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PSP Ad Draws Charges of Racism

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the a-little-forethought dept.

537

Lord Kano writes "The Guardian Unlimited is reporting that a new Sony ad for the upcoming white PSP has caused an uproar because of claims that it carries racist overtones. The ad depicts a white woman, clad all in white, grabbing the face of a black model in a dominating pose." From the article: "It's questionable whether the world is ready to explore themes of race and domination in the context of a videogame console ad. Although not as wilfully controversial as Benetton's infamous 'United Colours' campaign, many viewers will be unwilling or unable to decode the imagery until it becomes about two different colours of plastic." What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?

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Yep, Racist America (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15674988)

Importantly perhaps, the ads are for the European release of the white PSP and are appearing on billboards in Amsterdam rather than in the US where racial tension remains a fraught issue.
So if an ad has racist tones it's ok for a company to post it in a country that doesn't have racial problems? I wouldn't really appreciate a company that does that.

I like how a Keith Stuart (a games blogger from the UK Guardian) can comment on the state of racial tension in two countries he doesn't live in.

In America, it's called "racism." In Europe, it's just people trying to protect their culture. To me, it's called "ignorance." Ignorance is everywhere no matter how hard we try to eradicate it.

America's quick to cry foul play because of our recent history, yes. It's seen as very important to be equal opportunity here. Do I walk down the street and feel conscience of other people's skin color? No. Some people in America still might but it's only due to their ignorance. I've only seen someone oppressed once because of their skin color and it was because I was in Alabama for a wedding and my Indian friend was rubbing someone wrong at a bar.

Why is Turkey having a hard time joining the EU? Hmmmm? One of the reasons cited is fear of mass immigration to the UK or Germany for work. There have already been two waves to Germany that upset the locals [wsws.org] .

Re:Yep, Racist America (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675020)

What the heck are you going on about?! ...

The ad isn't racist, nor are the people looking at it. The ONLY people that seem to be racist are the hyper-sensitive Americans looking at the ad and applying their own screwed up values to it.

The above comment is a perfect example of that.

Re:Yep, Racist America (5, Insightful)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675087)

I agree. If you think about racism, you'll find the ad. racist. If you don't give a damn about skin color, the ad is just the representation of PSP colors.

Re:Yep, Racist America (4, Funny)

Alarash (746254) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675161)

The ONLY people that seem to be racist are the hyper-sensitive Americans looking at the ad and applying their own screwed up values to it.
We ALMOST saw her nipple. Gee, that was a close call. I don't think American tribunals would have survived a racism porn trials wave.

Re:Yep, Racist America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675053)

your right... it's us in the UK trying to stop Turkey from joining the EU... except that we're one of the biggest forces pushing for turkey to get into the EU. So I guess that the skin colour theory doesn't really work... Now one reason we are doing it is to stop the EU just being whatever France and Germany wants - and they are white!

Re:Yep, Racist America (3, Insightful)

CFTM (513264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675116)

I haven't read the article but last time I checked Europe is not immune to racism...except they put a shiny veneer on it and call it "hooliganism". No fan would get away with throwing bananas on a baseball field or football field; FIFA had to the use the threat of penality points being awarded to prevent ramapant nationalism.

Racism, as the parent states, is an issue of ignorance and no country is immune.

Re:Yep, Racist America (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675230)

Do I walk down the street and feel conscience of other people's skin color? No.
 
Well then you're a fool.
 
  Some people in America still might but it's only due to their ignorance.
 
Amazing how you liberal geeks trust stats and studies for something as speculative as global warming, but refuse to accept the empirical link between race and violent crime [usdoj.gov]

Re:Yep, Racist America (1)

Valthan (977851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675279)

I know. I know, replying to a baiting AC is stupid, but I can't resist this one.

How does ignoring the colour of someones skin make me a fool? Seriously, the reply to this should be priceless...

Re:Yep, Racist America (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675394)

I think he's waiting for your response to the links between race and violent crime.

I think there may be some middle ground here. If I am a US INS agent, and am looking for illegal immigrants, I would be far more successful if I were to search in a Latino neighborhood than in a white neighborhood.

On the other hand, if I have a friend around whom I am constantly in fear of saying the wrong thing, then I need to be WAY less conscious of his skin color.

Re:Yep, Racist America (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675407)

There are many people of other races who are racist against whites and are violent about it. As a skinny geek, I was apparently a prime target as someone to attack in racially motivated violence. That goes for both when I was at an integrated school located in a black ghetto and when I was living in Hawaii.

Maybe in your little border town in Canada you haven't seen such things, but if you go to the "wrong part" of Toronto, you may be in for a quick and painful education... but at least you will have free medical care to get you fixed back up ;)

Re:Yep, Racist America (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675448)

LOL ... Hey, sheltered white suburbanite. I know a few neighborhoods I can drop you off in broad daylight no less, where you can hone in you're "colour" blind vision of society.
 
  PS ... BNP are gaining popularity for a reason

Re:Yep, Racist America (4, Insightful)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675451)

"How does ignoring the color of someones skin make me a fool? Seriously, the reply to this should be priceless..."
Because there are cultural differences between races of people. Instead of taking a Pollyanna view that we're all the same, understand that a person's race does affect how they see the world and their place in it.

