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Is Television Picking on White Guys? Part 2

emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
edited August 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
Many moons ago, I started a D+D thread pointing out a pattern I noticed during primetime American TV: when a commercial calls for a fool or a butt of a joke and the cast of that commercial is interracial, a white guy will usually fill that role. This isn't a malicious conspiracy to bring down Whitey; this is just the ad makers understandably following a path of least resistance. Using a white actor who takes a light-hearted jab on the chin to sell a joke is the ad makers' way of avoiding offending minorities by sidestepping decades-old negative stereotypes. It is my observation that, when a commercial's cast is interracial and the commercial is meant to be funny, a pattern follows where a white guy will be that commercial's fool/thief/awkward nerd/blowhard/etc.

That was the gist of the old thread. Discussions followed claiming that because there are more white actors in ads, we see more white male fools than non-whites. This newer thread is me wanting to see how things have changed in American advertising in the past three years. This is just something I noticed while watching TV. There's no goal or 'call for change' or any of that nonsense - if television is picking on white guys, so what?

If you want to add an example commercial to see if the pattern holds true (or doesn't), feel free. Just keep them recent. International examples are okay, too.

White fools:
An amateur dance performer ruins a surprise.
A friend is caught snoring in public. How embarrassing!
Two soccer Moms chat during practice.
This guy has a creepy tortilla chip obsession.
Another guy with a tortilla chip obsession tries to snag a few chips.
An office worker is mildly startled by her moronic co-workers' shenanigans.
Low blood sugar causes crankiness.
A picky couple shops for a new refrigerator.
A clown accidentally terrifies all the kids.
A loudmouth breaks a robot's heart.
Sasquatch gives a bully his just desserts.
An older commercial where a celebrity comedian chats up a celebrity athlete while driving.
Granted, comedians will always play the fool in commercials.They're typecast that way.
Outsourced customer service causes nothing but headaches.
An office drone can't find China on a map.

White and non-white fools together:
A clever fireman outwits his rookie teammates.
Everyone except the wife is insanely enthusiastic for this beer.
Two students check out girls below the ankles.
I'm not sure where this one goes. Ghosts? Fast food? I don't get it.
Two Moms talk about corn syrup. There are no winners here.

Non-white fools:
A jogger is accidentally beaned by a soda can thrown by a jealous wife.
A crafty office guy sneaks out right under the boss' nose.

emnmnme on
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Posts

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Feral wrote:
    TV is still stupid and makes white people look stupid and black people look stupid and people of every race and gender look stupid and is made by stupid people and will make you stupid if you watch too much of it.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    If there is no goal why make the thread?

    PSN: allenquid
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    If there is no goal why make the thread?

    Debate and Discourse

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • UlisesUlises Registered User
    yes, it's like some infernal modus operandi

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    So your goal is discussion.

    PSN: allenquid
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Feral wrote:
    Feral wrote:
    TV is still stupid and makes white people look stupid and black people look stupid and people of every race and gender look stupid and is made by stupid people and will make you stupid if you watch too much of it.

    The only thing I'd add is that white men are the "default" so they get to be the patsy most of the time when nothing else about the patsy matters and that making a white male the patsy means you don't run afoul of anyone crying racism/sexism/etc.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Debate and/or Discourse!

    (Although that's technically just debate 'or' discourse, since 'or' shouldn't imply exclusivity on its own. /nerd)

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Feral wrote:
    Feral wrote:
    TV is still stupid and makes white people look stupid and black people look stupid and people of every race and gender look stupid and is made by stupid people and will make you stupid if you watch too much of it.

    The only thing I'd add is that white men are the "default" so they get to be the patsy most of the time when nothing else about the patsy matters and that making a white male the patsy means you don't run afoul of anyone crying racism/sexism/etc.

    I can't say it really bugs me either since more often than not it's going to be a white guy saving the day with maybe a plucky minority helping them.

    PSN: allenquid
  • reVersereVerse Never odd or even Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    I, too, am appalled at the horrible racism and bigotry that us white men must endure on daily basis.

    reVerse on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    reVerse wrote:
    I, too, am appalled at the horrible racism and bigotry that us white men must endure on daily basis.

    This post is going to attract a dozen links to Louis CK videos, won't it?

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Without looking at your examples, I tried to think of the first commercial which relied on the "someone is a fool" MO. The first one to pop into my head was the tacos at Joe's desk (names forgotten) commercial from the cell phone carrier, which is a black guy making a fool of himself. Based on my single piece of anecdotal evidence, I think you're entire assertion is unfounded. Unless you can find data that there's a ratio disparity between these commercial characters and general race representation on tv, I think you're trying to make a crisis out of nothing.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    So, you don't want to discuss how hard it is for non-white actors to get any parts unless race is central to the character, but you want to talk about how white guys are portrayed as stupid on television?

