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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Racist, Or Not Racist: Jimmy Cliff and the Super Bowl "Get Happy" Commercial

Posted by on Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM


Comments (14) RSS

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LEE. 14

no, no...we have perfect harmony in this thread as it ended as it began. then you crapped all over with your obvious opinion. you should feel bad.
Posted by LEE. on February 7, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
brother got paid and this is all you got? green is good on all fronts.
Posted by juan gabriel on February 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
it was stupid as fuck and not funny. and probably racist too. but definitely the former.
Posted by A Fucking Wizard on February 6, 2013 at 3:57 AM · Report this
#8, cultural appropriation isn't by definition offensive or based on racist intent, though. If it were, people would be picketing yoga studios and hippies with their ashrams and buddhism. Or surfers and THEIR use of island slang.

I felt like the guy in this commercial was just trying to prove how cool and laidback he was by speaking like a stereotypical islander. It didn't seem like he was deriding Jamaicans in any way. If it's the stereotyping that's considered offensive, then I don't know why this particular commercial is being called out for that when most commercials deal in stereotypes.
Posted by virginia mason on February 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Anyone every speak a foreign language? Is that racist?
Posted by free.ranger on February 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM · Report this
My parents and entire extended family are from Jamaica-- they all migrated here in the 70s: long enough to know how to speak as the Romans do in Rome, but not long enough to lose the accent, which they can slip into and out of at will. I watched the game with my family, and we all thought it was hilarious. The "land of a thousand lakes" line, to anybody familiar with the patois, was written in to emphasize the dialect, which in some places was quite accurate. |

I mean, what you have to understand is that not all Jamaicans are Black: there are Indians and Chinese who came there as cheap labor since the 19th century, and have been there ever since. There are whites who have been there since the early colonial-era. And there are "Blacks" who have ancestry from all 4 of those corners. All of them speak in that fashion, so the Jamaican patois--though an indicator--isn't as firm a statement about one's racial identity as it would seem.

I think it's a non-issue. If people were concerned about racism, Jamaica, and corporate structures of economic subordination, they'd bring up IMF, not a VW commercial.
Posted by Shaun_Empire on February 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
It seems the point of a superbowl commercial is to ride the line between offensive and funny. Here, the guy is from the state of a thousand lakes, and not from a place where people culturally speak the way he does, and thus, it is cultural appropriation #4gotitright #Offensiveisnotfunny
Posted by fitzfile on February 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM · Report this
The commercial was definitely "making fun of." Making fun of a racial or cultural attribute might or might not be racist, depending on context and intent. In this case, I don't think the commercial dropped all way to racism.
Posted by dafydd on February 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
derek_erdman 6
Fucking white people must be exterminated ASAMFP.
Posted by derek_erdman on February 4, 2013 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Nah, not. If they were in blackface, however...
Posted by MGHart on February 4, 2013 at 10:34 AM · Report this
1 and 2 make great points. I personally think the commercial is stupid. @2 I understand what you are saying, if anything maybe it's more cultural appropriation, which isn't cute or cool.
Posted by Taryn on February 4, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Paul Merrill 3
It's not racist if it's funny.…
Posted by Paul Merrill on February 4, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
I don't understand how this is any different than drag queens imitating women or the Can Can's current show "Tune in Tokyo" featuring white people dressed as sumo wrestlers and wearing kimonos, etc...

I'm not sure it's NOT at all racist, but I'm confused about why it's any more offensive than other impersonations we consider acceptable.
Posted by virginia mason on February 3, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
LEE. 1
kinda racist... very, very stupid.
Posted by LEE. on February 3, 2013 at 9:01 PM · Report this

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