May 27, 2016

How racist would a culture need to be to give rise to a TV commercial like this?



I found that through the NYT: "Chinese Detergent Ad Draws Charges of Racism."
[I]n China, where racial stereotypes in popular culture are rampant, the commercial did not seem to provoke a great deal of reaction.

Xu Chunyan, an agent for Qiaobi [laundry detergent] based in the southeastern city of Suzhou, brushed aside the criticism, saying the ad was meant to be provocative. “We did this for some sensational effect,” she said. “If we just show laundry like all the other advertisements, ours will not stand out.”...

“Much of China’s simmering intolerance is color-based,” [wrote Raymond Zhou, a columnist for the English newspaper China Daily]. “It is not an exaggeration to say many of my countrymen have a subconscious adulation of races paler than us. The flip side: We tend to be biased against those darker skinned. It’s outright racism, but on closer examination it’s not totally race based. Many of us even look down on fellow Chinese who have darker skin, especially women.”

85 comments:

AReasonableMan said...

Thankfully we have eliminated racism in the US.

AprilApple said...

We are so conditioned to see racism and shout at it.. we fail to see comedy.

eh. a big so what. It's more a 'taste in men' thing. The black guy was way cuter!

Am I a cute-ist?

exhelodrvr1 said...

I thought you had to be white to be racist.

Franklin said...

If only the NYT and its readers had the same distaste for the genocide going on in the Middle East as they do for western notions of racism in Suzhou-based, Chinese detergent company commercials.

The Drill SGT said...

Asian cultures in general can be very Xenophobic.

damikesc said...

I thought "all cultures were equal".

So, uh, what's up with this complaint?

Gahrie said...

The fact is, the United States is probably the least racist country on Earth.

MadisonMan said...

Excellent commercial -- people are talking about it.

Hagar said...

The NYT could also write some articles of what the Han Chinese think of any of the non-Han peoples within the Chinese empire - not to mention the Wo-jen (Japanese).

John Tuffnell said...

I thought it was racist to promote the stereotype that Asian men have bad haircuts.

robother said...

Racism is just an essential part of the Chinese identity. To criticize them for it is....racist.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Gotta be a "cultural appropriation" angle to this, but it escapes me.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

...brushed aside the criticism, saying the ad was meant to be provocative. “We did this for some sensational effect,”

Hence, Trump.

Fernandinande said...

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...
Gotta be a "cultural appropriation" angle to this, but it escapes me.


That funny, er, I meant disgusting, ad has at least three horrible cultural appropriations:
- the music.
- the washing machine.
- electricity.

FullMoon said...

Ad encourages women to poison men with laundry soap disguised as candy. Apologies and disclaimers followed by Class action suit...

rehajm said...

Gotta be a "cultural appropriation" angle to this, but it escapes me.

They stole the premise from an Italian commercial and reworked it for a Chinese audience.

Gusty Winds said...

If the person that popped out of the washer after the transformation was a woman, the commercial may have been applauded.

Original Mike said...

I'd dive into her washing machine.

buwaya puti said...

It's normal by world standards.
The problem is that now you can see and hear what everyone is saying.

John Tuffnell said...

Great find, Rehajm.

It promotes another stereotype -- the Chinese steal intellectual property and the works of others, reengineer them, and churn out an inferior product.

Freeman Hunt said...

"The fact is, the United States is probably the least racist country on Earth."

This. A person saying that America is especially racist is the same as a person saying he doesn't know anything about the rest of the world.

Xmas said...

rehajm,

Holy crap! It's the same commercial!

Steve said...

"Ancient Chinese Secret" -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJP5f-fsHrs

It is exactly the same theme as Pears Soap in the US-- https://thefutureisvisual.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/kaufmann-mercantile-com-1.jpeg

Curious George said...

"Xmas said...
rehajm,

Holy crap! It's the same commercial!"

They couldn't even change the music.

The Godfather said...

The big question is, Who did the Italians steal the commercial from? My guess is, the Welsh.

Mattman26 said...

Nice rack.

Achilles said...

Asian people are all openly racist. You should hear my Father-in-laws comments about Japanese. Or Filipinos which work in Hong Kong and China similar to Mexicans in the US. Japanese people have particular views on everyone not Japanese.

