Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A drink that will turn you White?

The following strange advert from Thailand has been decried as racist for its marketing of a skin lightening beverage. It features a brown bear that wishes to be white, being lorded over by a smug Asiatic. I find the gesticulations of the costume bear amusing, almost rubber-suit-godzilla-like as the bear roars in frustration. But the racist part is harder to grasp without it being explained. Quoting the same article linked above:

The woman in the commercial tells the bear that he could become a white bear in 10.4 million weeks. She then drinks Verena, implying that humans were luckier because we have the chance to become whiter quickly simply by consuming the drink.

The part of the video that has drawn the most public ire occurs at its end, when the woman’s father appears and asks if everything is OK between her and the animal. She looks at her dad and then at a family portrait in which she has dark skin. Her father is apparently black and speaks Thai with a farang accent, hinting that the woman was actually born to an African family, then grew white with the help of Verena.

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