Racist or Funny? Volkswagen’s Super Bowl Commercial

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  • When Volkswagen released their Super Bowl commercial on-line for an early preview they probably were not expecting the amount of backlash they have received for a commercial many have deemed “racist.”

    In the commercial, a white male is expressing happiness for his new Volkswagen while talking with a thick Jamaican accent and dialect.

    Volkswagen claims they even talked to 100 Jamaicans and consulted with a speech coach to ensure they would not be offensive.

    What do you think? Is the commercial funny, insulting, or racist? [SCROLL DOWN and let us know]

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    Comments

    14 thoughts on “Racist or Funny? Volkswagen’s Super Bowl Commercial

    1. I thought it was a good, non-biased commercial. Some points:

      1. The commercial was purposeful in using a NON-Jamaican character; in this case a white middle-aged man from Minnesota. (“Land o’ ten t’ousand lakes, Mon!”).

      2. It incorporated different races using the accent at the end.

      Now…could this commercial have been construed as racist in other contexts? Certainly. Perhaps using Eastern Asian (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) inflections on English may have been considered racist in the Charlie Chan or WW2 mode. Certainly, using the same context on a pre-civil rights era African American character would most probably be deemed as racist, so even if the positive aspects of African American life were emphasized just like the laid back Jamaican attitude.

      So the answer is relative. My rule of thumb: If the ACTUAL group of individuals associated with the characterization of their group shows a POSITIVE reaction to the commercial, it’s not racist. This means Caribbean individuals, particularly Jamaican black individuals, would dictate ethical use of the characterization. In the same context, East Asian and African American groups would most probably show a NEGATIVE reaction to the commercial.

      Fair? Not a question of fairness, to be frank. This is a subjective issue; therefore, subjective intent has to be determined by the groups being characterized.

    2. I dont think its racist either. I believe that more than anything it portrays that Jamiacans will lift your spirit and make everything ARIE!!!! :)

    3. My question is why VW could hire a real Jamaican to do this commercial? It surely would have been much more funny to me then!

      • Oops, sorry for the typos. I meant to say why didn’t VW hire a real Jamaican from Jamaica to do their commercial!? If would have been much more funnier then! To me anyway!

    4. I expected it to be worse than that. Not offensive. It was kind of funny more towards the end. Does it make me want to buy a VW? No.

    5. is there no white people that was born in Jamaica and speak with a Jamaican accent? I don’t see the racism here but what I see is that people in Jamaica are happy

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