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Country of Jamaica Endorses “Racist” Volkswagon Ad

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A controversial advertisement that some have deemed to be racist is actually being embraced in the country of Jamaica, according to The Huffington Post.  We’re not sure if they polled a large percentage of Jamaicans to see what they think, but some might be inclined to believe that an ad featuring a white man speaking with a Jamaican accent was not designed as a tribute to Jamaican culture.

Barbara Lipper, editor-at-large for mediapost.com, says that she was concerned about the ad because it says that black people are just happy all the time for no good reason.  New York Times columnist Charles Blow says that the ad was “blackface with voices.”

But the Jamaican government has endorsed the ad, with lawmaker Edmund Bartlett stating that the 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 even expects that the ad will help to increase tourism in his country. 

“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 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.

To view the ad, click here. 

6 Responses to Country of Jamaica Endorses “Racist” Volkswagon Ad

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  3. ripuree Reply

    February 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    What many from the U.S. are failing to realize is that accents are not indicative of a person’s color in Jamaica, but rather Geographical location. That is how it is in most places in the world -I believe.

    The fuss over this Ad should’ve made many see how much is invested in keeping people subtly divided on so many levels in the U.S.

    One would not be able to tell if a Jamaican is black, white, Chinese or Indian on the phone in Jamaica. Yet in the U.S. Americans can on the phone can tell who’s black from who’s white.

    People must also understand that only when Jamaicans come to the U.S. do we understand that there is black music as well as white music; or black foods and white foods. So when we tell our black U.S. brothers that we like Country Music, I am sure many mistake us for some kind of ignorant Uncle Tom -not understanding that in Jamaica black white, red and yellow identify with a particular kind of music not from the singer’s color, but because they can appreciate music without the added layer of racism attached. Black people in the U.S. do not seem to have the freedom to have universal appreciations, because racism is foisted on their consciousness at every waking moment of the day.

    By that I do not mean that there’s no racism in Jamaica. Certainly Jamaica like every predominantly black country in the world is still to get over our preference for Caucasian hair and lighter skin shades. And like every other predominantly black country contaminated with a Christianity that encode in people’s minds the idea that black equals sin, (thus such countries has high murder rates because they subconsciously feel that God has cursed them). Jamaica too is crime filled. However blatant racism is not a minutely factor in our faces as it is here in the U.S.

    Another thing that all black people should remember is that when white Missionaries and invaders came into Africa, they perceived the happiness of Africans as childish, and uncivilized. They perceived the happiness of slaves in the U.S. and everywhere else as black people enjoying being enslaved. And to this day, black Churches who sing, stomp and shout the loudest in exuberance are looked down on by many blacks who think that displaying joy is a childish display.

    White people are, and should be the most confused by this Ad. because its they who tried to make people of color stop being happy. Their intentions when they tried to take away laughter from black people was pure racism. Consequently, they now see an Ad. celebrating happiness and they’re confused.

    So lighten up black people. Even if the Ad was meant to be intentionally racist, the first impulse it activates is laughter. And laughter still is good medicine. So chill out, and see No Problem at all.

  4. Honee Reply

    February 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    African Americans need to get over themselves… In fact they should learn the meaning and definition of the word racism.. Anyhing that they don’t like they say its racist or racism…. Ignorance is not bliss… It should be a crime… The accent is Jamaican not Black……. Jamaicans are not offended….. Out of many one people is the national motto….. It is not unusual to see or know a Jamaican that looks exactly like the mani the commercial, obviously with a better accent….. In fact many Jamaicans born, educated or spending long periods out of Jamaica usually end up with as bad a Jamaican accent as the one in the VW ad…..

    The accent is hilarious and the message is No problem man…. don’t worry be happy… Which is the general vibe in the island…..

  5. Haile Reply

    February 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    When the Panama Canal was being built. The white engineer asked some of the So called West Indian governemnts to send so called West Indians to Panama to help built the canal because Europeans were dying like flies from malaria and yellow fever.Some of them like Barbados agreed, even though they paid them in silver and the whites who lived in the canal zone with gold. Up to today many Panamanians speak spanish with an Inglish sir name. There was no country called panama, it was a province of Columbia but the Americans under Teddy Roosevelt encourage and supported the rebels to ceseed.So dont be surprised that the Jamaican government is with the racist ad.

  6. Yeah I Said It! Reply

    February 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve seen the commerical and it does not appear to be racist. No shuckin or jivin, No ghetto c**p or baby mama daddy c**p. I think last years super bowl commerical of the black woman hitting her husband with a coke can was more questionably racist/degrading.

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