Re:Yep, Racist America (1)

olivesmarch4th (987019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675511)

I think the point he was trying to make is that it would be quite difficult for anybody living in the United States to not be aware of different ethnicities. Saying you aren't "conscious" of another person's skin color implies that you don't even notice it. There is an eternal toss-up between whether it's better to learn to "ignore" differences, or to acknowledge and accept the differences. I tend to fall into the latter category. I'm pretty damned liberal, but I was raised in an all-white community. My university is full of people of all different races and creeds, so of course I notice when someone of another ethnicity walks down the street. It's human nature. I can't even truthfully say that I've never had a racist thought, because I have had racist thoughts, racism is rampant in this country. But I consciously choose to ignore those thoughts and not let them affect the way I interact with or treat people. But to say you don't even notice someone's ethnicity... of course you do. If you didn't, you wouldn't have realized you had an Indian friend. I don't think there's anything wrong with acknowledging differences in ethnicities. Personally I get pretty excited about it. One of my closest friends is 1st-generation Chinese-American, and it's fascinating how much more focused on interpersonal relationships he is compared to the average individualistic white person. ***I'm certainly not implying that people of different ethnicities are automatically different than the average white American when it comes to culture... or that there's even such a thing as an "Average White American." A person's culture is hugely impacted by that person's environment growing up, The challenge is not to view people in blanket terms but to see each person as an individual. So I guess what I'm trying to say is I love it when I meet individuals who are very different from me, and if a person is of a different ethnicity, that often (but not always) leads to learning about new things, whether it's racism or religion or the history of another country. And I would prefer to learn about these differences and use them to challenge my own perceptions rather than ignore them. From the article on the SONY PSP ad, it appears the producers are intentionally being provocative. I don't think it's as clear-cut as "Oh this is clearly racist" or "if you think it's racist you're prejiduced and confused." And I do think the cultural context of the ad (i.e. whether it's in Amsterdam or US) is relevant. But all in all, I think it was a really poor marketing decision. ~Christy

Re:Yep, Racist America (0, Troll)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675335)

The only type of person that could see racism in this, is a racist.

Great marketing tactic (4, Insightful)

BBlinkk (985908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675011)

All they had to do was buy one billboard, now everyone in America knows about the racist ad, oh and they know about the white psp too. These guys really know how to get the bang for the buck in advertising.

Re:Great marketing tactic (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675132)

I honestly had no idea that there was a White PSP out there. I have been too busy to follow gaming news lately. After reading this article I know that the product exists. I think that a White PSP would be very good looking and if I buy a PSP it will have to be white.

Re:Great marketing tactic (5, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675219)

I had no idea either. I was too busy oppressing the black man, and getting my KKK outfit from the cleaners. Now I can really oppress the black man, by buying a white psp. What you gonna do now, nigga!

Re:Great marketing tactic (4, Insightful)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675311)

First slavery, now a white PSP!


For what it's worth, I respect the fact that there is racism in the world, but some battles are not worth fighting. I do not think that this ad campaign is going to make people suddenly think less of blacks.

Re:Great marketing tactic (3, Funny)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675482)

...if I buy a PSP it will have to be white.

RACIST!!!

Re:Great marketing tactic (1)

mario64 (573112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675583)

Already own a white PSP (Japan import), but this does not make me racist.
My new DS lite is a black one...(so is my U2 iPod)...

Re:Great marketing tactic (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675144)

...now everyone in America knows about the racist ad...

The Guardian piece emphasizes some nebulous connection to "the US videogaming community", but this is a Dutch campaign and the ads are limited to the Netherlands. No way would a campaign like this be run in the US.

One ad of three (5, Informative)

qshapadooy (134224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675012)

Jeebus. There are three ads:

  * White woman over black woman.
  * Black woman over white woman.
  * White woman and black woman on equal footing.

Everyone can't stop talking about the first and ignoring the others. And what are they ignoring the most? They're all hot.

Re:One ad of three (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675102)

As a followup, here are some links taken from the Fark discussion yesterday:

equal [photobucket.com]
white over [photobucket.com]
black over [photobucket.com]

Re:One ad of three (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675415)

I have to admit, the "equal" one is considerably less hot than the two domineering ones. "Black over white", the one girl's on the floor. Smokin'!

Er, I mean, disturbing.

Re:One ad of three (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675179)

Jeebus. There are three ads:
* White woman over black woman.
* Black woman over white woman.
* White woman and black woman on equal footing.

Everyone can't stop talking about the first and ignoring the others. And what are they ignoring the most? They're all hot.


Exactly my thought too. First off, most importantly, they're all hot. But 2nd, and the most troubling piece, why, why why, even on /. is it that all we can talk about is the 1st one? White over black? Seriously, get a life, there is nothing wrong with any of these. People need to lighten up and get a life.

Re:One ad of three (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675529)

But 2nd, and the most troubling piece, why, why why, even on /. is it that all we can talk about is the 1st one?

Because geeks are almost as bad as Xian fundies when it comes to grabbing some tiny, stupid issue in a death-grip and getting self-righteous about it.

Hell, I admit, even I'm not immune. Talk of lawyers sets me off.

Re:One ad of three (4, Funny)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675576)

Hell, I admit, even I'm not immune. Talk of lawyers sets me off.

Sorry, couldn't resist :-P

Did you make a donation?
At the United Way in a fairly small town a volunteer worker noticed that the most successful lawyer in the whole town hadn't made a contribution. This guy was making about $600,000 a year so the volunteer thought, "Why not call him up?"

He calls up the lawyer.

"Sir, according to our research you haven't made a contribution to the United Way, would you like to do so?"

The lawyer responds, "A contribution? Does your research show that I have an invalid mother who requires expensive surgery once a year just to stay alive?"

