In my short time as “racist-commercial czar” here at NewsOne, I’ve learned quite a lot about the sensitivities of minorities. Being a woman of color, I represent some of the most marginalized minority groups myself: namely, women and immigrants.
Before I get into my latest exploration of the possible inappropriateness of a new Burger King commercial, I’d like to provide some caveats and disclaimers. I’ve received quite a bit of negativity with regard to this series. I think I’ve been misunderstood. The fact of the matter is that, actually, I don’t jump on the “THIS IS RACIST” bandwagon very often. I tend to give advertisers the benefit of the doubt because, at the end of the day, they’re trying to make a living like the rest of us. And if their target audience is, for example, the African American community, sometimes their unfortunate ignorance leads them to pitch commercial ideas that border on indecent and offensive (if not blatantly so). It’s a symptom of several larger issues, among them: not enough African-Americans in advertising, the isolation/ghettoization/demonization of African Americans in this country, the cultural warfare between the educated elite and the uneducated poor, etc.
That said, I am not naive. I think it is dangerous to assume there are no hidden meanings behind the images and messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Advertisers and copy-writers are among the most savvy and clever among us.
So, allow this to be the mission statement of the JUST CURIOUS franchise: I present a questionable image or video. You respond. That is not to say I always think the ad is racist/sexist. Sometimes I don’t. I’m…. JUST CURIOUS.
Anyway, the latest thing up the pike is the following Burger King commercial. They teamed up with legend Sir Mix-A-Lot and SpongeBob SquarePants to come up with this:
All Hip Hop reports:
“We wonder why a children’s television station like Nickelodeon would want to link one of its most popular and profitable characters to this sort of lechery and objectification of women,” the CCFC letter reads. “That’s why we are asking if you approved the use of SpongeBob in this commercial (and the longer Internet viral video, which is frankly even more disturbing).”