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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Night Card Game ("European Chocolate")

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

This week we bring together two distinct concepts.  Chris Matthews and Naomi Campbell.

Chris Matthews has been featured here before for his prowess in playing the race card.

This week Matthews also designated the word "European" as a potentially racist term based on nativist hostility, at least when it is used in reference to Barack Obama's policies. (via The PJ Tatler)

Notice how Matthews says "let’s keep race out of it for five seconds ..." and uses the term "nativist" as a cue for Ed Rendell to term the phrase "a slur."

Shift over to Naomi Campbell, known for throwing things at the help and generally being a spoiled celebrity.

Picking up on that image, Cadbury chocolate in Britain (owned by Kraft) ran an ad for an upscale chocolate bar with the phrase (but no image of Campbell) saying ""Move over, Naomi, there’s a new diva in town... I’m the world's most pampered bar."

Campbell may have a claim for the use of her name for commercial purposes without permission, but that is not enough, she's screaming racism because the ad was for a chocolate bar:

"I am shocked. It's upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me, but for all black women and black people. I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful."

The model's mother, Valerie Morris, backed her daughter, saying: "I'm deeply upset by this racist advert. Do these people think they can insult black people and we just take it? This is the 21st century, not the 1950s. Shame on Cadbury."

Disgust at the ad prompted members of the public to complain to the campaign group Operation Black Vote (OBV), which has called for Cadbury to apologise. OBV's Simon Woolley said that without an apology, the "only recourse black people have is not to buy its chocolate". He has written to the American civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to ask them to mobilise the country's Afro-American population. "I want them to know what their parent company is doing in Europe. I've asked them to support us."

Mr Woolley said that, for black people, being likened to chocolate was as bad as being called a golliwog. "Racism in the playground starts with black children being called 'chocolate bar'. At best, this is insensitive, and at worst it demonstrates Cadbury's utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury. The Eurocentric joke is not funny to black people.
Campbell is considering suing, and Cabury has apologized and pulled the ad:

"Cadbury understands that our latest advertising campaign for 'Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss' caused upset to Naomi Campbell and her family. Cadbury takes its responsibility to consumers very seriously indeed and we would never deliberately produce any marketing material we felt might cause offence to any section of society.
"It was not our intention that this campaign should offend Naomi, her family or anybody else and we are sincerely sorry that it has done so.

"We can confirm that the advertisement is no longer in circulation and we will not be using it in future marketing....We have been in discussions with Naomi's solicitors and can confirm that they have accepted our apology on her behalf as a conclusion to this issue."
Let's talk about all this.

First, since when did calling something or someone "European" constitute a racial slur?  Politically in this country, where we love economic freedom, calling an economic policy "European" may be a slur because it implies government policies meant to control individual economic freedom, but it is not a racial or racist slur.

Second, there may be uses of "chocolate" which have a racial reference, such as when Ray Nagin referred to New Orleans as a chocolate city.  But Cadbury clearly was not using Campbell's name in a chocolate ad because of or in reference to her skin color.  Campbell was mentioned because of her high profile spoiled-brat image.

So the non-racist racist term of the week is:  European Chocolate.

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  1. These people are desperate, their arguments growing increasingly shrill and unbelievable.

    It's true that relations between the races have grown increasingly tense and the rhetoric irresponsible under this president, who could have made a positive difference, if he'd chosen to, but instead he exacerbates the tension, using it to his political advantage.

    Once again, they preach one thing and do another. Everything's a game.

    On the lighter side, they sure are funny these days.

  2. As part owner of Kraft (all of 200 shares) I'm furious I wasn't consulted first before Cadbury backed down.

    Boycott/divest/sanction Kraft for being such wussies? Oh ... I feel a funny, mercilessly ridiculing song and dance coming on ... don't make me do this, Kraft. You'll never live down the snickers.

  3. I will at once return to Costco all of my (Swiss) Nestle's Crunches.

  4. Only 4 comments so far? Someone forgot to mention Sarah Palin in his blog post!


  5. We will only end racism in the US when we refer to everyone as white. Obama will be white. Naomi Campbell will be white. People of color will be white people of color. Literally, black will be white.

    Some may object that some person is actually not white. The response to this is "you racist!".

    The initial confusion will eventually be tolerated, and a blackless, raceless society will be achieved. If sex is a social convention, then certainly race is also. We can define it away. (sarc)

  6. I find it funny that Democrats are the only ones that hear the racial *dog whistle*, ala Newt saying Obama is the "food stamp President". The fact is that food stamp participation has increased to 44 million people under Obama. David Gregory heard the racist dog whistle, as he equates food stamp usage = black people. I guess I didn't read that chapter in my Conservative/Limbaugh/Koch manual, as that would have never entered my mind. I am just not wired like the liberals are, and for that, I am thankful.

  7. So not only is Naomi Campbell a spoiled, violent, diva-bitch, she's also pretty damn stupid to boot.

    Who knew?

    BTW, I'm also awaiting the day when a company wrongly accused of racism in its products or advertising gets a rep onto MSNBC, or CNN, looks these people straight in the eye, and says "How ****ing stupid are you people? No we're not pulling our product/ad/service/etc., deal with it!"

  8. 1. Matthews gets paid to be a demagogic buffoon. He's not discussing Romney's point: he's distracting from it.

    2. Steele looks weak throughout. No wonder he was an ineffective RNC chair. No wonder he was selected as the Republican spokesman on Matthews' show.

    3. I reserve my greatest obloquy for Rendell, who has served as governor of a major state. He knows, or should know, our economic danger full well--and he chooses to abet Matthews' buffoonery.

    4. If I typed what's passing through my mind about Rendell, Matthews, and Steele (in that order), it might not survive even Bill Jacobson's tolerant comment moderation.

    5. Nativist, eh? A mean-spirited narrow-minded person might wonder if we'll see that word adapted to advance an agenda.

  9. So Campbell gets a pass for being a whiny, spoiled brat (there's another word which is more accurately descriptive, but that'll start the "sexist!!!!!" accusations) because she's black.

    Campbell doesn't believe a bit of it. It's an accusation of convenience. She can't say "I'm not a diva!!!!!" - she'd be laughed out of the room and she knows it.