The worker is feeling a bit embarrassed and says, "Well, no sir, I'm..."

"Does your research show that my sister's husband was killed in a car accident? She has three kids and no means of support!"

The worker is feeling quite embarrassed at this point. "I'm terribly sorry..."

"Does your research show that my brother broke his neck on the job and now requires a full time nurse to have any kind of normal life?"

The worker is completely humiliated at this point. "I am sorry sir, please forgive me..."

"The gall of you people! I don't give them anything, so why should I give it to you!"

Re:One ad of three (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675444)

Black woman over white woman?
RACISM!
Oh wait, it's only racism if it's the other way around.

Re:One ad of three (3, Insightful)

Cocoa Radix (983980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675560)

You had to know that this would happen, though. If every single one of Sony's advertisements depicted a black woman dominating over a white woman, nobody would say a damned thing. As soon as ONE ad pops up showing the white woman in the domaninant position, well, then it would be considered absolutely outrageous.

I'm sorry, but in the United States, slavery and apartheid of black people ended on a national level a long time ago. Of course there will be individuals who are still racist; that will always be the case, I'm sure. But enough is enough already. Just drop it, PLEASE. And that's not a message just toward cold blacks, that's toward the cold whites, too, damn it.

Honestly, look at how racial diversity is crammed into everything. You almost never see an advertisement that doesn't include a black person or an asian person right up there with white people.

In my humble opinion, the glorification of the black community is racist in and of itself. Take black history month, for example. A whole month devoted to the accomplishments of blacks. What is this telling us? That we need somebody to show us the accomplishments that blacks have made, lest they go unrecognized? Or that if we know about the greatness of an accomplishment, we'd damn well better know about the color of the skin of the person who achieved said accomplishment, given, of course, that the color of their skin is black. There's no white history month, is there? White entertainment television?

And affirmative action is the worst, by far. Take scholarships granted to a college student just for being black. "Oh, he's black, the poor thing; we should give him extra money because he's black." is exactly the message that affirmative action sends to me. That a black person is helpless and stupid and should be greatly rewarded for making it to college, an institutional concept that sees millions of new people each year. How is that not the most extremely fucking racist thing you've ever heard?

Mod me down, if you're offended; I don't even care, because I'm fed up with this whole racism thing.

Apparantly it worked... (2, Insightful)

SourceVisigoth (141614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675015)

>What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?

I think it worked. We are discussing the PSP now and talking about an ad most people here wouldn't know about if it weren't so 'controversial'.

Re:Apparantly it worked... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675467)

I live in the Netherlands and work in Amsterdam, haven't seen the real billboards, yet already know that the PSP, which I don't care about, is going to be available in white. I'd say it works.

As an ad, it's working beautifully. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675016)

Success of the ad doesn't hinge on whether or not you like it, but whether it sticks in your head and gets mindshare. Since everyone's going nuts over this one, people are discussing it, and it's propagating virally among blogs and news sites (here included) it's doing an amazingly wonderful job and some ad exec's probably enjoying a hefty bonus.

Re:As an ad, it's working beautifully. (1)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675098)

i disagee... the success of an add is whether or not it propts you do buy the product. IMNSHO this one is a bomb. It doesnt make me want a PSP, it doesnt tell me why it's better then the compitition, it doesnt say anything about what it can do, how it looks... nada....

Re:As an ad, it's working beautifully. (2, Funny)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675186)

Incorrect. The success of an add is if the sum is equal to the numbers you are adding together.

Re:As an ad, it's working beautifully. (4, Insightful)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675273)

> the success of an add is whether or not it propts you do buy the product

Ad success is partially determined by whether it sticks in your head or not. Oftentimes it's too hard to determine if a particular ad resulted in a sale. This is because there's a time lag between when you see the ad and when you purchase. So they usually measure ad effectiveness by your ability to recall the ad after varying periods of time. So if you remember the ad two weeks from now, then they'll call it a success.

However, the ultimate purpose of all advertisements is to make you have a favorable attitude towards a product or service. So a particular advertisement, even if it's offensive, can be a success if it gets your attention, but you eventually forget about the offensive ad but remember the product in a good way.

However, it's been found that if you don't like an ad, you will associate negative feelings towards the product. Thus, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

The other spots put the ad in context, but I suspect they were created just for the purpose of having plausible deniability -- "Hey, we're not being racist! Look at the other spots [that you wouldn't have noticed before if we hadn't had the offensive version shown first]". However, I don't their intention was to be racist, but rather to be controversial (like the old Benetton ads). Sony was hoping to get tons of inevitable publicity from a racist ad, but they had the other two produced to shield themselves from the inevitable fall out.

It's important to remember that any major corporation (or political entity, for that matter) carefully scrutinizes every single element that goes into an ad photo. They hire psychologists for the sole purpose of this.

Like the old Simpsons episode, if you want advertisements to go away, stop paying attention. Just don't look.

You Americans Need to Lighten up (5, Interesting)

Valthan (977851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675018)

One, it isn't in the US. 2 you need to lighten up, sure racism exists, but its a video game advert and guess what, in another on it shows the black person on top of the white... I don't see what the big deal is personally, but I guess that is how I was raised, with quite a few good friends who are of different races. Check out The CAD newspose [ctrlaltdel-online.com] for an insightful post on the subject, as well as the pictures of the different ones, including prior art for a DS :P

Disclaimer: I am Canadian from a small border town near Niagara Falls.

