Thursday, April 19, 2012

Still jumping Jim Crow

I WAS LOOKING for something else on HuffPo this morning when I tripped over this nugget: A casting sheet obtained by TMZ specified that the actor playing the African-American car dealer in the Super Bowl Acura commercial with Jerry Seinfeld be "nice looking, friendly, not too dark." Wow. A spokesman for the unidentified ad agency reportedly said that "the skin tone restriction was to avoid problems with lighting and special effects." Uh huh. Right. That's right up there with "some of my best friends are black." Acura later apologized profusely. In the larger scheme of things, this is a trifle. But it speaks volumes about racial mindsets set on auto-pilot from centuries of stereotyping. We've made progress, but we're clearly not home yet. (The headline refers to "Jump Jim Crow," a minstrel song & dance routine done in blackface by Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice in 1828.)

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