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Wildfire View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Wildfire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 30 2013 at 3:52pm
Originally posted by nitabug nitabug wrote:

Originally posted by tatee tatee wrote:

am i the only one who tensed up when the guy said " i hate mondays" and the girl cosigned? LOL man, yt got me shook with simple statementsLOL

lmao. I did too.
But yea, if they had a aa stereotypical "accent" I'd be upset too.


It is not stereotypical IMO. They didnt get the accent down pat, but it isnt a stereotype....we do have a caribbean accent...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 9:39am
For some reason, i feel like this will go past the heads of many but i shall post anyways

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The Least Happy Jamaican: On Volkswagen’s Super Bowl Commercial


By Guest Contributor Suzanne Persard

Am I the last Jamaican to miss the happiness train?

After millions of hits on YouTube and a whirl of international attention, arguably the most popular commercial Volkswagen has ever aired, has been approved by “100 Jamaicans,” hailed as humorous by hundreds of other Jamaicans, and endorsed by the Jamaican Minister of Tourism.

The ad features a white man from Minnesota speaking exaggeratedly in patois, urging his unhappy coworkers to become happier with phrases like, “Yuh know what dis room needs? A smile!”  Clearly, this is Volkswagen’s way of telling you, Jamaicans are happy! You should be happy, too! Buy a 2013 Volkswagen Beetle and get happy!

According to Volkswagen, those 100 Jamaicans were involved in the screening of the ad so the German automobile giant could guarantee it wasn’t racist. A speech coach was also involved, according to Volkswagen, because to parody an entire people you’ve clearly got to make sure you’ve nailed that exotic accent.

With overwhelming approval from the public in the form of thousands of virtual “likes,” and Jamaicans posting on YouTube and Facebook with notes like, “I’m Jamaican, and I approve!,” it would seem that Volkswagen has won the battle waged by blatant racialized mockery disguised as ambiguous feel-good humor.

To be fair, there are Jamaicans of many races, including Indo-Jamaicans, Chinese Jamaicans, multi-racial Jamaicans, and yes, white Jamaicans. But Volkswagen’s aim wasn’t to present the multiculturalism of the island; instead, the ad was intentionally a caricature of Jamaican people, reinforcing a national identity typecast as ganja-smoking, lazying-away-in-the-sun-at-their-own-pace island folk. You know, just like those clay souvenirs of wide-toothed Rastafarians with enormous spliffs dangling from their mouths or key chains embossed with smiley faces sprouting dreadlocks and a byline exclaiming, “No Problem!”

Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show responded to his colleagues’ uneasiness with the ad by saying, “I thought, ‘If you buy this car, it puts you in a happy place, and what’s happier than the memories we all have of being on beautiful islands on island time?”  Matt might want to Google “neo-colonialism.” He should also check out Jamaica for Sale and Life and Debt.

The tourism that Lauer references in the commercial is not without consequences. The relationship between tourism and the Jamaican economy is complicated; it’s the Catch-22 of post-colonialism where rich Americans and Europeans come spend their money on an island whose people need these dollars.  Tourists oblivious to their role in perpetuating a system that allows them to consume and walk away unscathed, while the realities of poverty plague an entire country. For the tourists that can afford luxurious stays in Negril and Ocho Rios, at the cost of thousands of US dollars per vacation, the average Jamaican earns the equivalent of $1 US per hour constructing these hotels. You can be sure they aren’t working on island time.

What about that easygoing, laid-back island attitude?  At a rate of 13 percent unemployment, conflating an easygoing attitude with poverty is a detrimental conclusion. To put the gravity of Jamaica’s poverty in perspective, the US unemployment rate is about 8 percent; an unemployment rate of 13 percent is devastatingly high for a country you could pick up and drop in the middle of Connecticut.

In addition to the problematic generalization of Jamaicans as happy-go-lucky and carefree, our accent seems to lend itself to a special attention for parodying. (Remember Miss Cleo, who skyrocketed to psychic television fame with her unconvincing accent? And everyone who thought they could pull off a Cool Runnings accent?) The fact that patois is a dialect and not a language implicitly allows the media to mock the Jamaican accent in a way that would be unacceptable and unabashedly racist for any other culture.