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675160)

I'm a Canadian (Calgarian to be specific) and I think that what offends people about this is that it is an advertizement where race plays a central component and that the pose in particular could (easily) be interpreted to say that the white person is better than the black person.

What I personally find interesting about this whole misadventure is how it seems that Sony has undergone a complete meltdown over the past couple of years; it seems like whatever ruined their electronics division now is infecting their gaming division and will (potentially) see similar results.

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (1)

Valthan (977851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675250)

Yes, in ONE white is over black, but there are THREE in total, and the in the others they are equal and then role reversal with black over white... is that one racist for showing a black person being dominant over a white one? Somehow I think that it will be overlooked and not classified racist.

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (1)

bloosqr (33593) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675321)

(1) yes it is racist (2) The reasons people are not as "up in arms" about it is that there is no history of black on white slavery/discrimination on the level that white on black discrimination exists even today. If white people were enslaved by black people and we had jim crow laws discriminating against white people in the 60's then people would be more up in arms about that. But the fact of the matter is there was not and the idea that "black" person are overpowering a "white" person, is absurd on the face of it. On the other hand a white woman saying "white is coming" in that pose brings back all sorts of bad connotations like white supremacy and lynchings and discrimination.

You know like these people

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/washington/07rec ruit.html [nytimes.com]

who are practicing for the upcoming race war

-bloo

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675488)

...the idea that "black" person are overpowering a "white" person, is absurd on the face of it.

Check out post-apartheid South Africa for how unabsurd that thought is. But, don't let the facts get in the way of your guilt trip. Or are you saying that power only corrupts white people? Can't we all just get along?

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675304)

How about "You non-Americans need to stop generalizing about us Americans?"

It's always a small majority of people who think this or that is racist or not, or go on great campaigns against something for reasons they don't understand, but thank you anyway for perpetuating the stereotype that all of America thinks one way based on the thoughts of one or two people.

Do they not teach statistical analysis outside of America? You really should know better than this.

Unlike you, I'm not going to blame all of Canada or Europe for your ignorance; people like yourself do need to wake up and start thinking instead of just speaking, however.

Disclaimer: I am Canadian from a small border town near Niagara Falls.

Niagara please.

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675452)

Once I meet a single American who isn't hung up on race (in one way or another) I'll buy that.

Until now, 100% of my sample shows Americans to be completely racist: either by the belief that some race is superior (traditional racist) or by the belief that race is something that needs to be treated with extreme caution lest someone be offended (politically correct racist).

Being offended at the ad demonstrates racism. A non-racist wouldn't care about the skin colors in the least and wouldn't even notice any possible racism. Sometimes a color is just a color.

Ironically enough, some of the most racist people I've met thought that they weren't being racist. The easiest way to spot a racist is by looking for the person trying to make sure "them black folks" aren't offended.

Re:You Americans Need to Lighten up (3, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675454)

Well, as an American born and raised to 8 in Illinois, grew up to 15 in Texas, and attended college in Ohio (Cinninati race riots POV.) I can tell you that where you live makes a huge difference in your perceptions of racism. Personally, I don't think we should lighten up; you should get serious. Racism does not occure in a vacuum; it's like a coal fire of hatred in the hearts of men (and women.) Some of the smallest sparks can smoulder for years after it seems to be put out and the more embers you pile on; the greater the chance to rekindle the violent flames of hatred.

There may be more than one image to this campaign, but it doesn't matter which is being percieved; the message is the same: White vs. Black (on the PSP) and I for one don't like it one bit.

Get over it! (2, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675029)

If the media would stop magnifying everything different between blacks and white, then this crap wouldn't be perpetuated. Black, white, who gives a shit. Just enjoy the ad for what it is... it's cool. I don't believe that the creators want to string up blacks and start slavery. This is just ridiculous. Move on with your lives people.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Get over it! (4, Insightful)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675425)

The media is run by people and people are affected by their own bias. Somebody with no previous knowledge of racism would not think that this ad is promoting white supremacy in any way (especially after they see the other ads).

People looking for racist overtones will see them everywhere. A black co-worker at my last job complained about police racism everytime he got pulled over (not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, drunk driving, etc) even though he deserved to be stopped. He was convinced that the reason he was stopped so often was because he was black while I have never been stopped because I am white. Nevermind the fact that he was a terrible driver who regularly broke traffic laws.

In the case of the Sony ads people are seeing one instance of a white woman being agressive towards a black woman and assuming there is deep anti-black meaning behind it. Really, Sony's ad firm was trying to create a black vs. white ad campaign about the color of the PSP and used white and black people to help convey that message.

The real racists are the people who continually add to the problem by accusing people and companies of racism. They're the ones who can't handle the fact that people come in different colors and that those colors can be used for visual effect in movies, tv and ads. (Just look at how Snipes' black skin and clothes are used in Blade).

You think this is bad? (5, Funny)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675032)

Have a look at Nintendo's work: http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/images/news/ds_ad .jpg [ctrlaltdel-online.com]
Seriously though, I think Tim's article on the whole issue covered this pretty well (currently on the front page of CAD).

Re:You think this is bad? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675074)


Goddamit, Tim is such a cocksucker.

I hope he chokes on his own vomit.

Any publicity is good publicity (2, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675035)

I'm sure Sony know's what it's doing. Get people talking about the PSP, doesn't it? Besides, how many people aren't going to buy a PSP because they're offended by this? I highly doubt the thin-skinned politically correct crowd is much into gaming anyway. Still, I'm not sure what the appeal of a white handheld is. I'd be much more inclined to buy the black version if it was the same price. I don't know why, but I find black a much more asthetically pleasing color for my hardware than silver or white.