It is a simple fact that the US is the least racist place on the planet. The only bastion of racism left in the US is the progressive/socialist movement.

mikee said...

There is no country less racist than the US, as far as I have ever been able to tell.

And the NY Times snarky explanation that it isn't just racism, but also sexism that fuels Chinese bigotry, is also worth noting for its subtle inclusion as a bogotry twofer. While the NY Times might have thought that the quote meant that Chinese women, especially, dislike dark skinned people in a racist manner, which is true, the author was also explaining the very true racist problem that Chinese men dislike dark skinned Chinese women. Twofer!

mikee said...

Bogotry, bigotry.
Which is worse? You decide.

Mike Sylwester said...

This is another example of why our blog should have an Intersectionality tag.

n.n said...

The Chinese rejected accusations of human rights violations because progressive liberals are advocates of reactive (i.e. abortion) and planned (i.e. cannibalism) parenthood.

The Chinese rejected calls for moderating their military and foreign behavior because of Obama's progressive wars, impulsive regime changes, refugee crises, and threats to Russia, Egypt, etc.

The Chinese reject accusations of racism because progressive liberals are advocates of class diversity schemes.

Perhaps we will regain some credibility when Obama et al leave office.

damikesc said...

This. A person saying that America is especially racist is the same as a person saying he doesn't know anything about the rest of the world.

Yeah, anybody arguing that others are less racist doesn't know others. Asia is awash in racism. Europe is very bad about it as well, but they keep pretending that they are not. Africa is a hell hole.

Michael K said...

"Many of us even look down on fellow Chinese who have darker skin, especially women.”

Some one asked the other day about Asian women carrying umbrellas in hot sunshine. This is it.

Also, the genetic basis for white skin is probably the fact that vitamin D is synthesized in the skin with sunlight. Dark skin was an evolutionary advantage in Africa (sunburn, skin cancer) but once humans began to move out of Africa to the colder northern Europe, they began to wear clothing and they encountered seasons and shorter periods of daylight. In equatorial Africa there are no seasons. White skin screened out less sunlight and allowed vitamin D synthesis in less sunny conditions.

In China, the same evolutionary forces caused northern peoples to have lighter skin. In both Asia and Europe, the further north, the lighter the skin. China, however, never had the OCA2 mutation for blue eyes. That occurred 9500 years ago in what is now Lithuania but no one has figured out what the evolutionary advantage is. It should have disappeared if there was no advantage,

Sebastian said...

So, any evidence on the effect of Prog diversity indoctrination on Chinese students in US colleges? Hypothesis: the more diversity crap inflicted, the higher the post-treatment racial "prejudice."

Bill Peschel said...

The Italian ad made me laugh, especially the use of "coloured" (which we're not supposed to say, of course). And look at that six-pack!

The Chinese ad was creepy, especially since the guy seemed uglier to my eyes.

rhhardin said...

Is it safe for septic systems?

JaimeRoberto said...

There has to be a way to blame this on white people.

DanTheMan said...

Well, there's NO WAY you could make that ad in the USA. It has no "Do not attempt." disclaimer.

For example:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/tZUT9egjmK8

Anglelyne said...

"Many of us even look down on fellow Chinese who have darker skin, especially women.”

Nothing peculiar to the Chinese here. Male preference for relatively lighter-skinned females is pretty much universal, even among dark-skinned people. It's unlikely that "class marker" or "culture" explains this particular manifestation of color preference.

madAsHell said...

My daughter taught English in Nanjing, China. She had only been at the school for a few weeks, when a video production crew showed up, and started filming her in the classroom. She resisted, and said "Shouldn't you be filming the other teacher? She has been here for several years."

"No, we are here to film you." The other teacher was black.

harrogate said...

"China, however, never had the OCA2 mutation for blue eyes. That occurred 9500 years ago in what is now Lithuania but no one has figured out what the evolutionary advantage is. It should have disappeared if there was no advantage."

I have heard it argued that the advantage is allure-based.

madAsHell said...

OCA2 mutation for blue eyes

Isn't the advantage shown by sled dogs with blue eyes? The light is reflected while the darker colors would absorb the energy.

