After being ignored by corporations who laid back and took Black dollars without actively marketing products to consumers of color, companies are starting to reach out to minority consumers and target them through commercials. But many feel these targeted commercials, which air on stations like BET and Centric, or are showcased during programming most likely viewed by Blacks or other minorities, are rife with stereotypes.
Recently, a CLUTCH reader brought this new State Farm commercial, staring Selita Ebanks and Mehcad Brooks, to our attention. She was concerned because she felt it showcased Black women in a negative, stereotypical light—loud, and complaining about Black men. Although I felt the commercial was funny and didn’t necessarily take a jab at Black women, but rather played up the idea of the nagging girlfriend/wife, I understood her concerns.
Whenever these types of questions come up, I’m curious to know what others think. How I view something will not necessarily be how others interpret it, and between our differences lies a very valuable conversation.
Commercials do not always showcase people, not just Black people, in the most positive light. Their point is not only to sell the product, but also to get people talking as well as entertain the consumer. There have been other commercials that have made me tilt my head and think, hmm . . . did they REALLY have to have us sounding like THAT (Case in point, the Popeye’s commercial featuring the sassy Black chef), but for me, this wasn’t one of them.
While I understand it is extremely important for us to monitor and hold companies, shows, and the media accountable for how they portray us, how do we know when they’ve crossed the line? When does something move from being funny to being stereotypical? And do conversations like this show that we are just too sensitive about race, or are our concerns valid?