Re:Any publicity is good publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675137)

>> Still, I'm not sure what the appeal of a white handheld is.

Like Cars, White doesn't show the dirt as much.

Re:Any publicity is good publicity (1)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675345)

Those people who say that any publicity is good publicity really need to tell that to Gary Condit [wikipedia.org] , O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, or Michael Jackson.

Just my $.02...

In the US (2, Insightful)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675066)

new billboard advert for Sony's white PSP has caused consternation across the US videogaming community.

A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohammed in European newspapers.

Re:In the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675113)

A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohammed in European newspapers.

Really? Where the riots and murders over the PSP ads?

Re:In the US (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675156)

Not literally identical, moron. Intellectually identical. US gamers are applying their country's taboos to another country. It's narrow minded and it doesn't work.

I'm sure you were glad of the opportunity to mention how crazy those scary muslims are, though.

Re:In the US (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675233)

US gamers are applying their country's taboos to another country.

Oh, so now racism only exists in the united states? I'm sure six million dead jews in germany would be thankful to hear this.

Re:In the US (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675251)

"Not literally identical, moron. Intellectually identical. US gamers are applying their country's taboos to another country. It's narrow minded and it doesn't work."

It's not that we're as a country against interracial women wrestling for our jollies (our choice of viewing material shows otherwise), it's that a couple of loudmouth morons saw the single ad with the albino-looking white woman about to overpower the very black woman and felt it depicted an racially-charged assault.

Re:In the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675286)

Not literally identical, moron. Intellectually identical.

If thats what you meant, why didn't you say that in the first place? If you did, you wouldn't have to call people names, nor would you have to backtrack like you are now.

The most significant thing about the Mohammed cartoons contraversy was not the fact that they were judging people by their standards, but the wonton violence that it spawned. Thus, when you allude to that contraversy, you imply parallels in the violence.

Re:In the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675143)

Except no one in the US is rioting and burning Dutch or Japanese embassies...

Re:In the US (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675189)

A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohammed in European newspapers.

Except that I do not see people in the US calling for Europeans to be beheaded, nor calls by the US government for other governments to censor the ads. The thing that made the Mohammed Cartoons issue so notorious was the fact that it went beyond simply outrage and went into threats of violence and censorship.

That aside; I'm willing to bet that some people at Sony are smoking cigars and sipping brandy right now. I'm sure that ad will generates tons of PSP sales, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Re:In the US (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675195)

"A US outrage at an advert in Holland is no different to the Muslim outrage at depictions of Mohamed in European newspapers."
You are an IDIOT.
I have not heard any death threats over this. And frankly it isn't US outrage over an advert. It is some people upset over an advert because they feel it is racist.
Is showing two people in conflict that clearly involved the color of their skin racist?
I think to some people it would be. I wonder if any people of color in the UK or Holland are offended by it. Could it be that they are but since they are such a small minority that they will not speak up?

The same thing? Yea sure it is. I will tell you what. Come to New York City with that ad on a tee shirt.
Then get on of the Mohamed cartoons and put it on a tee shirt and wear it in Tehran.
Really think it is the same thing?

Re:In the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675204)

This shows how twisted the logic of some people are... Simple (and IMHO misguided) outrage in the form of a commentary is much different than the looting, rioting, vandalism and murder that happened over the Islamic cartoons.

Does this mean that you equate someones right to discuss the meaning of an ad to mobs rioting?

Just more blind nationalist bashing. And as for the fucktard that modded your post insightful? Fuck, I didn't know they let dumbasses like that with mod points.

Re:In the US (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675221)

Internet nerd message board rage is quite different than rioting, destroying embassies and causing inadvertent deaths in the process, chuckles.

Re:In the US (1)

slashrogue (775436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675223)

Aside from the fact that Americans won't riot and kill people, right? -American and not outraged at these ads

Don't really see it (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675078)

Yes, it deliberately uses the contrast of the women's races as a metaphor for the difference between the available colours of the PSP. And yes, the white woman is acting aggressively towards the black woman.

But acknowledging their races, even pointing it out deliberately and using it as a marketing gimmick, is a long way from racism. It's not as if people are supposed to walk away from that ad thinking that the white PSP is better because it's associated with white people. It's not using stereotypes or ridiculing the black woman in any way. It's just saying "hey, here comes the white PSP and it's going to take the world by storm, and here's a picture to grab your attention". With, of course, the added bonus that it gets lots of media attention for causing controversy.

Not everything involving race is racist. Too many people forget this and seem to want to make race a taboo subject. That's ignorant in itself.

Re:Don't really see it (1)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675140)

im sooooo going to get troll points for this, but

I think some people will get that exact idea. Sony is playing the "Hay, it's new" card here and for an entire generation of young kids newer=better. And it does show the white version dominating the previous black version, the ad shows the white PSP is stronger and more powerfull (otherwise how could it tie up the black version?)

Re:Don't really see it (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675210)

Sony is playing the "Hay, it's new" card here and for an entire generation of young kids newer=better.

That's my point - they aren't thinking "hey, this must be good because it's for white people", they are thinking "hey, this must be good because it's new".

Re:Don't really see it (1)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675381)


By the way, this is one of 3 adds, there are 2 more... interesting those weren't pointed out...