Wilbur said...

Dan the Man wins.

Hagar said...

Lamarck is dead, but his spirit lives!

However, Mother Nature does not give positive encouragement; it is all negative.
If a mutation does not cause a disadvantage, it will survive.

Michael K said...

" Male preference for relatively lighter-skinned females is pretty much universal, even among dark-skinned people."

I had a medical student two years ago who is a rather dark skinned Indian girl who is an engineer and now a medical student. She is gorgeous ! Just gorgeous. Among her other attributes, she is so mobile that she can stand on one foot and put her other leg along her ear.

She will go far. She affects a kind of dumb "Valley Girl" persona but is smart as a whip. One of my best students.

She told me her parents used an Indian dating web site to meet. Her mother chose her father from his photo. Both are physicians.

Terry Canaan said...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jg1IxwZPOQs/TQ_-48Q0ILI/AAAAAAAAAV8/LOj6PVWfKRE/s0/pears-racist-advertising1.jpg

madAsHell said...

She affects a kind of dumb "Valley Girl" persona

I recently discovered that my daughter can switch the dumb blonde thing on, and off. She never uses it on me. She has me wrapped around her finger, but I have seen her use it on other males. My wife does not have a dumb blonde switch.

William said...

The Italian commercial mocked white men and thus passed unnoticed. Is the fact that I'm not deeply offended a sign of my maturity or yet another example of white smugness?......I see the need for a Tide with Bleach commercial that highlights that product's ability to get the faded yellow out of undergarments. Someone like Margaret Cho gets stuffed into the machine and comes out looking like Kate Upton.

James Pawlak said...

That's OK: Someday everyone will be Chinese. (Quote from a Chinese detective story.)

Fernandinande said...

Anglelyne said...
Male preference for relatively lighter-skinned females is pretty much universal, even among dark-skinned people. It's unlikely that "class marker" or "culture" explains this particular manifestation of color preference.


There's very high correlation (>.9!) between skin tone and IQ. If human intelligence is mostly the result of sexual selection (Here or here), then preferring light skin or blue eyes is probably also the result of sexual selection.

Michael K said...

" I have seen her use it on other males."

I think this girl uses it to hide her intelligence in social settings. I understand.

It was half way through the semester before I realized how smart she is. We would be looking stuff up on my laptop and she knew just how to modify stuff in the OS. I used a laptop connected to the university network to answer questions that required a bit more depth.

I finally turned it over to her when we were meeting.

Hagar said...

Evolution is not so much about the best adapted as about the least mal-adapted as the environment changes.

Michael K said...

" the contention that higher intelligence evolves in colder climates."

"The 10,000 year explosion" has a chapter on the rapid evolution of IQ in Ashkenazi Jews in the Middle Ages when they were restricted in intermarrying and to professions that required math skills. The same evolutionary forces left them with lethal mutations in phospholipids like Tay-Sachs Disease.

It might be climate or some other factor related. There are also arguments that Neanderthals had larger brains. Maybe hunting skills.

There is always someone talking about how porpoises have brains the size of humans but porpoises have no prefrontal area, which is where intelligence probably resides.

I am presently trying to get through Lewin's Genes XI. Medical literature is going all genetic.

Roughcoat said...

China, however, never had the OCA2 mutation for blue eyes. That occurred 9500 years ago in what is now Lithuania but no one has figured out what the evolutionary advantage is.

The science on blue eyes (when, where, who) is by no means settled. About all that we can say for sure in that regard is that blue eyes developed in Indo-European peoples sometime before they went forth on their epoch-making Volkwanderungen from their putative homeland in the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC).

Concerning the advantage of blue eyes: they are hot-sexy, which is a very big advantage indeed.

I have deep green eyes which I am given to understand mutated into existence on the site of the Guinness brewery in Dublin.

Luke Lea said...

Racism is only a "problem" when, and where, more than one race is present in significant proportions. Thus, for example, when Swedes naively elected to allow large numbers of Somalis to immigrate into Sweden, they were unknowingly creating "the problem of racism" in their formerly homogeneous society, which they will now have to wrestle with for generations to come. They thought they were better than everybody else but now they will learn that they aren't.

