Popchips are this new snack that advertises itself as a newer, healthier, all-natural potato chip. It has enjoyed a little promotion and was fast becoming a household name due to some of its celebrity sponsors and investors, namely Ashton Kutcher.
Most Americans are familiar with Mr. Kutcher of Punk’d fame and former husband of Demi Moore, however, he is making headlines for his not-so flattering involvement in the recent Popchips campaign. Kutcher has a comedic side and most people understand that anything that he is going to be involved with is going to try to be funny. He is often very charming and easy to get along with at most Hollywood step and repeat events. For the most part, he has enjoyed a positive, mainstream reception. That is until he dressed up in brown-face, caricature of an Indian man. After enjoying just a few television runs, which will undoubtedly go viral on Youtube, the advertisement was pulled because many people thought the advertisement was overtly racist. One of the people who has been very vocal about his opinion on this matter is Indian comedian Hasan Minhaj. He feels that Kutcher dressing up in a fake-Indian outfit, face-Indian voice and wearing brown makeup was completely over the top and racist. In light of the controversy Popchips has issued a formal apology and has since taken down the advertisement. However, the question that begs an answer is, does Minhaj’s opinion represent the majority.
A resounding NO, the advertisement is not racist. One can parody without being remotely racist. There is a huge difference. The Popchips commercial is without a parody. I actually made my way over to Youtube to watch the video in its entirety and I find it stunning how the people who are so offended by the Kutcher’s portrayal seems to think that the other three characters portrayed herein are perfectly fine enough to warrant absolutely ZERO mention at all. The Bollywood producer character, however, somehow embodies everything about Indian culture.
Let us be clear. There is a huge difference between being racist and pandering to a stereotype. I do not think that Popchips meant the ad to be racist. It may have been a little crude but racist it is not. The ad undoubtedly played up the typical idea of what an Indian male stereotype would be doing on a dating site. Did they call Indian’s names? Did they suggest they’re inferior? Did they denigrate things cialis buy online that Indians hold as sources of national pride. Now that would be racist.
Indian culture stands on its own as being easily identifiable, easily accessible, and endowed with a rich history and bright future. If you really think that ads like this detract from it, you have less confidence in who you are then you should. If we are able to have an actual sense of humor and laugh at ourselves, we are able to assimilate those identities and they become a source of pride. Instead of whining and moaning about the add, why not make a counter ad lampooning their ad? That would have showed pride and, quite frankly, had a lot more wit than simply complaining about the advertisement.
In short I feel that people should stop taking themselves so seriously and get a sense of humor.