Why the Free Pass for MetroPCS’ Indian Ads?

From Marty B on eating watermelon to Judge Lander’s comment about cleaning up white people’s messes, count me in the “almost anything goes” school when it comes to free speech and race relations. Many people aren’t, though, which is why it’s surprising there’s been so little blowback, especially in North Texas, over MetroPCS’s “Tech & Talk” ad series lampooning Indians in the most outrageously stereotypical way. (MetroPCS is based here, as is The Richards Group, which created the funny ads).

So, why the lack of reaction? Is the reason that the Indian community lacks the political will (or punch) to make noise over a portrayal that surely would have sent other “maligned” groups into the streets? Or have we finally progressed to the point as a society that we can appreciate–and have fun with–such obvious, over-the-top racial and cultural stereotypes? Here’s hoping–but without much optimism–that it’s the second.


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  • Steve

    No racism is OK, OK?

    Still, for whatever reason, there remain some groups that the majority in our society don’t mind ridiculing on a racial level. Partial list: Indians and Pakistanis, all Muslims but especially Arabs, and sometimes Italians.

    That’s just the way it is and the way it will be until it’s not the norm to see posts on Frontburner like “Hey I could care less, but why aren’t you non-racists up in arms about [insert racism here]?”

  • DGirl

    Thank you, Glen. I was wondering if/when someone in the media would bring up those ads. They are offensive and, frankly, stupid. Shame on Metro PCS and The Richards Group for running such a campaign.

  • Tom

    I’m more offended by the fact that they’re not funny.

  • luniz

    What’s offensive about them? Having a thick accent, or being an Indian who works in the telecom industry?

  • Enrique De La Fuente

    Is being tech savvy a bad stereotype?

  • Cedars

    I’m been asking this same question for a few months now.

  • DGirl

    If Hispanics or African Americans were parodied this way, those groups would go ape-shet claiming racism. And the commericals are just dumb besides. That’s all I’ve got on this one.


  • Peterk

    I think it is because the Indian community has a sense of humor sadly lacking in other minorities

  • Neal

    “Or have we finally progressed to the point as a society that we can appreciate—and have fun with—such obvious, over-the-top racial and cultural stereotypes?”

    It appears that the Indian community has made that progression, unlike some professional minority group bellyachers and their media sob-sisters.

  • Nish Patel

    I’m Indian and think those commericals are terrible and insulting. We’re not all tecno geeks who dress badly and bumble around. Because we are a relative quiet minority, manypeople don’t know much about us. Between this example and the experience some people have with Indian call centers, I think people might think we’re all technology robots. I can have fun with such obvious and over the top racial and cultural stereotypes is they were equally portraying the negative with the positive- and that isn’t happening.

  • towski

    Maybe it’s because nobody cares about MetroPCS – but you put a slightly over playing weight Luke Wilson on an AT&T ad, and people go bananas!

  • Hein

    I thought those were just clips from “Slumdog Millionaire”

  • scott

    I’m a white, mid-to-late 20s male and I don’t have a problem with the Metro commercials.

    Instead, I’m here to complain about the current campaign for MIller Lite. See this commercial for instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhJ_Gp4YFUA

    Not all of us are owners of english-speaking, emotionally-cognizant bulldogs, and we certainly don’t all struggle with our decision between Miller Lite and our current girlfriends.

    It’s the beer. EVERY time.

    The last time I voiced this, someone said to me,” hey bro, it’s just a commercial. They just want you to think the idea is funny and buy Miller Lite because they’re a groovy company.”

    But that’s certainly not the reason they’re advertising. Instead, their aim, without a doubt, is to criticize the white American male by using cheap, callous stereotypes.

    I can have fun with such obvious and over the top racial and cultural stereotypes if they were equally portraying the negative with the positive – but that isn’t happening. It’s terrible and insulting. I feel you Nish.