Now Just Saying Black People Are Happy Is Racist
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by sebekm 1 year, 8 months ago.

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I read an interesting article yesterday that brings into focus the state of racial "sensitivity" in this country. The article involves a Superbowl ad by Volkswagen which employs a Jamaican "accent" to extoll the virtues of their product. Here's the article in its entirety. The title is "Jamaica Embraces Controversial Super Bowl Ad" (which might give you a hint that their reception is NOT the same as some "sensitive" critics in this country):

"Jamaica Embraces Controversial Super Bowl Ad

By DAVID McFADDEN Associated Press
KINGSTON, Jamaica January 30, 2013 (AP)

Jamaica is embracing a controversial Super Bowl commercial that depicts a white office worker from the U.S. Midwest feigning the Caribbean island's lilting patois accent to display a cheerful, upbeat outlook.

Some U.S. critics have described the pregame Super Bowl ad from Volkswagen of America as offensive and culturally insensitive, apparently seeing the commercial that hit the web on Monday as an echo of segregation-era depictions of white people posing as happy-go-lucky black folk. Jamaica's population is predominantly black.

On NBC's "The Today Show," Barbara Lippert, editor-at-large at, said she believed the commercial was racist because it was "just saying that black people are happy." New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow said during an appearance on CNN that the advertisement was like "blackface with voices."

But the charged reaction has met with puzzlement in Jamaica, which has very visible white, Asian, Middle Eastern and mixed-race minorities that also often speak with the local accent.

The island's government has endorsed the commercial, which shows an ebullient white worker from the U.S. state of Minnesota trying to cheer up glum colleagues with a Jamaican patois accent because he is so happy with his Volkswagen. At the start of the commercial, he paraphrases the lyrics to late reggae icon Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" as he tells his co-workers: "No worries, mon. Everyting will be all right."

The company's website continues the theme, offering a clip of Jamaica's Jimmy Cliff singing "C'mon, get happy."

On Wednesday, opposition lawmaker Edmund Bartlett said the television ad "is a perfect illustration of Jamaican culture's global reach and our uncharacteristic penchant to be happy even in challenging situations."

Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill said he believes the Super Bowl commercial has the potential to increase tourist arrivals.

"I think this is a very creative commercial which truly taps into the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally," McNeill said in a late Tuesday statement.

At a Kingston bus stop, office assistant Jennifer Blake said she saw the Volkswagen advertisement online and thought it was amusing to see an American trying to speak patois.

"I'm not sure why people would think it was offensive or anything," she said Wednesday, adding that many of her friends have shared links to the commercial on social media.

Nearly all islanders, regardless of class, can speak and understand the country's patois. Jamaica's official language is standard English, but many people cannot speak it.

Those who speak standard English fluently, mostly people from the middle and upper classes, tend to use patois for emphasis or to affect a down-to-earth persona.

A representative for Volkswagen of America said Wednesday morning that the company has no plans to pull the Super Bowl spot.

"As of this morning, we received no consumer calls or complaints about our ad. In fact, we've only received positive endorsements," Scott Vazin, a company spokesman, said in an email."


I found this article interesting because it exemplifies the attitude I've seen when visiting other countries around the world and the subject of U.S. "race relations" comes up. The consensus of the international attitude I've heard is that: "You Americans can find a problem with ANYTHING. You people have such a great country, but you can't stop trying to find fault with it."

This is just another example. The people of Jamaica aren't offended, so why should "we" be? I say the answer is that it serves the interests of those in our society who make their living off of racial divisiveness. They don't really want "unity" and "harmony," because it would put them out of business.

Think about it.

Latest Activity: Jan 31, 2013 at 2:34 PM

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JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 14:49 PM

Hi Sebe: I saw the ad also and also watched the VIEW tv show with Whoopie Goldberg echoing your views: The ad is NOT racist but Americans will be Americans. We are like that redneck comedian on TV who says not only do we Americans invent things you want, we invent things you didn't know you plastic spoon forks, squeeze bottle cheese and sweat pants that lool like jeans."

There are instances for folks to say no to, but I agree with you that this ain't one of them.

JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 15:04 PM

Oh yea...I corrected a comment on tot's mary jane post concerning you being one of the sane ones here.

sebekm commented on Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Hi Jimmy: I am not sane. One of my heroes is Ernest T. Bass. He never lived in a glass house....

cookoo! cookoo! cookoo!

timeontarget commented on Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 14:01 PM

Can ya'll speak Geechee or Gullah?????

JimmyMack commented on Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 15:03 PM

Yes Sebe....I remember Howard Morris when he was on the Andy Griffith show and before that....????...Was it Steve Allen show or Ernie Kovacs or Uncle Milty?

Tot: Nope. Can't say that I am fluent in any of those dialects but like rock and roll and porn...I know it when I see it or hear it.

JimmyMack commented on Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 15:16 PM

Or maybe it was on The Sid Ceasar Show!!

It's gotta be one of those.

lholmes commented on Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 23:29 PM

'ey mon! I feel a strange urge to sing "de lime and de coconut!"

sebekm commented on Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 13:27 PM

Hi Jimmy - yes, it WAS Sid Caesar. I don't recall watching a lot of Sid (apparently not a favorite in my household or his show was up against Wagon Train or Perry Mason). But from what I saw, it was hilarious. I recently read this - written by Morris - on how he "became" Ernest T.:

sebekm commented on Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 13:33 PM

lh: ...and how about"

"Underneath de mango tree....
me honey and me.... can watch for de moon

Underneath de mango tree...
me honey and me....make boolooloop soon...."

JimmyMack commented on Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 15:44 PM

Or: yello burd, up in da banana tree, you sit all alone like me. Did ya lady friend fly away again, make me feel so sad, life can be so bad, now you be so lonely like me.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Feb 03, 2013 at 13:07 PM

How about this one from one of my favorite Bond films:

"All de people down Kingston Town y'know all de people go Jump up!
Waving arms about weaving in and out, it's so easy to Jump up!
Take a pretty girl make her whirl and then both begin again Jump up!
Hold her very tight, then for all de night you'll be doin' the Jump up!
Jump up! Jump up! Jamaica
Jump up! Jump up! Jamaica
Jump up music I'll make yer never want to stop
Jump up

Listen to de band, take her hand and say here we go again Jump up!
Like a ball of fire you will never tire when you're doing the Jump up!
All de people down Kingston Town y'know all de people go Jump up!
You'll be lost to it once you've tried a bit never give up de Jump up!
Jump up! Jump up! Jamaica
Jump up! Jump up! Jamaica
Jump up music I'll make yer never want to stop
Jump up"

lholmes commented on Sunday, Feb 03, 2013 at 19:48 PM

keep this up, we are going to branded racists. By the way, I just saw that commercial during the Superbowl. Funny! Not racist at all.

sebekm commented on Monday, Feb 04, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I saw it, too. The Jamaican "patois" - IMHO - is their international, cultural signature. And it is a POSITIVE signature - unlike that of a lot of other countries around the world (including the United States). I guess some people can find offense in anything, but the ad to me is a tribute to their cultural identity. From the article I posted above, that's the way they see it.

BTW: Good football game, I thought. The power outage really helped SF, but not enough. Twitter says Beyonce' drained the juice out of the power grid with that halftime show (which I passed on in favor of STTNG). It was a bad outcome for the Ray Lewis-haters, but I think a good day for the NFL. Top ratings and an exciting finish.

I'm ready for the NFL draft. Let's get it on!

Graeme245 commented on Monday, Feb 04, 2013 at 22:43 PM

Came across this while researching something else and couldn't help but feel that it's pretty spot-on when it comes to the matter at hand.

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013 at 12:22 PM

It also goes hand-in-hand with Ken Huber's comments in TOT's recent blog. But I'm thinking it's more about power and who holds it than it is about "rights." And when the media sits firmly on one side of the teeter-totter, they provide a substantial advantage. That's why FNC is so hated by the left - they are seen as infringing on THEIR (the left's) territory, i.e.: the ability to CONTROL the "news."

It's no wonder that the honest, hard-working taxpayers of all races feel that they are being dumped on.

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