July 20, 2013

Racist car ad features Tonto ripoff

Racist Car Ad in Texas Features Depp-Tonto RipoffCourtesy of Deadspin comes a ridiculous commercial for Charlie Clark Nissan in Brownsville, Texas. In it, an actor dressed as Johnny Depp's character Tonto in The Lone Ranger, speaks like the old caricatures we used to see in Hollywood decades ago. How offensive is it? See for yourself:
Oh, and don't think Charlie Clark is only bigoted toward American Indians. No, he's happy to drag the Japanese and Italians through the racism wringer, too.Comment:  Unfortunately for us, Charlie Clark Nissan has removed the "Tonto" video. But you can see the other videos featuring a Japanese sensei and his pupil, a la The Karate Kid, and an Italian chef.

Judging by those two videos, white man Charlie Clark plays all the ethnic characters himself. In each case, he demands a Sentra from a "Typical Dealership" for $9,999. Apparently Charlie Clark offers that price and other dealers don't.

Of course, the point is how people are (mis)using Johnny Depp's stereotypical portrayal. Thanks, Johnny, for mainstreaming racist caricatures of Indians!

Proving this isn't some one-time fluke, below is an image from this year's San Diego Comic-Con. As I've said before, Depp's Tonto may be the most common "Indian" image we see for the next few years.

For more on Johnny Depp and Tonto, see Skyhawk: Depp Dishonored Indians and Shawnee Professor Justifies Tonto's Stereotypes.

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