July 31, 2006

Racist ads feature ignorant Indian

News flash:  Budweiser has begun airing Bud Light commercials starring an "odd couple" of roommates, Zagar and Steve. Zagar is an Amazonian Indian who relies on deadly violence and is completely ignorant about modern life. He's essentially a Neanderthal--as savage and uncivilized as any Indian portrayed in the last 500 years.

This marketing campaign is an immediate contender for Stereotype of the Year. Stay tuned for more information--much more--on this story as it develops. (The ads were formerly available at ZagarandSteve.com, but this link now takes you to a Bud Light site.)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This sort of thing is so easily avoided, and the advertisers can easily make their humorous "point" without denigrating actual living groups or those connected to them. Look at Geico's "so easy a caveman can do it" restaurant spot for an example of how to do this without problems (and it is witty enough to blow holes in the caveman stereotype along the way).

Rob said...

I haven't seen the Geico commercial, But you're right: It's possible to do humor about ethnic traits without denigrating the group in question. Unfortunately, Anheuser-Busch didn't take that approach.

Anonymous said...

I actually founds the ads funny. Who said the
character portrayed is Indian? To me he appears
to be a generic tribesman. He could have easily
existed a thousand years ago. Doesn't that make
it the same as the Geiko caveman? I think society
has become too sensitive. Everyone should spend
more time worrying about more important things
than a bunch of beer commercials. Our troops
are fighting in Iraq, there's a war going on in Lebanon, gas prices are at an all time high, New Orleans is still recovering from the hurricane and you actually find it important to get on this blog and complain about a humorous "tribesman" shooting arrows in a beer commercial. America appreciates
your inane concern.

Rob said...

My criticism applies no matter what kind of indigenous person Zagar is. But I say he's an Indian--specifically, an Amazon Indian. You can read all about it when I publish an article on the subject.

I've documented The Harm of Native Stereotyping: Facts and Evidence. It's not hard to understand how stereotyping has helped cause our present wars. Here's how the warmongers' thinking goes:

Arabs are brown-skinned savages, just like the Indians. Several people have even called Iraq "Indian Country." Ergo, we're justified in invading the region because the inhabitants are corrupt and immoral and can't govern themselves intelligently.

By the way, I don't just "get on" this blog, I run it. And what are you doing reading it and writing comments if there are so many more important things to do? Bush is screwing up the economy...the environment...the sciences...so get out and vote Democratic, if nothing else.

Andrew said...

I can't possibly believe anyone actually defended that add. Yes the Indian could've easily existed thousands of years ago, because most of the Amazonian tribes that he is obviously supposed to resemble (they are not even trying to hide it) have existed for thousands of years and still do (the Yanomamo for example). The adds are insulting, ignorant, and, it seems to me, somewhat beligerent.

Wind Walker said...

Thanks For your site. My Name is Rev. Stephen "Wind Walker" Rounthwaite. I Am a member of the Native-Prophecy-Council (At Yahoo Groups) and will be sending them a link to this site. Keep up the good work. Here is a letter I left at the Budweiser web site. Also here is there mailing address. https://contactus.anheuser-busch.com/
contactus/email.asp
Anheuser-Busch, Inc. One Busch Place St. Louis, MO 63118. Also you could call them at 1-800-Dial-Bud (1 800 342 5283)

Dear Company Exec.,
My name is Rev. Stephen "Wind Walker" Rounthwaite. I have some Native American heritage and I am very offended by your new Budweiser Ad showing what appears to be a South American (Native American) from the Amazon Basin drinking beer. Native Americans Have the higest per capita of Alcoholisim than any other group in America. Also as alot of people know alot of land was lost due to some Native Americans being drunk and some white men getting them to sell land while drunk.So, please change the ad.

Sincearely Yours,
Rev. Stephen "Wind Walker" Rounthwaite

Anonymous said...

These GEICO caveman commercials are totally anti-semitic and awful in the way they portray White Anglo Saxon Protestants as somehow superior to the obviously neurotic and whiny Jewish caveman character.

Utterly offensive.

Anonymous said...

I totally thought the same thing. As a registered Shoshone Native, I really appreciate your interest in Native American issues. Thank You!