Re:Don't really see it (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675507)

> It's not using stereotypes or ridiculing the black woman in any way. It's just saying "hey, here comes the white PSP and it's going to take the
> world by storm, and here's a picture to grab your attention"

Your post is well put, and from a logical perspective, you're right. However, what's interesting is from an advertising perspective (I'm not an expert, but I took a couple of advertising classes when I got my MBA), the ad is racist (or was at least intended to be perceived as racist). There are some other factors in the ad, too, but this content is the most interesting.

Advertising isn't about logic or reason; it's about emotions and persuasion. The key to advertising is to understand that to an advertiser, the reason why you buy a product is because you have a more favorable attitude for that product than the alternatives. So advertising is about getting your attention and giving you an emotional impression, but sometimes in an indirect way.

A major tool with advertising is called association: the idea that you transfer the positive emotions for something to something else wholly unrelated. What does Tiger Woods have to do with Accenture? Nothing, but Accenture wants you to think about the positive emotions you have for Tiger Woods and apply them to their consulting business. Association is everything.

Think about what you wrote: "yes, the white woman is acting aggressively towards the black woman." In the U.S., we would associate that aggression with racism. You're right, the ad is not specifically racist -- the black woman isn't a stereotype or something-- but the actions depicted are associated with people who are racists (again, not logical but emotional). And since advertising uses association as a powerful tool, they can't complain when the same association works against them and an ad is called racist.

Frankly, I don't think Sony's purpose was to be racist, but it was to be controversial (by exploiting racist images). They knew there would be calls of "racism", and they hoped it would provide free publicity. So far, it's working.

Re:Don't really see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675565)

It's because of American history. We have had issues of opression against the black community since the inception of our country. This whole situation reminds me of the time I took a trip through Europe on europass. My friend and I were in an outdoor cafe in Germany eating some lunch when we got on the topic of Wolfenstein 3d. Seeing as we were speaking english and very few were fluent enough to follow us they had no clue what we were talking about. My friend asked if the final boss was Hitler to which I stated no, it's just a big dude. We procede to look up and see every single face at the cafe locked in on us with disgruntled looks. Were we being racist or hateful? No. Did it offend another culture? You sure bet. Just because another culture doesn't have the same ties to an image doesn't mean it's not offensive. A picture of a monkey looking familiar to a black man being hanged would be just as offensive in the Philipines as it would be in America. Maybe the target group as a whole doesn't see the racial undertones but someone will.

facinates me (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675099)

This ties in with a discussion I had with a friend recently (you know a discussion is going to be interesting when it starts with the question "do you have any interest in BDSM?"). Anyway....

I think the racisim here is in the minds of the watchers. Would this be racist if it was a black woman and a white man? Would it then be sexist if it was a white man grabbing a white woman? In a full on dom/sub relationship it makes sense for the sub to do the dishes and house work and other such things, so if the sub is a woman, that fits with the "standard sexist gender roles" right? What about a master slave relationship? Is it somehow bad for a black woman to want to be the slave to a white master?

Whats worst, a black person being a willing slave to a white person, or trying to tell that same black person what they can and can't do in the confines of their life and sexuality?

This is all silly. The knee-jerk racism reaction is ridiculous. Isn't the whole goal of tolerance and antiracism to teach us to see people as people rather than black people and white people? Black people have as much right to be submissive as a white person if thats what they want!

-Steve

Re:facinates me (2, Insightful)

whereiseljefe (753425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675340)

This is all silly. The knee-jerk racism reaction is ridiculous. Isn't the whole goal of tolerance and antiracism to teach us to see people as people rather than black people and white people? Black people have as much right to be submissive as a white person if thats what they want!

I guess if you lived in Meriam-Webster's world, yeah, but in todays world, thanks to the Bleeding Hearts and the Religious Right, tolerance and antiracism means treat me special because I'm different (to make amends for when I was treated differently [read: special] in the past).

Remember, everyone wants a free handout and these people that infiltrate our society (everyone's society, the Americans, le French, zee Germans, etc) won't let such a trivial thing like logic and reason stand in their way.

I think the best way to describe the situation in America is not an attempt at tolerance and anti-racism, its more preferential treatment and reverse-racism (when I had better grades and more extra curriculars than a hispanic, but said hispanic gets the multi-thousand dollar scholarship and I get nothing, how is this tolerance and merit-based?)

Not what I thought! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675109)

I thought they were going to be talking about this ad [gamepressure.com] ...

Which someone made a parodied animated gif [imageshack.us] of that has a little more truth in it...

americans are too sensitive (2, Insightful)

paradigmdream (915171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675141)

americans are way too sensitive to racism these days

Re:americans are too sensitive (1)

Ill_Omen (215625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675231)

alternatively, one could say that Europeans aren't sensitive enough.

Re:americans are too sensitive (2, Informative)

whereiseljefe (753425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675375)

You must realize, the Europeans have transcended all prejudices and other destructive thoughts and emotions. *Tries to hide the recent riots in france, deep distaste for the immigrants in most european countries, denmark's problems, etc. etc. etc.*

Re:americans are too sensitive (1)

dissolved (887190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675459)

GP was grouping all Americans, and all Europeans under the same banners. Now who's racist?

Leeland Yee said it...best? (1)

Blackwulf (34848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675146)

From GamePolitics [livejournal.com] ...
Callender's remarks were contained in a press release issued late yesterday by California Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D), author of California's contested video game violence law. Yee also expressed concern over the PSP White ads, saying, "I am deeply disappointed in Sony's senseless decision to publish this racially-charged advertisement. I can't begin to determine Sony's motivation but I believe this marketing strategy is unnecessary and is clearly offensive to many in our community."
Yes...Because California's community obviously extends to Holland...Clearly...I'm sure the people in the Netherlands are so happy that a state assemblyman from the west coast is standing up for them.

