When will companies get it right?

Recently TMZ uncovered a casting call document from an ad agency working with luxury carmaker Acura whose Super Bowl ad had a peculiar request. The document requested that the role of the car dealer be played by a “nice looking, friendly” black actor who is “not too dark.”

The commercial aired during the Super Bowl and starred comedians Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld, and apparently an actor who fit the bill.

TMZ obtained the casting document from a disgruntled actor who presumably did not fall on the “right” side of the color spectrum, and was upset with the casting agency’s narrow-minded approach.

Although I’m not surprised, this is just another example of how people of color are continually marginalized in Hollywood. Even if you’re talented, you have to contend with some people’s colorism that view lighter skinned people as “nice looking” and “friendly,” while those with darker skin are often cast as scary and menacing.

The notion that dark skin is somehow suspect is nothing new. Throughout our history black and brown people have been relegated to second-class citizenship and have been looked upon with suspicion. Racial profiling, stop and frisk policies, and the repeated shootings of unarmed minorities by police and others are just an extension of ideas expressed in this casting document. However, the fact that an agency felt it right to put such blatant discriminatory language in writing is extremely problematic.

  • Ms. Information

    Sigh…not surprised though…I am sure there are thousands of documents like this in circulation….but racism is over and we should get over it right? Right.

  • LadyT

    Good…..let the men see how it feels to be discriminated due to skin color.

  • QCastle

    @Lady T,

    I think black men have been there and done that.

  • Ms. Information

    Black men don’t know discrimination? Girl please.

  • Yb

    Now can we stop saying the white people do not differentiate black people buy our skin tones. Let’s retire this “Kelly and beyonce are still the same to white people” mess.

  • Yb

    Hopely now we can stop say that white people see all black people as the same and don’t differentiate by skin tone.

  • http://harperdavis.hubpages.com Harper

    I’m equally annoyed that they would love a comedian. Just a’shucking and jiving our way through 2012, aren’t we?

    I swear, if there’s one thing I’m glad about since Pres. Obama was elected is that his presence is weeding out the idiots. No more of this incognito mess, I wanna know who you are with your racist selves!

    Sorry, I haven’t had lunch yet and am particularly riled up today, lol.

  • Alexandra

    Haha! Right ?!! That needed to be said.
    Some people swear up and down that Whites see all Blacks as ‘Black’, as if they can’t tell the difference. Yet the blame is aimed towards Whites when Blacks are faced with light/dark discussions. History obviously shows, they can tell the difference….

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    So what happens now? Will anything change because we know about this? Has Acura apologized and fired this ad agency? Or did Acura know about this before hand?

  • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

    this isn’t about race.

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

    Er…Lady T…you have heard of the “brown paper bag” tests from back in the day, haven’t you?

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Speaking of which, I guess this pissed off Kevin Hart and caused him to pi*s on dark-skinned blk women.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Defend your position Gryph.

  • Ms. Information

    Chic don’t fall for the bait…

  • CurlySue

    As offensive as that casting call was, it didn’t say that the black actor had to be a major comedian. It was saying that the black actor would be featured WITH a major comedian. It was Jerry Seinfeld in this case, I think.

  • http://changecomesslow.com/2012/04/18/light-skin-is-good-white-skin-is-better/ Nikesha

    Imagine if the roles in the commercial were reversed. Let’s say Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy were the major comedians and the casting call for the salesman were “Nice looking, friendly. Not to redneck.” We wouldn’t even be having this discussion because not only would that never happen but if someone had the gall to print and post such a casting call in Hollywood the story would go viral in minutes. Someone would be fired for being racially insensitive, racist and discriminatory. It just wouldn’t happen. But what did happen is perfectly okay.

  • HowApropos

    The company came out with an excuse, suggesting that the lighting would be an issue…


    If they can have commercials with black and white people together, then this is just another excuse as to why white people would rather deal with their own.

    Just another excuse that they hope black people would believe and leave alone.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    I can’t wait for a blk owned South African company to start manufacturing a car. The more we can do for ourselves the better. I’m so sick of this crap.

  • http://www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir


    I think Lady T is talking about the blk male on female skin color descrimination.

  • Dreaming

    I think I am one of the few people who knew what Lady T was talking about.

  • JC

    You need to read more on the topic. Black men may not experience as much color based discrimination when it comes to dating (in American, it sure happens in terms of dating in other countries).

    But when it comes to academia and the criminal justice system, dark skinned black men know full well that all else equal, people will think that they are less intelligence and more violent.

  • binks

    Right! I never knew where that saying came about, sure in the general sense they still see us as all black but they do see the difference and differentiate accordingly. But this isn’t really shocking or new sadly

  • Joan

    Not surprised. You can look at a lot of the commercials and and pretty much see that darker skinned black people are rarely chosen.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/TheKMichel K. Michel

    “Good…..let the men see how it feels to be discriminated due to skin color.”

    Black men don’t know how it feels to be discriminated due to skin color? Why would you say such a thing? My interest has been piqued.

  • LadyT

    Oh my…..I can’t believe how some people are acting as if they do not know what I am talking about. What a bunch of busters.

    Thank you sistas for being on point.

  • QCastle

    @Lady T
    @Chic Noir

    Really? Wasnt is noted that the reason why some white Americans warmed to Obama was because he was light skinned?

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    As an actor I see similar things all the time.

  • A NY Girl

    when does this end? I feel like I’m being trolled being born into a world where something as arbitrary as skin color has such a massive ripple effect on quality of life. damn.

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