it. Could it
    • Internet nerd message board rage is quite different than rioting, destroying embassies and causing inadvertent deaths in the process, chuckles.
    • Aside from the fact that Americans won't riot and kill people, right? -American and not outraged at these ads
  • 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.

    • im sooooo going to get troll points for this, but

      I think some people will get that exact idea. Sony is playing the "Hay, it's new" card here and for an entire generation of young kids newer=better. And it does show the white version dominating the previous black version, the ad shows the white PSP is stronger and more powerfull (otherwise how could it tie up the black version?)
      • Sony is playing the "Hay, it's new" card here and for an entire generation of young kids newer=better.

        That's my point - they aren't thinking "hey, this must be good because it's for white people", they are thinking "hey, this must be good because it's new".

        • and i think you missed mine, this ad is a perfict example of subtle racisim... it doesnt come out and say "WHITE PEOPLE ARE BETTER!" it says "the white PSP is better and its being represented by this white person"

          As a queer kid growing up in a VERY intollerant small town I am ver familiar with subtle forms of discrimination. No one would come right out and say that because I was queer I was less of a person then they were, but after the 100th person asks me to prove that i should have the same rights th

      • By the way, this is one of 3 adds, there are 2 more... interesting those weren't pointed out...
    • > 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"

      Your post is well put, and from a logical perspective, you're right. However, what's interesting is from an advertising perspective (I'm not an expert, but I took a couple of advertising classes when I got my MBA), the ad is racist (or was at least intended to be perceived as racist). There are s
  • facinates me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc&carpanet,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
    • Re:facinates me (Score:2, Insightful)

      by whereiseljefe (753425)

      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

  • americans are way too sensitive to racism these days
  • From GamePolitics [livejournal.com]...

    Callender's remarks were contained in a press release issued late yesterday by California Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D), author of California's contested video game violence law. Yee also expressed concern over the PSP White ads, saying, "I am deeply disappointed in Sony's senseless decision to publish this racially-charged advertisement. I can't begin to determine Sony's motivation but I believe this marketing strategy is unnecessary and is clearly offensive to many in our c

  • by dominion (3153) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:27AM (#15675149) Homepage
    In a world without history, this ad would be meaningless. But we live in the real world, that has a bloody history of slavery, apartheid, jim crow, fascism, and colonialism.

    And as such, this ad is incredibly problematic. Anybody who doesn't recognize at least that is ignoring history itself.
    • And as such, this ad is incredibly problematic. Anybody who doesn't recognize at least that is ignoring history itself.

      Oh yes, you're right. Perhaps you'd prefer that white people and black people don't appear in commercials together? Yeah, that's it - segregation is the answer!

      /sarcasm

      Please. Anyone who doesn't recognize this as a metaphor, with a sexual twist, for the available PSP colors is a moron. I'm sorry, but this commercial is only racist if you want it to be.

  • Hmm, I've seen this article on Fark, Joystiq, and now Slashdot. Everybody, on the count of 3, say "Publicity Stunt"

    1...2...5
  • 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) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...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
  • It's questionable, however, whether the world is ready to explore themes of race and domination in the context of a videogame console ad.

    Yes! We must remember the world is nowhere near as sophisticated as globetrotting ace Guardian video game uberjournalist Keith Stuart! Yeah, I know. Ad hominem. It's Friday.

    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

  • 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.
    • 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

  • by Andy_R (114137) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:37AM (#15675261) Homepage Journal
    Is it sexist that the don't make a pink version, or is that homophobic today?

    Would it be more or less racist to deny the brown woman her right to choose to be paid to appear in the ad?

    Should I be boycotting both versions of the PSP, because I'm a nudist and I fnd the clothing in the ads offensive? ...Or is all this a big fuss over nothing, and a lot of free advertising for Sony?
  • 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."
  • What ever happened to Nintendo when they used the song Black Betty to advertise Mario. According to wikipedia the song drew the same racist overtones that this add is pulling.
  • 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'.
  • 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.

Natural laws have no pity.

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