DanTheMan said...

>>Dan the Man wins.

Thanks, Wilbur. I've won a few threads here, but Ann must be keeping my prize money, as I've never seen a dime of it...

rhhardin said...

Populations that don't intermate for a long time begin to diverge in all sorts of things.

IQ is one of the things and it's racist to notice it and cruel not to notice it, if you're designing outcome-based affirmative action laws.

Typical paper. I'm not in the field but I think they're careful to unconfound all sorts of other effects from the result.

rhhardin said...

Good character is not inherited. Nurture not nature in that case.

Dr Weevil said...

I've read somewhere on the web that blue-eyed people tend to be better at recognizing shapes, browned-eyed people better with colors. That would make blue eyes a useful adaptation in areas that get a lot of snow: you have to find your way home from a winter hunting trip by recognizing the shapes of hills and trees and lakes, not their colors, because the whole environment is basically black, grey, and (mostly) white for months of the year.

Allegedly a hugely disproportionate number of the greatest painters have been hazel-eyed: obviously they need to be very good at shapes and colors. Not that hazel eyes guarantee multi-dimensional vision: I have them, but am also slightly color-blind, though I am really good at geometry. I have a little trouble with blues and greens. One uncle is completely colorblind - can't tell a red light from a green light except by position. I don't know what color his eyes are, and he'd obviously have to ask someone else to tell him.

Sam L. said...

I found it funny. So sue me(You can call me Sue).

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Mikee @11:09 "Bogotry, bigotry.
Which is worse? You decide. "

On Althouse, buggary bigotry.

vicari valdez said...

lots of 'scientifically-verified' lessons on eugenics popping up in these comments. :/

Michael K said...

Apparently, blue eyed men find blue eyed women more attractive. That doesn't explain the persistence of the color but might explain why a recessive trait survives.

Michael K said...

I don't know about eye color and colorblindness but here is a case where the subject was colorblind in one eye but not the other.

Interestingly, it was a woman whereas most colorblindness is in males.

Only unilaterally dichromatic subjects can tell us how colors seen by a dichromatic eye appear to a normal eye. In the color-blind eye, our unilaterally dichromatic subject sees wavelengths below and above her neutral ("grey") point (which occurs at 502 mmicro) as, respectively, a blue equivalent to about 470 mmicro and a yellow equivalent to about 570 mmicro in her normal eye.

Paco Wové said...

Stop it, people! You're scaring poor v.v. with all your talk about icky genes!

vicari valdez said...

i'm not 'scared' but thank you for speaking on my behalf.

vicari valdez said...

also eugenics is not real science.

Ann Althouse said...

"They stole the premise from an Italian commercial and reworked it for a Chinese audience."

The NYT article I linked to talks about that:

"Amid the controversy over racism, another accusation was tossed into the mix: plagiarism. As the website Shanghaiist pointed out, the advertisement’s concept is nearly identical to that of an ad that was broadcast in Italy nearly a decade ago — except for one significant difference. In that video, a skinny, pale white man is placed in a spin cycle, only to emerge as a black man flexing his muscles with a hip-hop soundtrack while a tagline proclaimed, “Coloured is better.”"

Ann Althouse said...

The NYT has the link to the YouTube of the old Italian commercial.

Roughcoat said...


Are all genetic changes adaptive? It's my understanding (which may be flawed) that they aren't necessarily adaptive, i.e. that sometimes shit just changes and for reasons that remain unknown they are perpetuated. Maybe because they're not maladaptive?

Gahrie said...

also eugenics is not real science

It most certainly is...we've been using the same ideas in animals successfully for thousands of years. You can begin your studies with Gregor Mendel.

Now as to it's morality.....that depends on the tactics used to control the breeding population.......the American Left chooses to use abortion and birth control, but was willing to use sterilization when allowed.

buwaya said...

Re eugenics - it depends what you mean by that. The subject is complex and at the edge of research, but is easily misunderstood as simply a rhetorical formula.

If you want to follow new developments as they come I recommend Razib Khans Gene Expression blog. Its one of those areas of science where there is a very rapid stream of new research coming in.

