I first saw the above Japanese cell phone company ad on CNN which said:
(CNN) — A Japanese cell phone company has pulled one of its television ads that used a monkey to portray Sen. Barack Obama.I'm not paying much attention to the statements and reactions of either supporters or opponents of the Democratic Presidential candidate in this November's US Presidential elections because I want to see how BARACK OBAMA himself reacts to it.
The commercial opens with a crowd rallying behind a well-dressed monkey speaking from a podium. The supporters are cheering and waving signs that say “Change.” In the ad, the monkey was encouraging users to change providers.
Watch: Cell phone company pulls ad
The company behind the ad, eMobile Ltd., insists it had no idea of any racial undertones and says the ad was just a nod at Obama’s worldwide popularity.
Eric Gan, president of eMobile, points out that their company’s mascot is a monkey – an animal revered in Japan — and has been used in previous ads.
“When we saw the idea for the first time, it was ‘Hey, you're copying the idea from the presidential election in the U.S.’ Yes, but, you know, that's how you make a presentation. How you make an impact. We thought it quite was interesting,” he said.
Bloggers immediately voiced their disapproval of the ad and accused the company of being racist.
Gan says the company was unaware of how the ad might be interpreted, but “now, of course, we know.”
Will he ignore it? Be indifferent? Be defensive or outraged? Or will he laugh it off and say something witty, intelligent, stupid?
To me it is an important gauge of his character on the aspect of RACE in this historic election. It has implications too for things like "cultural sensitivity" and even, "foreign policy" and "diplomacy." A pop quiz, a calibration test. Never mind what anybody else says. Not that my one vote matters, but how he reacts will tell me a great deal about him and what I must think of him for the purpose of exercising the precious sacred right of suffrage and in what direction I ought to case my small particle of national sovereignty.
What really is Barack Obama, the Black and White Man, made of?
More on the character issue with respect to the problem of EVIL in the world, with a comparison to John McCain--over at the Volokh Conspiracy.