It's about our community and our spirituality!

The Marketing Of Black People


Has anyone seen that Fiber One commercial with the black man in his pajamas and housecoat standing at his garbage can next to the curb?  A man walking by takes notice and asks the guy why he’s throwing away his Fiber One when he loved it so much.  The black man said he really did like it.  But his wife said it can’t be good if he liked so much and so he had to throw it away.  Then the dude in pajamas starts getting cocky and says something like he can eat what he wants.  At that, the guy walking by glances behind the brother’s shoulder.  The black man notices the eye movement and realizes his wife is standing right behind him.  He dons a stupid look of acquiescence and says in his meekest voice, hey honey.  Obviously his tail just went between his legs.

Or has anyone seen the Midas commercial, where a black man and a Midas technician are under a vehicle discussing what the car needs.   The black man is on a roller from the left, the technician is on a roller from the right.  The tech is telling the guy what his options are.  The black man is about to reply with what he wants when his black wife suddenly rolls up under the car, ignores her husband, and tells the tech what she wants and as quickly as she made her entrance rolls away.  No discussion what so ever.  The commercial ends with the tech telling the man that they have donuts in the waiting room.  The woman rolls back up under the car and tells the tech, he doesn’t need any donuts and rolls away again.

Or has anyone seen the commercial where the black man and woman walk up to a pharmacy counter.  The man looks like he is about to cough up his lungs.  The black woman asks the pharmacist where they can find the cough medicine.  The pharmacist answers the question.  The woman looks at her husband as if she’s looking at a child that has gotten on her last nerve.  She grabs his hand and starts leading him away with a pretty rough, come on.

Or has anyone seen the commercial with all the talking parrots.  The commercial shows different scenes where people have obviously recently purchased birds that talk.  But instead of the birds saying something cute like “pretty bird” or “let’s have a kiss” or “Polly wants a cracker”, the birds say things like “where’s my invoice” or “did you pay me”.  Eventually we see a woman in a pet store at a desk in disarray with papers everywhere looking for an invoice.  The commercial was for Quick Books software designed to help keep you organized.  There are a handful of scenes where the people are looking at their bird with obvious displeasure.  But in one scene there is a black couple and the woman is looking at her husband as if to say can’t you do anything right.  And the husband is looking all sheepish and stupid as if he’s the epitome of a dufus.

In all of these commercials there is a blatant reinforcement of the racial stereotypes of black women being overbearing and black men being emasculated by overbearing black women and disharmony in the black household.  These commercials, and many others just like them, bank on the falsely held belief that black households have a reputation of being more easily broken than their white counterparts.  And the idea that it’s just an injection of a bit of comedy into marketing doesn’t always cut it.  We see our President make subtle references to the bowling talents of Special Olympians and people lose their minds.  It was meant as comedy, but people understand something offensive when they see it regardless of how funny it is.

A commercial that showed a black woman being disrespected by a black man in the same way black men are disrespected by black women probably wouldn’t be very successful despite its less than successful stab at comedy.  And I haven’t seen too many commercials with interracial couples where a black man is being cut down by white women or black woman is cutting down a white man.  The emasculation of the black male is a unique comic phenomenon reserved almost exclusively for the black female.  The utter contempt the black women have for a black man is so thick and blatant how anyone can find that shit funny is beyond me.  If the general relationship between black men and women is so tenuous, the last thing we need is to be depicted as being at each other’s throat over something stupid like a bowl of cereal.

Fiber One will be one of the cereals you’ll aren’t likely to find in my house.  And Midas can keep it mufflers.  Quick Books ain’t worth a quick look in my humble opinion.  Companies that are quick to promote their products tainted with these racially biased concepts are companies that are not even trying to be sensitive to the black community.  Whether true or not, deserved or not, we do not need to see any more depictions of any animosity between black men and black women.

Monday, March 23, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Well I can understand your displeasure at such caricatures. However, I assure you they aren’t limited to black couples. If you look at a lot of tv shows that began to spring up in the 90s, the big thing was the stupid husband using some retarded quip before being handed his balls by his wife, or any other female character on the show for that matter, both black and white characters being involved. And I’m sure that commercials were not cut out of that loop either.

    I think it speaks to a greater issue that pervades all races, and that is the emasuclation of men in general. Back in the early part of our days growing up (I assume you’re roughly my age–almost 30?) men were still men, albeit, not the same kind of “manly man” that their fathers were. And we are now flooded with a bunch of individual men, who have been so emasculated since birth by their very own mothers. In the meantime, across the gender block, women were basically being told to be all they could be in the world. Go be the CEO, go join the boy’s football team and kill boys, whatever the situation may be.
    So while we’re out riding our bikes with training wheels, helmets and elbow/knee pads trying to avoid pain of all sort, in some effort by our mothers to shield us from the world and any sense of what boys go through to be big tough men when they grow up (hence social laws like the seatbelt/helmet requirements, the lack of games of Tag or dodgeball in school), the girls can be treated like dainty girls or to be the big imposing authority figure who will make it with or without us down the road. Wihtout a real man to be a guiding figure in our lives, boys these days either gotta figure it out, or they’ll be just as screwed as half these commercials show.

    And then, later when we grow up, us guys still all talk big around our friends, and then the ladies come on the scene, let us know its time for our late night snack before bedtime. And we’d try to save face, but all the guys’ ladies are there and none dare speak up for fear of being slapped silly in front of all his friends by a girl.

    Don’t ge me wrong, I can appreciate your stance regarding the stereotype about the relationship between black men and women, but wanted to let you know it goes beyond race to a general gender imbalance.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

      But there is a big difference. Right now I turned on my television and I’m waiting for a commercial. They don’t come when I want to see them. I’m literally waiting for a break in the news so I can report what I see in the next commercial sequence.

