Thursday, July 13, 2006

White is coming

In an attempt to win a "most peculiar ad of the year" award, Sonny created the "white is coming" billboard in the Netherlands, advertising the upcoming release of a white PSP. The billboard, which shows a white woman holding a black woman's face in a rather domineering way with the text "Playstation Portable White is coming," was pulled by Sony after generating cries of racism.

In terms of racism, well, if no one were conscious of race then this really wouldn't mean anything to anyone. If the billboard were a woman with white hair holding the face of a woman in black hair, it would just be an odd picture. The question is, is anyone really not conscious of race? Were the people who designed this ad really so color blind that it didn't occur to them that there was societal context that would make this offensive to some people?

But while my initial reaction to the billboard was, that could be seen as racist, my second reaction was, what the fuck are they trying to say in this ad? White is going to kick black's but? I mean, Sony put out a black PSP: are they now saying the white one will be superior and all those people who bought the black one are losers stuck with the inferior gadget?

Yes, the people who designed this ad seem to have not thought through its racial ramifications (unless they did it on purpose to stir up controversy), but really, it appears the designers didn't think through anything about this ad at all.

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