Want a successful commercial? Just include a “funny Indian” accent

It seems that many companies are resorting to using “funny Indian” accents to market products. I first saw this with the MetroPCS Tech and Talk commercials that showed two South Asian men discussing some of the company’s promotions. The men had thick accents and were presented as, for lack of a better description, “uncool losers.” The commercial plays on stereotypes that often desexualize South Asian men due to their accents and also use other stereotypes that paint South Asian men as “nerdy” and socially awkward. The MetroPCS commercial paints these men as being tech-savvy but lacking in other social departments as one of them later goes on to display his (lack of) dancing skills. 

Other companies have followed suit. Recently, Boss Revolution aired a commercial in which an “idiotic” South Asian man talks about his hand-injuries resulting from dialing so many pin-numbers when calling internationally. His over-exaggerated accent adds to the idea that he is somehow out of touch with technological advances and oblivious to their existence. At the end of the commercial, he is slapped by a WHITE hand, sending a message that says: Don’t be like this idiotic foreign buffoon, and make calls like a more “civilized” person… This commercial is absolutely repulsive, and in no way humorous. It plays on colonialist, “White-man’s burden” tropes and blatantly champions one racial group over another.    

Finally, a Clearwire Corporation commercial involves two South Asian male hot-dog vendors. They too, also possess, “funny” (obviously fake) South Asian accents and are also portrayed as cheap; another characteristic stereotypically attributed to South Asians. Again, Clearwire attempts to sell a product by equating their competitors to “cheap, out-of-touch” South Asian men. I really do not know if this ridiculous, bigoted tactic is successful, but it really concerns me that so many companies a resorting to playing off of racist stereotypes to sell products.

These commercials are offensive and should be spoken-out against.





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