Maybe it's yesterday's casual racism, but in case you hadn't heard—the new ad campaign for PopChips features your boy Ashton Kutcher doing a variety of characters, all filming a video-dating intro clip. (What the fuck that has to do with weird-but kinda good-tasting-chips, I have no idea.) He does a sensitive biker, a British hippie (in fact a piss-poor Russell Brand impersonation), and the real heat rock—an Indian Bollywood producer named Raj, who also proclaimed the Chili Lime PopChips flavor to be "the Bombay." His shitty Apu-style accent, nose prosthesis and noticeable brownface makeup rightfully riled up a good deal of people, especially after Hari Kondabolu, New York rap crew Das Racist, and blogger/tech vet Anil Dash started kicking up dust about it on Twitter. (There was a really good article by Dash about how everybody responsible for this campaign could actually work to correct this likely unintentionally offensive mistake, instead of just pulling the ad, offering a lame apology and sweeping it under the rug until the next time—which, it seems, is exactly what is happening.)
This is old news, though; what's still getting me about all this is the reaction that Das Racist is getting from this situation. God help anybody of any color if they dare object to white people making racist characterizations of them; the anxieties of mainstream Americans regarding "their country" (and their privlieges to run roughshod over anybody else) that they perceive as being "lost" in these days and times really bring out the best in people. The DR Twitter timeline is full of retweets of angry, stupid people telling them to "pump gas," that they'll rub DR's faces in dog shit, that they like "bang Indian chicks," and such. I spoke with DR's Honorable Prophet Dapwell about this situation. "This is the most inundated with crazy white people we've ever been, for sure," he tells me via phone. I ask if there's been death threats. "I mean, there's threats of violence for sure; I'll read one that I just got...'you guys are fucking stupid...and you live in Brooklyn!!! I'm going to find you and beat your sensitive asses' pussies.'" (Yo, that does't even really make sense, dog.)
Dap tells me that it's the younger heads around 19 or so, born after events that might lend some context, really don't seem to understand the ruckus: "they literally dont understand why blackface, brownface, yellowface or whatever is disrespectful." (Maybe they just need some good old fashioned, racially-charged murders or trials or OH WAIT.) I personally think any paint on any face, whether you're a racist actor, a Juggalo, or a molly-tripping MGMT fan, is an affront to god. "I just feel weird," Dap sighs. "Today just feels really weird."