Commercial gaining attention
On November 27, the commercial below was put on YouTube :
It looks at first like a commercial of hope showing people overcoming difficulties(racism). The last words, “You can’t stop us” displays the unlimited possibilities of sports.
But is that really the message? Is the commercial really trying to eliminate the racism issue? I agree with the message that “racism is evil”, but I disagree with the way this commercial tries to send that message.
Racism is evil
Let me say this first.
Racism is evil
To clarify a bit more,
It is evil to discriminate based on looks, race, religion, nationality, political views, financial status, and other characteristics
I lived my years of youth in the American midwest during the nineties. Now there are a variety of races living in the area, but back then it was predominantly white people. Black people and Mexican people were next in numbers, and the so called “Asians” were the least minority. The East Asian people were just referred to as “Chinese”.
Being a minority, I’ve had my share of racial discrimination at school and in sports clubs, so I understand how horrible it is to be “discriminated”. Racism should not be allowed, and we need to eliminate it. I think we all think the same way.
The NIKE commercial mentioned above has been very controversial. You can look at the rating and the comments on the video and see for yourself. There are those that praise the video for showing the racism that has not been revealed before, and those that criticize it for targeting Japan as a racist country.
But the problem is not there. We all think that “I’m not the one that is racist”. “That person is racist”, “I’m not part of the problem”, “I am just a victim”. We keep telling ourselves that.
I’ve had a white friend tell me, “I’m not racist because I have a black friend”. Is racism just an issue between white and black people?
Is it bad to be racist against black people, but we can say bad things about Mexicans?
Should we accept gay people, but not have to accept people with different political views?
Is it bad to discriminate foreigners living in Japan, but OK to discriminate against Japanese who believe in foreign beliefs?
Is it bad to laugh at those with depression and mental illness, but we can laugh at obesity?
The problem is that we think “we are not part of the issue”. I will say it clearly,
“You and I ARE the racists”
Unless we accept this fact, we cannot move forward to resolve the issue.
How to eliminate hate
I believe there is only 1 way to eliminate discrimination. We need to understand why we discriminate. When we unravel the reason, we will see the resolution.
We discriminate, because we hate
We hate, because we fear
We fear, because we don’t know
We don’t know, because we don’t care
In the age we live in, we can find any information we want to over the internet in a second. However, if we don’t care we will never take the time to look things up or try to understand. And in the end, we look at someone with the stereotype that is ingrained within us.
If we truly want to eliminate discrimination, we NEED to show some interest in others. When we understand that person’s race, nationality, religion, and beliefs, we can start to walk closer to each other, and take another step forward in eliminating discrimination.
What was NIKE’s message
Let’s look at the commercial by NIKE. It focuses on 3 individuals receiving racist hate. They don’t try to become equal with others, but instead they use power to push others down. So the message looks like “We need to use power to overcome racism!” And it is truly sad that all the people around them are just portrayed as racist people. I don’t see any real solutions for racism in this commercial.
Also, NIKE has been lobbying to weaken the bill which will prevent NIKE from using forced Uighur labor. NIKE portrays Japan as a racist country, while at the same time NIKE thinks it is OK for them to be racist against Uighur people, so the message in their commercial does not match what they are doing.
I believe we will never be able to completely eliminate racism. It is because we will always have the root of the problem, which is “Indifference towards others”. But we can slowly walk towards resolution. But the solution starts with “You” and “Me”!