As a dialect, speaking patois is immediately delegitimized because, according to post-colonial doctrine, English is the superior and the obvious standard. Our dialect is a stepchild to the more sophisticated speech of English and, consequently, we aren’t to be taken nearly as seriously as all those other folks who are speaking properly. Patois is assumed to be the language of the lower-class, uneducated masses, a highly problematic assumption given Jamaica’s post-colonial history. Essentially, speaking the Queen’s English is the aspiration; otherwise our very speech is deficient. Mocking our accent must be more acceptable then because our dialect is inherently downgraded via post-colonialism.

Those “100 Jamaicans” Volkswagen claims to have screened might say that we are, and hundreds more on social media sites might continue hitting that virtual “like.” As a Jamaican exhausted by parodies of our feel-good, catering-to-tourists-sipping-piña-coladas island culture, I’m ready to endure the blows for sticking to the unpopular opinion on this one.  We are “out of many, one people,” but a sampling of a population is not sufficient to speak for an entire people; most of all, they do not speak for me. Stamps of approval from your Jamaican friend, major media outlets that claim we’re being “too sensitive” about race, and Volkswagen’s focus group do not equate to a post-racial society where mocking a national identity is acceptable. The very idea that Volkswagen believes a focus group is capable of screening racism–and that racism can even be screened–is in itself telling.

The reasons for complicity may be manifold, and the double-edged, neo-colonial sword of Caribbean tourism remains a social and economic conundrum, clearly reinforced by Western projections of so-called harmless stereotypes.  But ads like this present an important opportunity for interrogating the structures bolstering racism, resisting mainstream narratives, and demanding accountability. When Ashton Kutcher played the role of Raj the Bollywood Producer in a similarly offensive Pop Chips ad, the masses overwhelmingly declared it to be racist and the ad was pulled.  So where’s the public outcry? Are we simply as happy and carefree as Volkswagen says we are?

In the meantime, I’d like to talk to those 100 other Jamaicans.  And while I’m at it, Matt Lauer.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Bunnyahh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 9:48am
funny how nobody saw it from this side.  But I'm not surprised.  bhm picks & chooses what to offend & defend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SamoneLenior Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 9:48am
Originally posted by Bunnyahh Bunnyahh wrote:

funny how nobody saw it from this side.  But I'm not surprised.  bhm picks & chooses what to offend & defend.
Sleepy


Edited by SamoneLenior - Feb 05 2013 at 9:49am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote Tbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 9:55am
Yall need to turn your frowns up side down LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Bunnyahh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 10:02am
who is "yall"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote rickysrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 10:02am

I understand why people would be offended when looking at it from an AA perspective but there is a difference

the accent and sayings were relatively authentic, not a caricature 

and the majority of jamaicans are proud to be jamaican 

... and by proud I mean from what I read here, AAs generally would be offended by being represented with ebonics or inner city colloquialisms (understandable given american history) ... jamaicans are generally proud of the accent and patois, even if they don't use patois everyday, most will use it on occasion in certain situations








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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Bunnyahh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 10:10am
Originally posted by rickysrose rickysrose wrote:


I understand why people would be offended when looking at it from an AA perspective but there is a difference

the accent and sayings were relatively authentic, not a caricature 

and the majority of jamaicans are proud to be jamaican 

... and by proud I mean from what I read here, AAs generally would be offended by being represented with ebonics or inner city colloquialisms (understandable given american history) ... jamaicans are generally proud of the accent and patois, even if they don't use patois everyday, most will use it on occasion in certain situations



 
Which is what I originally thought of when I saw this.  If the shoe were on the other foot & they were making fun of blk americans vernacular whether it be southern, slang, ebonics, west coast, east coast etc..  If a bunch of whites came with the yo yo yo son, why yall mad yo.  This coffee is poppin my nig!  stop  mean muggin & turn that frown upside down.  This office needs a pick me up, lets go for a ride in my whip gawd.
 
oh yes, how hilarious & non-offensive that commercial would be now, wouldn't itErmm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Missvw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 10:18am
It's stupid
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote rickysrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2013 at 10:36am

jamaican and african american attitudes about heritage are different ... that difference illustrates why generally, jamaicans would not necessarily be offended by the commercial

generally jamaicans are not offended 
- by being identified as jamaican or associated with other jamaicans
- by the jamaican accent or patois (jamaican colloquialisms) .. most will use patois on occasion
of course if the accent is a caricature that is different

btw, this is not a dig against AAs ... not at all.  there are deliberate, long standing institutionalized reasons why AA culture is viewed the way it is by AAs and why there is conflict in defining and embracing a cohesive, unifying AA culture

just my opinion ... agree or disagree







Edited by rickysrose - Feb 05 2013 at 10:38am
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