Idiotic Charges of Racism and the Smart Way Jamaica Handled It

from the Wall Street Journal “Best of the Web” column compiled by James Taranto –

Appeal to Authority
A Volkswagen Super Bowl ad featuring “a white, Midwesterner who feigns a Jamaican accent” is drawing mixed reviews, USA Today reports. Against it:

“It’s pretty horrific,” says Ricki Fairley-Brown, president of the multicultural marketing agency Dove Marketing. “Why do they have a white guy from Minnesota faking a Jamaican accent?”

Even more troubled by the spot is Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief hispanic marketing strategist at Walton Isaacson, an African-American, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanic agency. “What happens in this ad is that the culture becomes a punch line, and that is offensive.”

Pop cultural guru Barbara Lippert is not amused, either. “It made me uncomfortable to see all of those white people in an office setting doing this,” she says. “I found it offensive.”

For it:

Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica’s minister of tourism and entertainment. “We view it as a compliment,” says McNeill. “People should get into their inner Jamaica and get happy.” He’s even negotiating with VW for some sort of co-branding.

So people who make a handsome living manufacturing ethnic grievances don’t even feel the need to consult the people who are supposed to be aggrieved.

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