whats with all this monkey business?????
I saw on CNN that a Japanese cell phone company called, E-Mobile had a cell phone commercial that depicted Senator Obama as a monkey. In the commercial they set up a mock "CHANGE" rally that was set up as an Obama rally. The controversey comes with the company's mascot being used to portray Obama. The company's mascot is a monkey.
Needless to say, there are numerous groups of people who are upset about this. I am not...and here is why:
1) Japan is a TOTALLY different world from America. The executives at E-Mobile have made statements saying that they didn't know that African Americans are portrayed as monkeys and other primates in racist publications and illustrations. When they realized this, they pulled the commercial off air. Japanese people (and people from other countries), for the most part, are not even aware that such a thing is considered racist.
NOTE: When polled on the street, the people in Japan didn't even make the racial connection...some didn't even make the connection that it was a satire of an Obama convention.
Heck, there are people in some American communities here in the states that don't even know that calling us "Colored" is taboo! I think its alright to assume that the Japanese, just didn't know.
2) The company's mascot is a monkey, which to my understanding symbolizes a lot of positive things within the culture. Since the monkey is (and always has been) the company's mascot it can be assumed that it would play a staring role in the advertisement.
3) The commercal is hilarous. The part at the very end where the monkey has it's arms up in victory had me dyin'!
If the company knew of the racial undertones associated with the monkey here in America, then all the anger would be justified. Some groups are saying that the Japanese should know about the racial undertones. I only partially agree with this because how COULD they know?! They're in JAPAN! I don't think that American History is a prerequisite in their education; especially since Japanese History isn't a prerequisite in ours.
I am not saying I'm not disappointed. I am, but not with the Japanese executives who approved the commercial. I'm disappointed in all of us. We don't take enough time to really study up on each other's cultures. I'm guilty of this, too.
Most of us don't care to learn about anything outside of our tiny little bubbles. I feel like if a worldwide effort was made to learn more about each other, then issues and misunderstandings like this can be avoided.
I mean c'mon....some of us don't even know things as simple as not calling Little People "midgets".