    News flash here, white guys are portrayed as EVERYTHING on television.

    Sentry on
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    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • MuridenMuriden Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    reVerse wrote:
    I, too, am appalled at the horrible racism and bigotry that us white men must endure on daily basis.

    This post is going to attract a dozen links to Louis CK videos, won't it?

    Better just fire up youtube now.

    MrGulio.332 - Lover of fine Cheeses. Replays
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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    Sentry wrote:
    So, you don't want to discuss how hard it is for non-white actors to get any parts unless race is central to the character, but you want to bitch about how white guys are portrayed as stupid on television?

    News flash here, white guys are portrayed as EVERYTHING on television.

    I don't get the sense that he's bitching. Just observing.

    Anyway, I think shryke nailed it:
    shryke wrote:
    The only thing I'd add is that white men are the "default" so they get to be the patsy most of the time when nothing else about the patsy matters and that making a white male the patsy means you don't run afoul of anyone crying racism/sexism/etc.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    I'm of the opinion that you can improve your life significantly by not watching commercials of any kind.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that you can improve your life significantly by not watching commercials of any kind.

    This. I've been so much happier since I stopped watching comercials.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior //
    Astro Girl, Paragon of Titan - "And Justice for All" M&M3e
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that you can improve your life significantly by not watching commercials of any kind.

    By how will I be manipulated by increasingly sophisticated psychological techniques for other's profit if I don't?

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that you can improve your life significantly by not watching commercials of any kind.

    How are you going to know how awesome Honey Nut Cheerios cereal is without a cartoon bee telling you about it? :bz

    Yes, TV commercials are generally dumb flashes of light and sound to attract eyeballs. Yes, they appeal to a low, low common denominator. Compelling reasons for why they should be ignored - but Americans love their TVs and they do watch these ads. Joe American can recognize the Geico Gecko or Ronald McDonald but can he name his representative in Congress? I am very sure these ads must hold a powerful influence over us.

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  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    I am very sure these ads must hold a powerful influence over us.

    Okay. Do you consider the prevalence of white actors in these influential commercials to be detrimental, beneficial, or uneventful to society?

    tea-1.jpg
  • Space CoyoteSpace Coyote Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    Yes, TV commercials are generally dumb flashes of light and sound to attract eyeballs. Yes, they appeal to a low, low common denominator. Compelling reasons for why they should be ignored - but Americans love their TVs and they do watch these ads. Joe American can recognize the Geico Gecko or Ronald McDonald but can he name his representative in Congress? I am very sure these ads must hold a powerful influence over us.
    That pretty much explains why this couple:
    Yj6C4.jpg
    is like this couple:
    Homer-Simpson-and-Marge.jpg
    and this couple:
    WorstCouples-ReaderChoice-Raymond9.jpg
    and this couple:
    King-of-Queens-19.jpg
    and this couple:
    according-to-jim-season-8-finale.jpg
    and this couple:
    lois_and_peter_griffin-1116.jpg
    because advertisers have a very short time to tap into an image that you are familiar with.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    I'm happy to report that I've only ever watched two of those shows.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    A friend linked me to a documentary called "Consuming Kids" about children-focused advertising. I haven't watched it yet, and frankly I forgot about it, but this thread has reminded me.

    YouTube link here (it's about an hour long):

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    moniker wrote:
    emnmnme wrote:
    I am very sure these ads must hold a powerful influence over us.

    Okay. Do you consider the prevalence of white actors in these influential commercials to be detrimental, beneficial, or uneventful to society?

    People will have a slightly lower opinion of chubby balding white men in real life after being exposed to sitcoms and fool commercials for years. When I see the first three seconds of a commercial starring a chubby white male, I expect some kind of misfortune will befall him before the end of the commercial. I don't know if this is extreme enough to be considered conditioning.

    EDIT: You've never seen this commercial before but you immediately recognize the setup. What will happen to this chubby Dad? Something good?

    emnmnme on
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  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    Ulises wrote:
    yes, it's like some infernal modus operandi

    technically, you are my LARP character

    steam_sig.png
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    emnmnme wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    emnmnme wrote:
    I am very sure these ads must hold a powerful influence over us.

    Okay. Do you consider the prevalence of white actors in these influential commercials to be detrimental, beneficial, or uneventful to society?

    People will have a slightly lower opinion of chubby balding white men in real life after being exposed to sitcoms and fool commercials for years. When I see the first three seconds of a commercial starring a chubby white male, I expect some kind of misfortune will befall him before the end of the commercial. I don't know if this is extreme enough to be considered conditioning.
    My wife pointed out that though those commercials can make the white guy dad look kind of goofy, they tend to make the women in the commercials look like shrill, unbearable bitches.

    You feel bad for the kids in those commercials, since dad is a moron and mom is a twat.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    By the way, the clown video is my favorite from the list.