Re:Leeland Yee said it...best? (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675534)

I'm from the Netherlands and I'm not too happy some Californian assembly speaker is judging our culture with his prejudices. I doubt many of my fellow Dutch citizens would consider the ad racist, including my non-white fellow citizens, so he's basically stirring up a racial issue where there is none.

Let's look a little more critically at the world. (2, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675149)

In a world without history, this ad would be meaningless. But we live in the real world, that has a bloody history of slavery, apartheid, jim crow, fascism, and colonialism.

And as such, this ad is incredibly problematic. Anybody who doesn't recognize at least that is ignoring history itself.

Re:Let's look a little more critically at the worl (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675287)

Speak as an American for those in Holand. Makes sence. Get over it. This is not Holand's history, so your comment holds little water.

Re:Let's look a little more critically at the worl (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675528)

The Dutch never took part in the slave trade? News to me!

Note: I think the post you replied to has got it all wrong but your rebuttal of it is wrong as well.

Re:Let's look a little more critically at the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675580)

The dutch began the slave trade in North America. That is Holland's history. The comment holds more than a little water.

Apparently Holand's history lessons are on par with the U.S.'s.

Re:Let's look a little more critically at the worl (1)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675492)


And as such, this ad is incredibly problematic. Anybody who doesn't recognize at least that is ignoring history itself.

Oh yes, you're right. Perhaps you'd prefer that white people and black people don't appear in commercials together? Yeah, that's it - segregation is the answer!

/sarcasm

Please. Anyone who doesn't recognize this as a metaphor, with a sexual twist, for the available PSP colors is a moron. I'm sorry, but this commercial is only racist if you want it to be.

Whatever else you think about Sony, (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675184)

... to think this is intentionally racist, you have to imagine a company full of white-sheeted executives, and I'm just not seeing it. There may have been a point when the people putting the ad together should have said "Now... will certain people think this is over the top? Should we maybe think again?" Whether that happened or not, I'm kind of glad we're reaching a point where people are thinking less about it. My first take is that those who say this might be racist are just pot-stirrers.

Ok, on 3. (1)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675196)

Hmm, I've seen this article on Fark, Joystiq, and now Slashdot. Everybody, on the count of 3, say "Publicity Stunt"

1...2...5

What do I think (2, Insightful)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675203)

What do you think about this latest in a long line of PSP ads of questionable taste?

I think thousands of people now know PSP is coming in white... mission accomplished. If you don't like the ad, don't talk about it.

yep, uh-hu, [nods politely] ... (3, Insightful)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675208)

Um let's look at this one....
Current PSP comes in black only....
New white PSP is coming out....
Sex sells .....
Attitude sells ...
Lets mix black, white, sex, and attitude in one commercial ...
Instant racism. Now that's synergy of ideas working for you.

Re:yep, uh-hu, [nods politely] ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675329)

I've always heard that interracial porno does extremely well in the more outwardly racist areas of the south.

Racist? How about stupid? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675227)

Am I the only one who thinks the ad is just plain stupid looking? I don't get how that conveys "white PSPs are coming". Mostly it just looks like some bad soft-BDSM.

Tom

Oh deary me! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675235)

It's questionable, however, whether the world is ready to explore themes of race and domination in the context of a videogame console ad.

Yes! We must remember the world is nowhere near as sophisticated as globetrotting ace Guardian video game uberjournalist Keith Stuart! Yeah, I know. Ad hominem. It's Friday.

Although not as wilfully controversial as Benetton's infamous 'United Colours' campaign, many viewers will be unwilling or unable to decode the imagery until it becomes about two different colours of plastic.

Unwilling to decode? What is this? Dr. Phil?

Persoanlly, I decoded it as a hot lesbian domina scene. Yum yum.

Importantly perhaps, the ads are for the European release of the white PSP and are appearing on billboards in Amsterdam rather than in the US where racial tension remains a fraught issue.

I hear the next series of billboards will picture Mohammed holding a PSP.

trolling comes to ads (4, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675244)

I'm not saying that this should be censored. It shouldn't.

But this feels like trolling -- deliberately saying or doing something controversial, to draw attention. And trolling is lame.

If they choose to open this door -- to associate an electronic device that has nothing to do with race with all of this ugly history, just to be titilating -- then they deserve whatever they get.

Gaming is due for some troll ads, too (2, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675564)

But this feels like trolling -- deliberately saying or doing something controversial, to draw attention.

Oh, absolutely, this is a troll. All ads try to draw attention; this one tries to do it by shocking the viewer.

The gaming industry probably is due for an explosion of ads. It makes a lot of money, and yet the commercials I see very occasionally are running on kids' shows in the afternoon or something. If Nintendo's really trying to blow the market open and appeal to something beyond the usual gaming market, you'd think they'd want to run some prime time ads.

This is also, like beer, one of the industries that can be free wheeling with its ad strategies. Airlines can't advertise with much humor or self-deprecation without taking a big risk, so you get classy commercials -- "Rhapsody in Blue" and that United livery airliner backlit by the sun, you know? Whereas beer can be funny in offhand, goofy ways and take some risks.

I betcha we get more of this style of ad. This one is past what the U.S. would tolerate, but trolls, as John Dvorak or any sports columnist can tell you, get the eyeballs. They work.