      There was a commercial for the Shriners Circus. There was a commercial of Herbal Essence with a woman shaking a mane of auburn hair. A local exterminator was showing people how to rodent proof their home. There was a couple talking about the air ducts in their home for Stanley Steamer. There was a commercial for a local law firm and how they’re ready to protect me. There was somebody driving a Hyundai Santa Fe. In that sequence there wasn’t a single black person or black couple.

      In the next commercial sequence there was Entertainment Tonight talking about the star of the new show The Mentalist in their next episode. There was a commercial for PODS moving and storage systems. There was a commercial for NCIS and the Mentalist. There was a commercial for a new show called I Get That A Lot. In that sequence, there was one black person, Ice-T, featured as one of the guest stars going undercover.

      There really isn’t much to counter the negative black images on television. While buffoonery of white people does occur, white people are often depicted as the epitome of courage, love, compassion, heroism, generosity, strength, support, loyalty, honor, leadership, and etcetera. If black people were given the same positive to negative press ratio as the white community it wouldn’t be such a problem. But that does not appear to be the case.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. If I didn’t believe that there was a covert plan to emasculate black men myself, I would dub you Mr. Fantastic and tell you to stop reachin.

    Comment by agent_jack | Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. I don’t think that the subject of the post was to say that black men were being emasculated. The point of the post SEEMS to be saying that the relationship of black couples are dominated by these nagging neck rolling stereotypical black women.

    If you haven’t noticed the mammy is back and doing brisk business on television commercials, i.e. Pinesol lady with the classic neck roll as she tells you “that’s the power of Pinesol baby!” The mammy on the roller coaster smooshing her two children’s faces into her bosom while screaming in an obnoxious way that NO other person on the ride is doing.

    It is about the fact that there are a ton of stereotypical losers coming out WITHOUT a counter to the programming. The fact that black women are being portrayed as loudmouthed, overbearing and when they do have a man, hey he is someone that I should be dominated.

    So a “covert plan to emasculate black men,” I don’t think so. A right out and open plan to stereotype black women and their behavior towards black men, YES.

    And remember agent_jack just because a person is paranoid doesn’t mean that people aren’t out to get them!

    Also, for Mike, it is not about emasculating men while shoring up women. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. I don’t think that women wanting their sons to be safe with helmets and pads is emasculating. I think that “old boy” type mentality for men is over. The definitions of what makes a man a man and a woman a woman are changing and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Reply

  4. BP, this is right on. We can atest to the fact that white society has often portrayed the Black woman as a bossy, pushy, controlling, domineering personage. The Black mammy is portrayed, even in slavery times, as one that could tell “massa” about himself in a domineering fashion and get away with it. Unfortunately, whats happening is the younger people in the Black collective don’t know how to decipher these symbols, and in fact refuse to see them thus, the marketing companies are getting bolder in resurfacing such charicatures of Black women and Black people in general.

    Comment by Ensayn | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Reply

  5. Brother P,
    I agree, there is definitely an imbalance of things when it comes to portrayals on tv, especially with respect to race.

    Black Sentinel,
    Its not so much the mothers making their sons wear helmets and pads and all that that bothers me, its when certain things become laws, which I see as overblown reaction, and an obvious money machine for local governments.

    (As a side note- I don’t find much covertness in the emasculation process these days. Nor in the open stereotypes of blacks in general, to include relationship material. I find both to be pretty overt.)

    I don’t even disagree with a change in how men and women develop. I just see many odd changes that overemphasize safety and overregulate horseplay. Boys are supposed to get cuts and bruises. If that’s ‘ol boy’ thinking, I guess thats what it is then. I think boys/men need to be made to realize the positive aspects of sensitivity. My father, his father, and myself grew up where the man is more silent on such issues, which can/has been detrimental in relationships with their kids and/or wives. But it needn’t be to the exclusion of a man’s natural strength, which I find is necessary in the balance of a woman’s naturally more serene and even sensitive nature.
    I think the empowerment of women is good (not so much the ultra femi-nazi way necessarily), and in the event of no man around, a woman has to be the strength for her kids and family. Part of why women have developed a much stronger attitude…in my humble man’s opinion anyways, is in regards to the breakdown of men being men….how do I put this? When a man is man enough to tell a woman he loves her in order to get in her pants, but when the responsibility of an ensuing child comes around, he acts like a boy and disappears? Am I making any sense with my take on things?

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Reply

  6. Great post! I always feel like I am the only one who sees these things.

    Comment by rhondacoca | Friday, March 27, 2009 | Reply

  7. Brother peacemaker have you seen the BET (Black Evil Television) show The Game? It is the most degrading thing I’ve ever seen in a black television show. Viacom really did a number putting this show together. What’s worst is the show is running all day today for young impressionable minds to watch. I have yet to see a social issue taken seriously on this show. One episode addressed one of the characters taking steriods and admitting it to his wife. She instead of doing the right thing and getting help for him helps him cheat and pass a drug test for an NFL team, then agrees on a time line for him to stop instead of immediately, please check it out all the episodes I’ve seen so filled with ignorance and coonery. I’m a 19 year old college freshman and I know the influence media can have on people. It’s truly sad, I think the show should be cancelled or have a total writer recall. Let me know your thoughts if you ever get a chance to check out the show

    Comment by Markez Prewitt | Saturday, March 28, 2009 | Reply

  8. What TV ad isn’t lame? Car commercials are some of the most retarded forms of advertising on television today. I was never once compelled to buy a product based on its television advertisement. Thank goodness for that blessed mute button on my remote! One of the greatest features on a TV set! I hate commercials with a wild vengeance!

    Comment by Mark | Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Reply

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