Ad creates a lot of controversy

Charles Powell

Super bowl XLVII generated controversy from the power outage to the referees seeming to favor the Ravens during the final moments of the game.

Amidst all of the hoopla of the event there is more fodder for argument that has nothing to do with what took place on the field other than all of the viewership the game generates.

The Volkswagen ad featuring a Caucasian male speaking in a Jamaican accent, which slowly spreads as his good vibrations catch on when other people ride in his car.

At first people around him are puzzled by the fact he is speaking in that manner not only because of ethnicity, but also because of where he is from — Minnesota.

For some people this ad is flat out racist, one comment I found particularly interesting was made by New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

“It’s like blackface with voices,” Blow was quoted as saying on has responses from various people some of which are Caucasian and decry the ad as being racist.

Interestingly enough two people who claim a Jamaican descent says the ad isn’t racist. One with the tagline.

The Wanted’s Princess came out in support of the ad.

“Everyone calling the Jamaican Super Bowl ad racist obviously knows nothing about our culture. We love and endorse it.”

In truth she can only speak from her perspective.

In my own mind I don’t have a problem with the ad I only found it enjoyable and felt the spirit of it was right.

I am for the most part Caucasian and have only met a few people with ties to Jamaica, so do not consider myself an expert.

I can only speak for myself, but I will share my reasoning.

To contrast this ad I thought of Billy Crystal coming out in blackface during the Oscars, which was in truly bad taste.

It brought up a horrible time in American cinema when other cultures weren’t at all respected. Instead they were mocked for a cheap and dirty laughs. Obviously this ad did the same to others.

The portrayals also reflected the fact other cultures weren’t truly known about and it wasn’t limited to black people I can recall a movie where Mickey Rooney portrayed someone of Asian descent horribly.

For some this kind of practice still goes on such as Jar Jar Binks in Starwars and to others the robots in Transformers.

Personally, I would give more credence to Jar Jar than the robots just because I think the robots represented part of the hip-hop culture, which they would have picked up on as they perused all the information on the web.

The Super Bowl ad to me shows a value of the Jamaican culture and reinforces an idea of leaving the stressful life of the states for the islands.

One of my favorite country songs is “Get Into Reggae Cowboy” by the Bellamy Brothers in it they sing the tale of a cowboy meeting a Rastafarian messenger in New York City.

The song features steel drums and other unique Jamaican sounds. I love the song because it mixes cultures and for me it gives evidence of how beautiful it can be when they are blended.

For people who do find the ad and other things offensive certainly vote with your dollars and let the company know you won’t buy their products when they do things you take issue with.

The Rastafarian culture’s appeal transcends to more than just the people of Jamaica and what some people think of as derisive may be intended as a form of homage to its value. For me that’s what the Volkswagen did.