The commercials shown during the Super Bowl draw nearly as much attention as the game itself. This year two commercials have made headlines for fueling racial stereotypes. One, a Volkswagen commercial, features a white businessman speaking with a Jamaican accent. The point? To demonstrate the joy that Volkswagen owners have--because Jamaicans are, of course, perpetually happy. The other commercial in question is for Coca-Cola; it features an Arab traversing the desert with a donkey in a bid to reach a giant bottle of coke before a group of Vegas showgirls, cowboys and others beat them to it. Arab-American groups are none too pleased with the ad.
"The Coke commercial for the Super Bowl is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world," Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, told Reuters. Representatives from other groups such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee also took issue with the ad. Coca-Cola, however, denies any malicious intent. A spokeswoman described the brand as "inclusive" and "enjoyed by all demographics."
While the Arab-American community came out against the Coke ad, the Jamaican community has received the Volkswagen ad much differently. According to the Associated Press, Jamaicans are embracing the commercial. Jamaica's tourism minister, Wykeham McNeill, said he hopes the ad gives the island a tourism boost.
"I think this is a very creative commercial which truly taps into the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its hospitable people have globally," he stated. Other Jamaicans told the AP they found it amusing to hear an American attempt to speak patois.
This reaction clashes with the responses African Americans had to the commercial. New York Times columnist Charles Blow, for example, described the commercial as "blackface with voices."
What do you think? Are these commercials offensive or funny?