The Qiaobi detergent TV commercial on the mainland is indeed racist and offensive. Yet, even more interesting, is why it seems to provoke outrage only in the US media and not anywhere else in the world.
US and English-language news media have been quick to report on the commercial, yet few bother to tell their audiences that the long version with the black actor that went viral online was never broadcast; only the shorter version was shown without him.
Americans are quick to condemn.
The popular Vox.com waxed indignant: “This ad is blatantly racist... it’s also a reminder that attitudes over race and skin colour in China can be very bad.”
CNN editorialised along a similar vein.
By now, you have probably seen the viral version. A muscular black man whistles and winks at an attractive young Chinese woman. She calls him over, puts a detergent packet in his mouth, and pushes him headfirst into a washing machine. She then sits on the lid while the man shrieks and the washing machine spins. Moments later a young, Asian-looking man emerges in clean clothes, and the woman grins.
I don’t know about you but I find the Idris Elba-lookalike black actor far sexier and attractive than the effeminate lady boy that came out of the washer.
Still, what’s intriguing is the US news media blasting China for being racist towards blacks, and the commercial is being offered as Exhibit A.
That’s a bit rich coming from a country that was founded on black slavery, whose devastating legacy still haunts the current generation. Thirty-seven per cent of prison inmates in the US are African-Americans, though they make up only 13 per cent of the total population. Blacks on average live five years less than whites. A typical white family has a net worth of US$134,200, while a black one scrapes by with slightly more than US$11,000. US police killed at least 102 unarmed black people last year; unarmed blacks are five times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed whites. Such awful statistics roll on and on.
What you have is a politically correct media that helps to hide the underlying racism running deep in American society and projects it on to other countries.
China has racial problems. But murderous racism against blacks is not one of them.