Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | tv commercials
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Here's why I like this new Comcast commercial: It's part of the new trend of showing Asian Americans in ads who are just, well, American, and not so much Asian. They don't speak with accents and they're not doing stereotypical stuff like martial arts and tech geekery. Instead, this kid and his dad are watching TV. The Target commercial I included in a post back in October has a mom who's hip-hop dancing and playing tether ball with her kid. And of course, there's Kylie, the adorable Asian American girl who's pushing Windows 7 like nobody's business (see her latest commercial below). Also, I like this commercial because Shaquille O'Neal is in it. He's been a spokesman for Comcast this year along with mopey-faced actor (and Republican speechwriter/commentator) Ben Stein in a series of silly commercials. But this one has Shaq alone. To me, this is significant for two reasons: First, it's all too rare to see Asians and African Americans together in a light-hearted repartee, in a warm relationship, in mainstream American culture. I'm really glad to see this, even though it's in an artificial environment of a TV commercial. Second, Shaq made racist comments towards Yao Ming, then a rising rookie in the NBA, in a radio interview back in 2002, and I wrote about it in a column: