Thursday, March 19, 2009

Racist Test


Quick, what was your first reaction on seeing this Russian ad for a new ice cream?

I have to admit that I thought it was cute and funny. I saw this at Comedy Central´s Indecision blog, who in turn got it from Huff Po. Some of the comments are also pretty good.

But we are aware that you americans are a bit hysterical about accidently showing your racism.--Arodo

You know what's way more offensive than a smiling cartoon Obama in a Russian ad?
The American writer imposing his own culture-specific taboos on other countries--nobodyatall
I also remember reading someone saying that we in turn have used Russians to sell blast shelters, which one would be more offensive?

In any case, the Huff Po writer Alex Leo is all offended by this. I just can't see why.

This does remind me of several conversations I have had regarding racism here in Argentina. Yes, it exists like it does in just about every corner of the world, but it is also different. We as Americans can not come down to another country and impose our own culture specific taboos on other cultures.

One case in point is that many people in Latin America use the term "negrito" or "gordita" and they are used as terms of endearment. I remember being in the States and calling my girls gorditas and a friend of mine was shocked that I might be sowing the seeds of some future neurosis in my child. Yes, she is right that if I lived in the States I should not be calling my child fatso or chubby, but gordita has nothing to do with those terms and my girls live in Argentina. If I were to move back, I would have to stop referring to them in that way.

If you are an expat, have you started to notice some of your own cultural projections? Have you been able to overcome them? Or have you wrapped yourselves in this new culture, snuggled up to your significant other, slapped them in the ass and called them "mi gordita(o)de mi corazon" and have gotten a kiss back instead of a slap or a cold shoulder?

Instead of it being a racist test, you have now turned it into a cultural adaptation test. Good luck, now start practicing.

Now I just hope some of that Obama inspired marketing mojo finds its way over here.
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