Hey Hey! That’s Raci… Oh, actually maybe it’s not.

Last year there were a number of occasions when the Australian sense of “humour” raised hackles in the USA and led to a large amount of international media comment on endemic Australian racism. We blogged about a couple of those awkward humour moments in 2009, here at Hey Hey, What’s Racist? and later, about “dwarf racing” at Hey Hey, Now it’s the turn of the “Little People”.

But today, Huffington Post, has raised questions about another nugget of Australian culture, this time an ad for KFC which was broadcast during the recent cricket “tests” between Australia and the West Indies. Before we look at some questions let’s roll the tape…

So let’s look at some questions here…

  1. Is this ad racist?
  2. I have no doubt that an American ad showing a white guy silencing a black crowd by feeding them fried chicken would be deemed racist. But is the cultural context of the ad being misunderstood by US viewers?
  3. Given Australia is infused by US culture at every level, should Australian advertisers/film makers/writers now take into account American “values” in order to avoid accusations of racism?

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3 Responses

  1. I do not think that Australia must follow america’s footsteps. Every coutry in the world, save for a handful that the US think are not worth it, have elements of American Culture in them. Why? because they are, up to now, the strongest country economically and politically.

    I think we as a nation have our own values, experiences and culture. Australia has no requirement to do what America says. However, the Government does follow Americans as they fear they will be attacked and accused of harbouring terrorists.

    The most important thing in this ad is: The West Indian cricket team was touring Australia when the ad began airing. West Indian fans are known to have a lot of fun, and love their music and dance. Therefore, they showed the West Indian supporters (in the maroon tops to show support for the West Indian cricket team) having fun at the cricket. Now the thing is, most people in the West Indies are either of African or Indian descent. This means that they are a predominantly dark skinned group of nations.

    Now let’s look at the context of the ad. Mick, the Australian supporter in the Green and Gold of the Australian team, is sitting amongst the fans of the opposing team during a cricket match. In order to relate to this season of cricket, they had West Indian supporters, who we should all know, are dark skinned. Had this ad not been deemed racist, they might have done something similar next year with England’s Barmy Army, who are touring next year with their cricket team. As many English supporters are caucasian, would you consider it racist to give them fried chicken to calm them down from their chanting and crazy trumpeting? I don’t think so. Why? Because it is an American thing to find giving chicken to non-white people to calm them down a racist. why? Because America has a stereotype which has not been forgotten. By keeping it in their heads, they are continuing to remind people of the stereotypes which don’t exist in most other parts of the world.

    also, any viewer of the ad must see it in the context that it is meant to be seen in. That context is that Australian supporters find sitting in the wrong stand as awkward.

    And from everything that is to be considered, from the context to the target audience and the culture in Australia and the lack of stereotypes on people of african descent, I don’t see how it can be considered racist.

  2. I’m getting pretty tired of americans calling Aussies “racist”.
    This ad was not in anyway racist – if it were any other race or pigmintation, there would have been the same result…
    the point was that KFC was a crowd pleaser and if you wanted the crowd to be quiet, get a bucket of KFC.
    the fact that in this ad the people happened to be dark skinned doesn’t mean it’s racist.
    The stereotype that african-americans love Fried chicken is just that – AFRICAN-AMERICANS. I don’t know about you, but the people shown in the ad didn’t strike me as African-americans.
    Dark skinned people don’t have to be african-american to be dark skinned, therefore the people who deemed this ad “Racist” are in fact the ones who are the racists, not the people who made the ad

  3. […] can read our post on the KFC ad here which includes a link to our YouTube post on the ad. The comments on the YouTube post can make for […]

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