FC has pulled an ad made for the Australian market that some Americans are describing as "blatantly racist." The commercial, aimed at cricket fans, features a white cricket player caught in a crowd of rowdy dark-skinned West Indian fans (Australia's national team was playing the West Indies when the ad was aired). "Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?" the white player asks the camera, then holds up a bucket of fried chicken to mollify the mob. "Too easy," he quips with a grin. While KFC maintains the commercial isn’t racist in an Australian cultural context, outraged American critics say the U.S.-based company should have known better. Is KFC getting a bum rap, or did the company show poor judgment? (See the ad below.)
As long as it’s not racist in Australia, who cares? The ad was only meant for Australians, says Business Pundit, so KFC shouldn’t have to tiptoe around content that might be racist in other countries. The ad obviously "operates in a completely different cultural context," so "why implicate an American-based multinational" for tailoring its campaigns to the countries it is marketing to? It’s just “part of doing business.”
"Americans call KFC ad racist. Who cares?"
KFC should have thought twice: Australia might be far away, but it’s "still on Planet Earth," says Dan Mitchell at the Big Money. We’re interconnected through countless media outlets; it doesn't take "finely-tuned racial sensitivity" to realize that Americans might be offended. A "huge, international, U.S.-based corporation" like KFC's claiming ignorance of "America’s history with chicken and black people" is very hard to believe.
"KFC says racist ad was 'misinterpreted'"
Don’t blame KFC–blame self-centered Americans: The problem here isn’t KFC, says Duncan Riley at the Inquisitr, an Australian news site. It’s "ignorant Americans who believe there’s no culture in this world other than their own." Any cultural connotations that might make the KFC ad racist in the U.S. are "completely foreign" to an Australian audience. In the end, U.S. outrage says more about the "endemic" problem of racism in America than it does about KFC's attitude towards minorities.
"Here we go again: Australian KFC ad deemed racist by Ignorant Americans"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- How to take the perfect profile picture for online dating, according to science
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- The one simple thing that can make you much more impressive
- The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi dismantles another ObamaCare myth
Subscribe to the Week