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • AbsalonAbsalon Registered User regular
    A lot of the misery and awkwardness for white men is self-inflicted.

    Everyone knows women hate fun and you enjoying yourself - so getting into a relationship or getting married is a surefire recipe for no longer being able to do fun things with the guys.

    I mean jeez.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    Modern Man wrote:
    I'm happy to report that I've only ever watched two of those shows.

    Shit, I thought everything but the animation is pictures of ads.

  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    I've actually been kind of proud at how much this has improved over the last few years. Not out of pity for the poor doofy white guys of course, but because more and more I feel like I'm seeing racial or gender minorities in plain old rolls, not filling a quota or playing the Asian.

    The taco cart guy is a great example, poor guy with foot in mouth disease, or the very successful All-State commercial guy, who feels so safe and fatherly I'd let him watch my children.

    I mean clearly there's plenty of subtle negative crap out there, but getting better is definitely a good thing. And I think it improves society. It helps young people grow up thinking of more a more integratedsocial and economyc society as just the way things should be.

    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    How about commercials of studly white men doing XTREME things for dairy queen or old spice?

    God this shit is getting old.

    parabol
    nin_new2.gif
  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Hipstah Kitteh Registered User regular
    Demerdar wrote:
    How about commercials of studly white men doing XTREME things for dairy queen or old spice?

    God this shit is getting old.

    Ad companies are typical ten to twenty years behind on trends, depending on the age of the company.

    // PSN: wyrd_warrior //
    Astro Girl, Paragon of Titan - "And Justice for All" M&M3e
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    I mean, OP basically recognizes the issue: it's pretty hard to make somebody the butt of a joke without invoking some kind of cultural stereotype, and it's much safer as an advertiser to do that to middle aged white men than any other group. You don't see many ads that make white women look stupid, either.

    Also, if you're trying to be culturally "edgy," making the dominant group in society the butt of your joke makes sense.
    I noticed during primetime American TV: when a commercial calls for a fool or a butt of a joke and the cast of that commercial is interracial, a white guy will usually fill that role.

    a white guy will also usually fill every other role

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Mikey CTS wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    How about commercials of studly white men doing XTREME things for dairy queen or old spice?

    God this shit is getting old.

    Ad companies are typical ten to twenty years behind on trends, depending on the age of the company.

    not really

    cultural "trends" are usually 10-20 years ahead of the people with all the buying power, which is who advertisers are actually targeting

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
    pluto was a planet and I'll never forget
  • ThePantsAssociationThePantsAssociation Registered User regular
    A lot of those products in the commercials you cited are primarily purchased by women, who control most household item spending. The commercials are attempting to appeal to that audience. You don't make your target consumer the foil. Therefore, men take the role.

    It's nothing malicious. It's just the biz, baby.

    0877-0816-4178 Nintendo 3DS with me!
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    A lot of those products in the commercials you cited are primarily purchased by women, who control most household item spending. The commercials are attempting to appeal to that audience. You don't make your target consumer the foil. Therefore, men take the role.

    It's nothing malicious. It's just the biz, baby.

    :(

    I tried very hard to pick from a wide range of everyday products, purchased by both men and women for the under 30 crowd.

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    emnmnme wrote:
    Modern Man wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that you can improve your life significantly by not watching commercials of any kind.

    How are you going to know how awesome Honey Nut Cheerios cereal is without a cartoon bee telling you about it? :bz

    How long have you been waiting for an appropriate setup to use that in context? :P

    Shadowfire on
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    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    The thing is, stereotypes matter. You can't just ignore them and pretend like they don't exist. If you make a commercial that features a really dumb black guy, you could try to justify if by saying "hey, aren't there plenty of dumb black guys too?" But people will just see it as reinforcing a negative stereotype, so everyone just uses a white guy instead.

    Unfortunately, the end result is that white men get a lot more variety of roles than anyone else, so they become seen as the default human being.

    Pi-r8 on
  • ElkiElki hegemon globalSuper Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    In a very unscientific search, Elki went to tv.com, pulled the first 25 TV shows from the 'top 100' and pulled the first image from each one.



    74645.jpg

    79488.jpg

    75381.jpg

    33332.jpg

    16772.jpg

    33484.jpg

    24440.jpg

    30144.jpg

    79071.jpg

    62683.jpg

    75367.jpg

    75264.jpg

    22374.jpg

    4673.jpg

    58448.jpg

    76739.jpg

    77121.jpg

    69107.jpg

    75394.jpg

    75146.jpg

    68744.jpg

    75441.jpg

    16942.jpg

    78043.jpg




    It turns out TV is full of white people. What do you want you to know? Whether TV's white people are portrayed as something or the other? They are. You're welcome.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Do you believe that white people are somehow being unfairly treated, emnmnme?

    I figure I could take a bear.
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