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Racial illogic

What bugs me here is these people not getting the implications of the very things they themselves are saying.

Actors from black, Asian or other ethnic minority groups appeared in only 5% of the almost 35,000 TV ads screened in the UK last year, according to a report.

The report by Clearcast, the body that vets all commercials before they are broadcast, found that TV advertising is \”drastically under-representing\” the ethnic minority groups. Black, Asian and those of other ethnic minorities account for about 13% of the UK population.

Clearcast\’s report, which marks the first in-depth look at the racial makeup of UK television advertising, found that of the total of 34,499 commercials given the green light last year just 1,845, or 5.3%, used actors from a non-white background.

OK, maybe that\’s very naughty, terrible, or who gives a shit.

But then they say:

\”People react better to advertising when they see themselves reflected in it,\” said Saraf. \”I would therefore advise [advertisers] to take a better look at who their customers are and hope that these figures will become markedly more representative over the coming years.\”

Well quite. 87% of potential customers are slightly pinkish so why are we surprised that most of those in the ads reflect this reality of the audience?

Note that we\’re talking about TV ads here, you know, things broadcast to the wider population. Where there is greater segmentation of the audience along racial or ethnic lines none of us are in the least surprised that advertising is similarly specific. The Voice and Weekly Gleaner will have more Afro-Caribbean peeps in ads, London\’s Deccan News (if such a title exists) is likely to have South Asian models demonstrating the skin lighteners.

As I say, it\’s not that these fools are the usual race baiters that annoys me, it\’s that they aren\’t taking in the implications of the very things that they themselves are saying. When you\’ve got broadcast advertising, something of a hit and miss proposition in the first place, of course you\’re going to go for the lowest common denominator. If 87% of the potential customer base is pink then you\’re going to use pink actors.

With the potential exception of people who are sufficiently famous to not have \”a race\”. Which is where Lenny Henry comes in. He\’s Lenny Henry, not some pink/black/slant eye/Hindoo with which the audience is supposed to see itself reflected.

14 thoughts on “Racial illogic”

  1. What we need is more insurance adverts that feature house break ins, car theft or terror attacks……

    I’ll get my coat

  2. Vaguely related : been a minor brou-haha over the past few weeks over the number of black football managers and coaches employed in British football. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink pointed out a couple of days ago that the number actually gainfully (or otherwise) employed may be irrelevant, depending on how many qualified black coaches/managers are actually available and applying for jobs.

  3. Strange how, having gotten themselves in a tizzy over under-representation of racial groups they then persist in viewing the public as being split on a white/non-white basis with the non-white being regarded as an homogeneous group.
    If ““People react better to advertising when they see themselves reflected in it,” said Saraf.” is true but then the opposite must also be. Why would a Chinese react more favourably to an advert depicting an Afro-Caribbean bearing in mind the common Oriental antipathy to blacks? What makes them think that a Hindu Indian would be more appealing to a Moslem Pakistani, bearing in mind that it wasn’t so long ago the two cultures were geeing themselves up for a nuclear exchange of views.
    Advertisers default to predominately white actors because they are less likely to deter minority ethnic audiences.

  4. It’s very difficult to believe that this is true, though I am basing this on a ‘gut feel’ of the adverts that I see. Mind you, are they cheating here? The claim is that ethnic minority actors appear in 5.3% of ads. But how many ads don’t have actors in at all (cartoons, video game ads, ads that just show the product …)? Suppose it is 25%. This would mean that ethnic minorities appear in over 7% of ads with actors in.

  5. And most people in adds are slim and in their 20s to 30s. Soon they will be asking for obese people in swimsuit ads…

  6. ” Actors from black, Asian or other ethnic minority groups appeared in only 5% of the almost 35,000 TV ads screened in the UK last year….”
    How do they know? I can see it might be easy to spot someone who’s of ‘black’ or ‘asian’ origin, but I come from a ‘white’, non-european ethnic group, presumably one of the 13% they quote, how would they be able to spot me or any of my relatives?

  7. Actually it’s not illogical at all.

    The Left is always strongly in favour of ensuring that private organisations, civic institutions, universities, the media, etc. should “represent” (by force if necessary) what it regards as its favoured client groups of women, gays, blacks, Muslims, etc… but only so long as this “representation” comes at the expense of what the Left regards as its natural enemy: heterosexual white men, with all their awful hegemonic tendencies towards capitalism and conservatism.

    When it comes to groups in which white men are arguably, by the logic of the Left, “under-represented”, such as the UK Athletics Team, it is pure racism and hate to suggest that changes should be made in favour of the evil white men.

    The consistent logic of the race-baiting Left is: “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is up for grabs”.

  8. Steve:

    I think you’ve muddled what you’d intended:
    “what’s mine is mine and whats yours is up for grabs.”

  9. The sticky concept of the definition of “black” comes into play, because that includes a large amount of “mixed race” people who just get assumed as “black” due to slightly darker skin colour, the truth is that the pinkish actor in the advert looks exactly like one of their parents.

    A good example of this discontinuous logic is the 100 Great Black Britons survey, a significant proportion of them, including #1, actually being “mixed race”.

    The definition of “asian” is also slightly futile, is this someone from Asia, so not including the majority of “asians” in the UK ? In generic terms “caucasian” (white) is a sub-class of asian and refers to some people in Asia too. Perhaps the ethnicity refers to lifestyle, can that include a lot of “native” Brits who enjoy a curry ?

    In short, avoid ethnic/racial debates involving statistics, or just read about the categorisation mess during apartheid South Africa for a taster.

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