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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

*Osiyo*, Rob:

I've been meaning to email you and ask if you have seen a recent Capitol One tv ad. It begins with generic white clueless dad excitedly announcing to the family that they are going to visit "the land of their ancestors." The kids gasp, "We're going to Ireland?!" To which dad says, well we didn't have enough frequent flyer miles, so think more...distant ancestors. Next thing you know, they are stepping off a canoe into some kind of primitive Amazon rainforest village where the natives literally have grass skirts and bones plates in their noses. When clueless dad introduces himself as "Cousin Ed," he's immediately drilled with curare-tipped darts and falls face down. We next see him lashed to a bamboo pole by the chanting natives who are leading him towards a giant black cauldron and we hear dad say, "Say, what's that smell?" clearly implying that the natives are cannibals. The "chief" then says the tag line "What's in your wallet?" in some kind of "ooga booga" language.

This is stupid and offensive on so many levels its unbelievable. First of all, who has ancestors from Amazonia who migrated to Ireland and THEN came to America? Second, the phrase "distant ancestors" is clearly meant to mean "primitive ancestors." Third, if these idiots had actually shown up in a real Amazonian village, they would've been swamped by natives eager to show them a great time in exchange for hard American currency. And fourth, as far as I know, there is not now, nor has there ever been any evidence of cannibalism among Amazon rainforest tribes.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring this one to your attention if you hadn't already seen it.

*Do na da go hv i*!

[Patrick Barkman]

Some correspondence

I've heard of this ad but haven't seen it myself. I even looked for it on YouTube but couldn't find it.

Someone said it involved natives, but I wasn't sure if they were South Seas natives or what. If they're Amazonian Indians I can include them in my contest, but not if they're South Seas Islanders.

Can you verify that they're supposed to be Indians? If so, I'll use the commercial.


>> They sure looked like stereotypical Amazonian Indians and the Clueless Family pulls up on a river in a canoe as opposed to an outrigger in a lagoon. None of the natives appeared to be wearing the sort of tiki mask stereotypically associated with Pacific islanders. I'll try to watch closer the next time I see it. <<

I just read another comment on the ad. This person thought the natives looked like they were from Papua New Guinea at first glance. But he may not have inspected it as closely as you did.

I can still include the commercial for its denigration of generic "primitive" people. As with my Zagar critique, though, it would be stronger if we could assert that the natives are Indians.


Rob's comment
The bit about "ancestors" implies that Native people are located in the distant past. I.e., that they're not contemporary. It's one of several stereotypes in this ad.

Related links
Indians as cannibals
Zagar the horrible

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