Thursday, May 9, 2013

Surprisingly Racist

A Racist Commercial

While watching a recent episode of "Arrow," my wife and I were visually assaulted by this lovely gem:

Sometimes I'm confronted by something so ugly that I can't even find adequate descriptors. Repulsive. Hideously Offensive. Terrifically Awful. Nope, still not quite getting the full effect this commercial has on me.

What the actor in these commercials is doing is playing to stereotypes, and inviting the audience to laugh along with him about how funny Japanese people are with their funny outfits and enthusiasm for strange things. He may as well be a white actor wearing blackface and spewing thick urban slang.

What were the producers of this commercial thinking? They're already pandering to the Zombie-lovers (about three years too late, in my opinion), did they really think the commercial would be improved by an actor portraying a Japanese person in the most racist way possible?

I called them out on this on Twitter:

Tweet: "Am I the only one who thinks that the @SunDrop commercials are #SurprisinglyRacist ?
Please, tell me I'm not actually the only one who sees it.

I looked up their corporate information on the old interweb, and learned that SunDrop is actually manufactured and bottled by Dr.Pepper/7-Up. Since they have yet to respond via Twitter, here is an open letter (which I also emailed to them):

Dear Dr. Pepper/7-Up,

I am surprised, shocked, and saddened by the inexcusably racist portrayal of Japanese people in your current line of SunDrop commercials. I understand that the competition in the beverage industry is intense and that you have to do something to set your new line of soda apart. However, there are plenty of ways you can set it apart without being racist, for instance:

  • Wear funny hats
  • Show people drinking SunDrop and doing awesome things
  • Light something on fire
  • Wear funny hats and then light them on fire
  • Do something with a Trebuchet or giant slingshot
  • Have people watering their plants with SunDrop and then the plants become more awesome
  • Make a fake historical documentary with famous people from history photoshopped holding SunDrop

And many more. In all seriousness, please consider how your company's actions affect other people, particularly Asian-American children who may now be expected to don funny accents to amuse their peers who have seen your commercials. You can be perfectly funny and entertaining without stooping to racism.

Thank you for your time,

Justin Hébert


I'm not calling for a boycott or anything, but I will say that until these commercials are taken off the air, I won't be drinking anything from the Dr. Pepper/7-Up line of beverages. It's time for this kind of thing to end.


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