Our friend JozJozJoz came across this TV commercial on YouTube and posted it on the excellent team blog, 8 Asians, with a poll asking what aspect of the commercial was most racist.
For me, it might be the fact that the person who posted it to YouTube titled it “Borderline Racist 1960’s Jell-O Ad” and in the description says it’s “arguably” racist. Dude, it was racist back then, it’s just that it hadn’t been pointed out to white people yet.
That’s like saying that lynchings weren’t racist because attacking African Americans was common back in the day.
These types of commercials and other cultural artifacts are important to preserve because they were racist and yet accepted by the mainstream, like this commercial for Calgon water softener (I don’t remember the Jell-O ad but I certainly do the Calgon one).
So it’s important to see these old spots, and accept them for they were, but also for what they are: a reminder that Asians have been subjected to stereotypes for a long time… and that some of them still return to haunt us, even in the 21st century.