Why is it OK to mock Indians? UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why is it OK to mock Indians? UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2010 at 10:14 AM

A writer in The New Republic explains why the corporate-backed attack ads on Bill Halter, the ones that make the baseless claim that Halter outsourced jobs to India, are racist.

The poorly produced ad, which somehow cost Americans for Job Security $900,000, trades in crude cultural clichés and carries the clear implicit message: Don’t vote for that politician who does business with the funny-sounding Indians.

Our society strangely tolerates mocking Indians. There are never, for instance, ads attacking outsourcing to Ireland with Irish actors, even though that country has made a major push to become an outsourcing hub. Or imagine an ad featuring Hassidic Jews and klezmer music and the outrage that would generate. Or remember the storm of condemnation that rightly rained down on Senator Bob Corker for his racially-tinged attack on Harold Ford. Yet, similar treatment of Indians seems to be perfectly acceptable in many quarters.

UPDATE: As I've said before, Blanche Lincoln, while condemning this specific ad, is using all the basic inaccuracies -- and even some Indian imagery of her own -- in her own advertising. Huffington Post takes note.

UPDATE II: Blogger says several TV stations refusing to air the ads.

UPDATE III: Readers of Wash. Post columnist pile on Blanche Lincoln for the ads.


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