Maybe This VW Super Bowl Ad Isn’t Racist; Maybe You’re Racist

Is this man guilty of 'blackface with voice'? (YouTube)
Is this man guilty of ‘blackface with voice’? (YouTube)

By now, you’ve probably written your heated HuffPost post about how horrible those Nazis at Volkswagen are for coming up with such a racist commercial for the Super Bowl. (Actually, HuffPost already found a new racist Super Bowl ad; they have moved on.) The spot, which was leaked early–because who cares, they already paid their bazillions, so why not release it on YouTube days before the actual event? It will only generate more buzz that way!–features a Caucasian man with a Jamaican patois accent running around his office like Michael Scott in that one episode where he comes back from Sandals.

And it did generate “buzz,” so there’s that. Unfortunately, it was the kind of buzz that comes from a dozen angry blogger/Sean Paul bees flying towards your face.


Well, we’re of two minds about this. First of all, just a big congrats to Volkswagen for having this be your best (pre?) Super Bowl ad. Those spots cost, as we mentioned above, a bazillion dollars, and you only want your best and brightest material to shine through. And if that is this commercial, so be it. (Or rather, SoBe it, because you remember when the iced tea drink also had some sort of Super Bowl scandal?) It makes us really long for the days of Peter Stormare, but whatever.

Here’s the thing though. It’s not a racist advertisement. Not really. There are totally Caucasian people who live in the Caribbean islands and some further South American posts who speak along the lines of what Wikipedia describes as “post-creole speech continuum.” They are pretty rare, and to be honest we only know this because of one terrible live concert in Roatan that included popular songs like “You Don’t Have to Be Gay to Ride a Ferry.” But at least we can say conclusively that yes, there exists at least three white men who definitely speak with an authentic “Jamaican” accent. And four, if you include this guy.

You are welcome, Mr. Volkswagen CEO. We’ve just made the airtight defense for you next time Charles Blow references “blackface with voices” on CNN.
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Maybe This VW Super Bowl Ad Isn’t Racist; Maybe <em>You’re</em> Racist