As for direct work on the genetics of human cognition, there is a great deal going on, and as it happens, a great deal is known. Genes have been identified that do have an effect on intelligence however defined. As this is a complex phenomenon, its clear that biological population differences will be similarly complex and involve large numbers of genes, as well as other biological factors not yet identified (epigenetics, etc.).

Gusty Winds said...

William said...
The Italian commercial mocked white men and thus passed unnoticed.

Are Italian's still considered white?

Michael K said...

"sometimes shit just changes and for reasons that remain unknown they are perpetuated. Maybe because they're not maladaptive?"

The 10,000 year explosion makes a good point that mutations that are not beneficial fade away as genetic material is diluted. Inbreeding, as practiced by Ashkanezi Jews in the Middle Ages and by Amish, can cause things to persist even if they are harmful.

Most, if not all, neutral mutations fade with a few generations. We have enormous amounts of inactive gene material in our chromosomes that does nothing and is of interest only in calculating the age of mutations.

Terry said...

Are Italian's still considered white?
The Mountain Guineas are, provided they have blue or green eyes.

Balfegor said...

Re: eugenics -- at the most mundane level, parents are engaging in eugenic thought every time they suggest that perhaps their son should think twice about marrying a blonde floozy he met at a strip club, or their daughter should hold off on marrying that grungy unemployed hipster with weird facial hair who is very into art and political activism. It's not science -- just common sense.

On the subject of racism -- sure the Chinese are racist. But they're not racist in the sense of hating other races. See, e.g. this interesting map which aligns perfectly with my experiences and my prejudices so I think it is terribly compelling. Unlike, say, the Koreans or the Indians, Chinese are not much bothered by the prospect of living nearby someone from a different country (partly this may be because they have less experience of foreigners than the Koreans or the Indians, but let's ignore that for now). I don't think the Han Chinese have any particular hatred for other races -- they just think they're better than other races.

That said, I think the Chinese do (justifiably) resent the Western powers for the unequal treaties. That's political, though, not really racial.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Obligatory: Simpsons - Mr. Sparkle ad

Fernandinande said...

Roughcoat said...
Are all genetic changes adaptive?


No. "Genetic drift" changes population gene/allele frequencies but is random and not adaptive.

buwaya said...
[eugenics] is complex and at the edge of research, but is easily misunderstood as simply a rhetorical formula.


I first (mis)read that as "understood as a simple mathematical formula", namely the "breeder's equation".

If you want to follow new developments as they come I recommend Razib Khans Gene Expression blog.

It's here. I used to read him when he was on DiscoverBlogs. He seems to be all over the place nowadays.

The Godfather said...

Re eugenics: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Original Mike said...

"There's very high correlation (>.9!) between skin tone and IQ."

Wow, I must be a fucking genius.

Fernandinande said...

The Godfather said...
Re eugenics: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" Oliver Wendell Holmes.


"One Generation of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Is Enough"

Smilin' Jack said...

She's going to be really disappointed when she finds out it also made his dick smaller.

damikesc said...

Racism is only a "problem" when, and where, more than one race is present in significant proportions. Thus, for example, when Swedes naively elected to allow large numbers of Somalis to immigrate into Sweden, they were unknowingly creating "the problem of racism" in their formerly homogeneous society, which they will now have to wrestle with for generations to come. They thought they were better than everybody else but now they will learn that they aren't.

Yeah, it's really easy for homogenous areas to decry racism elsewhere. I found it endlessly amusing seeing Democrats from Vermont discuss how racist the South was.

"We actually HAVE black folks here. Your state does not."

Anglelyne said...

vicari valdez:

lots of 'scientifically-verified' lessons on eugenics popping up in these comments. :/
...
also eugenics is not real science.


Translated from SJWese, these sentences mean: "I don't know anything about genetics, and can't factually refute anything said here, but my feelz have detected wrongthink".

Paco: Stop it, people! You're scaring poor v.v. with all your talk about icky genes!

She blinded us with Science!.

mikee said...

Apropos of nothing, I grew up during forced school busing. The protests and school "riots" in my hometown in NC were as nothing compared to when busing hit Boston several years later.

Racism still occurs where and when one looks for racism. Or just charges racism. And where collectivist privileges are prioritized over individual rights.