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PSP Ad Draws Charges of Racism 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 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 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.
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @11:06AM (#15675534) Homepage
    I'm from the Netherlands and I'm not too happy some Californian assembly speaker is judging our culture with his prejudices. I doubt many of my fellow Dutch citizens would consider the ad racist, including my non-white fellow citizens, so he's basically stirring up a racial issue where there is none.
  • by john83 ( 923470 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:24PM (#15676278)
    Agreed entirely. You know what's really racist? Looking at that poster and thinking, "There's a black person and a white person". When my attention was drawn to it (on http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/ [ctrlaltdel-online.com] this morning), but before I read the context of it being brought up, I just saw two people.
  • by Attis_The_Bunneh ( 960066 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:25PM (#15676283)
    because as much as I do like the pictures, since they seem like a mixture of sex and beauty to me, but the fact is most folks still live with a tribal mindset that screams, "Look, it's racism because my primative preconceptions say so!" Thusly, it will be read as racism rather than an attempt at art meets commercial in advertising. But this is not the only black/white ad I remember coming out of a japanese console maker. I believe there was once a TV ad that had two guys, one dress in a white gi and the other in a black gi fighting in midair, where one was defeated. Usually it was a random rotation between the white gi dude beating the black gi dude, and then vice versa. I don't remember hearing about anyone crying fowl on that commercial.

    What has to be understood the colours black and white in the asian culture represent a dichotomy of forces rather than ethicities. So, when a person from the isle of Nihon looks at the picture, they're reminded of old Zennist mythos. Or a person from China proper will be reminded of the stories by Lao Tzu about the Tao and so forth. So, in reality, this is not an intended racist grab, but rather a vast gap, in my evil evil opinion, between cultures. It's sad really, because in our culture, we're still tribal as ever yet claim to be oh so intelligent. I suggest folks consider deprogramming themselves of such preconceptions by atleast getting a wider cultural background (or read Rand's essay on the origin of Racism, which is very intriguing.). :)

    -- Attis
  • Re:Slavery (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 1lus10n ( 586635 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:41PM (#15676448) Journal
    Actually the funny part about this is that people on the continent of africa did infact enslave whites. It just happened a REEEEAAAALLLLYYY long time ago. Blacks still to this day enslave other blacks, asians other asians etc etc I think it has far more to do with economic circumstance than one race being more superior than another.In reality people use slavery has a crutch, my people were dirt poor when they came to this country just like most immagrants. I think pop-culture has built up the idea that black people were treated sub human and all white people were wearing silk and such. Which is crap. There are many instances where people in this country and europe were treated horribly because of their country of origin (white or not).
  • 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:2, Interesting)

    by Tepoztecal ( 978858 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:22PM (#15676880)
    Affirmative Action is about hiring people based on skill and not on skin color or ethnic origin. The whole "quota" thing is just fud generated by people who want to believe that there is no such thing as racism still in the US. In my hometime, my family (who worked for the city itself) were not even allowed to enter city hall until the mid 80's just because their skin color was brown. Only recently was my town's sheriff, who was a notorious racist, was forced into retirement. The Klan would regularly march in my hometown too. It's only recently, mid 80's, that everyone of color in my town became tired of this shit and started to force these people out. Alot had to do with actual protection by the law and crackdown on the Jim Crowe legacy that supposedly didn't exist anymore. There's still a racist overtone in my hometown but it's nowhere near as bad as it was before. My father was just recently called a spic when he was checking out of the store but he tore that shithead's ass a new one. Of course, that shithead probably went home to complain about quotas or people being too pc.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:56PM (#15679243)
    Although the ad was probably not intended to be racist, Sony has really shot itself in the foot here.

    I am a white conservative, and even I am somewhat offended by the ad.

    What the hell was Sony smoking when it came up with this?

    Microsoft has officially won the console wars.
  • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:50PM (#15695771) Homepage
    Well, this is completely out of the scope of the previous conversation-- which was much more to do with emotional reaction to oppression and the appropriate degree of sensitivity to that emotion-- but what the hell.

    First, an apology: I was maybe a little bit sloppy in my phrasing. This "apology for slavery" crap is a straw man, often thrown out by people making the exact argument you just did, and it was the use of this straw man that intended to reference. Yes, you will find people who call for an apology. I am not going to argue the point, because the idea itself is the concoction of politicians trying to score in-group points, and the prevailing arguments on both sides of the idea are consequently and necessarily worthless bullshit.

    Japanese killing Americans, and Germans killing Russians, is not at all the same thing as whites subjugating blacks in various ways for several hundred years in North America. Those instances were clashes of nations and nationalities-- they were fights between separate, enemy societies. In the United States, there was one society with two tiers, and one group was deliberately, systematically put and kept on the lower tier for generations.

    One of the things that people such as yourself do not seem to "get" is that preferential treatment-- by which I assume you mean affirmative action programs and the like, because you usually do-- is an attempt to accelerate the integration of an oppressed subculture into the mainstream, not suck up to the disadvantaged out of misplaced guilt. In a situation where you have an ethnically distinct population at a social and economic disadvantage, it is a bad scene for the society as a whole, especially when that disadvantage was deliberately manufactured by the mainstream and both groups know it. It's absolutely useless to tell people to "get over it" when they are still feeling the effects of institutionalized oppression that-- again-- ended only forty years ago (not with the abolition of slavery on which you seem to be fixated).

    When I say that it will take a few generations for the emotional memory of oppression to fade, I say that because only distance from the oppression can lessen that emotion-- there's nothing we as a society can do to change that. When I say that it will take longer to right the social and economic wrongs that were committed, I do not mean to imply that the descendents of one group personally and individually owe anything to the descendents of the other-- rather, that real integration can only happen if the disadvantaged group is provided a handicap in order to catch up to the rest of the game, and that for the sake of the cohesion and advancement of the society as a whole it is critical that such integration occur.

    It's a bummer that those of us in the advantaged group might have to give up a tiny bit of that advantage in order for this all to happen, but it's not like we have to trade places with the disadvantaged group or anything. Nobody's asking you, for instance, to be poor. All this whining about how unfair it is strikes me as incredibly crass and deeply ironic, not to mention an incredibly short-sighted and self-absorbed way to formulate social policy.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?