Saturday, April 7, 2012
Yes, Burger King's Mary J Blige ad is racist. But not for the reason you think
This commercial for Burger King's "chicken" strips is getting a lot of attention these days. Apparently, a whole lot of people out there think that it's racist because it depicts a multi-millionaire who happens to be black singing the praises of fried chicken.
I think this ad is racist, not because Ms. Blige is singing about fried chicken, but for two different reasons altogether. First, she is cued to sing by a fat, balding, pasty white manager in response to a question put by another doofus white guy- "what's in these new chicken wraps?" So we may presume that Ms. Blige is absolutely immobile until a white guy wants some information, and another white guy snaps his fingers and sets her into motion. Hey, bet you thought that career of yours had put you beyond having to play Stepin Fetchit to white males, didn't you, Ms. Blige? Sorry to inform you, it just isn't so.
Second, Ms. Blige's job here is to sell the fatty junk as something the white customer would really, really like to eat. In other words, her job is to lie. Burger King figures black people are really good at lying, so why not, right? Just throw them a few quarters, and they'll jump, sing, dance, and bleat whatever BS you want them to. Even if they are already wealthy, like I presume Ms Blige is. It's in their blood, right, Burger King?
Actually, neither of these examples really explains why I think that this ad is racist. I think that this commercial is a vicious, outdated attack on an entire race of people, just like a whole lot of you out there do. However, I don't think it's black people who are being targeted here. I think this ad is intensely racist against white people. I mean, check out that ridiculous head-bobbing thing that the manager does during Ms. Blige's performance. White People do not act like that in real life! White people are perfectly capable of keeping in rhythm, and moving to music as smoothly as black people, thank you very much!
As a White Person ( I think citizens of Italian/Greek heritage have been considered "white" in this country since the 1920s or so) I deeply resent this ad, and call for Burger King to do the honorable thing and issue an apology. And allow embedding for the even more obnoxious Jay Leno Drives Into a Burger King in one of his Many Sports Cars ad, which is not only offensive to all races, but to a large number of house cats, plants and rocks, as well.