A little video slap …

Here’s something I found ages ago on Hello, Negro but haven’t posted about because I was still thinking through what was bugging me about it:

I’m trying to decide who the audience for this is meant to be. I mean, ok, there are some obvious answers here, but I wonder if there’s more to it than the surface.

(A little backstory before I continue: We offer job search assistance and job readiness classes at my job. We get a lot of people in, and we help a lot of people find work. But we also get plenty of people we can’t place, people who have advanced degrees from their home countries but not enough English to be able to use them, people who are undocumented, people who are minimally skilled, people who have lost their jobs because the neighborhood has changed and the once-enormous industrial sector has gotten smaller and smaller and workers have been turned out.)

So what’s the funny here, really? No, really. Look at the expressions on the faces of the ‘business people’ who are crowding the truck hoping to be given a day’s work. Think about the images you’ve seen of Latin American and Eastern European day laborers … Notice the difference? The disgust and disdain on the faces in the clip is offensive to me. These people face their potential employer with an air of entitlement, not so the undocumented workers I know.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be funny. It is funny. Except that it’s also not.

There I go, finding something unpleasant in someone’s joke. Such a wet blanket, me. Ok, let’s look for something uplifting. Hmm … oh, here it is: in this scary future-world of the tanking economy, all the black ‘business people’ will keep their jobs and prosper. And from whence do I extrapolate that wacky piece of information? Look at the video. Not a black face among the day laborers. So the black folks must be happy at work, the laboring elite, untroubled by the suffering of the lesser peoples.


2 thoughts on “A little video slap …

  1. Maggie, dammit

    I totally agree with you. When I saw this commercial on TV I was like, “huh? wha? How is this OK?”

    Glad I’m not the only one.


  2. Thanks, Maggie. I, too, am glad I’m not alone here. Someone emailed me the link with the note: “You should show this to your ESL students. Bet they’d get a kick out of it.” Really? I doubt it. The same concept showed up in the editorial cartoons when the whole Spitzer mess blew up. There was one cartoon that showed him standing in line with the day laborers and one man says to him something like: “Well, Mr. Spitzer, at least you can get a driver’s license.” Right. As if that might be the only difference between Spitzer and the average day laborer. [sigh]


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