Looks like a pink woman and a brown woman to me (4, Funny)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675261)

Is it sexist that the don't make a pink version, or is that homophobic today?

Would it be more or less racist to deny the brown woman her right to choose to be paid to appear in the ad?

Should I be boycotting both versions of the PSP, because I'm a nudist and I fnd the clothing in the ads offensive? ...Or is all this a big fuss over nothing, and a lot of free advertising for Sony?

How stupid people are. (0, Troll)

the2cheat (986144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675276)

Of course, some uptight people will see the ad as racist. But, as has been said, It wasn't for the US market. And even if it was, it's just imagery folks! Just showing the new PSP color being dominant over the boring black PSP color! Some people need to step off, and stop with the uptightness...

Ctrl-Alt-Del comic (4, Insightful)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675281)

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/?t=archives&date= 2005-02-05#1153 [ctrlaltdel-online.com] Tim Absath says it quite well, here's an excert:
No one is offended that the billboard suggests a precursor to violence. No one is offended that it's two women involved in violence. If it had been two white women, one in a white suit, one in a black suit, nobody would say a thing. Furthermore, nobody has said word one about the version of the ad where the black woman is dominating the white woman. And I'm willing to bet that if that image had been on the billboard instead, nobody would have said a thing. At least not publicly. So ask yourself, honestly, why it's offensive to you. Because the billboard doesn't depict slavery. Not in the slightest. If the black woman was picking cotton, and the white woman was standing over her with a whip, then hell yes it would be offensive. But it's just two people squaring off, and one of them has the upper hand. So why does it matter to you which one that is? Because if we really want to reach the level of equality in our society that we all say we do, we need to stop dwelling on the past. Slavery is abolished. Has been for a good long time. Not a single one of us Americans owned slaves, or was a slave. It was a horrible period in time, but it's over. Being oversensitive about things like this billboard is what's keeping this racial tension alive. If you ask yourself honestly, you may find that you don't actually think the billboard is offensive, but that you've just been taught it's offensive. Stop making race a big deal, and race stops being a big deal.
I repeat: "Stop making race a big deal, and race stops being a big deal."

Smell The Glove (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675282)

David St. Hubbins: It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.

Bahh.. I say (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675400)

What ever happened to Nintendo when they used the song Black Betty to advertise Mario. According to wikipedia the song drew the same racist overtones that this add is pulling.

It's racist, but good marketing. (2, Insightful)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675401)

They are linking the colours of the PSP to race therefore it's technically racist; equally regarding both skin colours involved (see how I got my point across without using the W or B words?).

Sony will obviously be aware of this, which is why they have done it. The simple fact is that I have seen that advert now, which has made me think about a PSP and the fact there must be a white model coming (meaning there must be a black model already out) and I would probably never have seen that advert.

It's called 'marketing'.

A few thoughts.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15675463)

There have been numerous lengthy disucssions on this issue on both joystiq and engadget (8 page, 300+ comment type lengthy) and what I've gathered from them is this:

1) This ad, though artistically sound and the concept of contrast is often seen in other industries (especially the fashion industry), is very VERY risque with regards to race relations in the states and parts of Europe. Though this was only meant for Holland, any ad agency for an international company should take into account the affect that social response may have to your advirtisements. Especially when one of your largest markets is not only a country filled with a rich RECENT (as in 40 years ago, your parents or grandparents were alive during this time) history of racism and injustice (which is unarguably still present today). This is, after all, the 21st century. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that is made public in any part of the world is immune to the massive immediate sharing on the internet. when you're a country as big as Sony, and releasing products to as large of a market as Sony is, whether you like it or not, what you say and do about that product will end up being viewed and commented on by everyone in the world who is interested in said product.

If microsoft released a version of windows in scandanavia tomorrow called Windows Chink Edition or Windows Towel Head Edition, regardless of whether or not chink/towel head is seen as offensive in scandanavia or the asian/arab population is large in scandanavia, I'm sure many asians/arabs would be pissed.

2) Sony is obviously going for controversy. They succeeded. This will probably come back to bite them in the ass (if it hasn't already) and I doubt it will make anyone who isn't already a sony fanboy want to purchase a PSP unless there is a significant price drop. The campaign may be successful in creating buzz, but buzz does not always sell products. Especially when those products are overpriced and their games suck..

3) Sony released an ad campaign that featured animated characters with, what many considered to be, stereotypical latino/mexican accents (some people said they were going for the Cheech and Chong feel.. those were stereotypical mexicans much like amos and andy). Subliminal social messages in the media (tv programming, advirtising, and movies) does indeed happen. Is it happening in this ad? who knows.

I've seen the entire set of pictures that went around this ad. Personally I was offended by the first and last (both with 1 woman in the dominant position) and thought that maybe the 2nd one was the best and illustrated the point of the ad campaign perfectly. Why didn't they choose to go with the 2nd picture of them just facing off?

I think it's racist (1)

Screwy1138 (976897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15675524)

...that a black psp model came out first ...that dark chocolate is more widely available than white chocolate ...that lighter coloured backgrounds became more popular on the web than darker backgrounds ...that we look up to white clouds and walk all over black asphault People have made race such a hypersensitive issue. In normal society race is only an issue because we make it an issue. Real racism should be squashed, but when people grasp at straws like this and claim racism in the silliest of things, it really hurts the effort of those who are trying to beat real racism out of the few remaining holdout bastards.
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