This weekend I was bedridden with viral pneumonia so I had a lot of time to myself. I was mind-numbingly watching tv for a good chunk of it, and during that time I came across a commercial that really really really disturbed me.

The corporation, Alizila, is hosting a global shopathon day on November 11th, which is  expected to be bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Over the last six years, Alibaba Group took a little-known Chinese folk holiday called Singles Day and turned it into a multibillion-dollar online celebration of Chinese consumerism.  Last year, Alibaba’s 11.11 Shopping Festival, which takes place every year on Nov. 11, generated $9.3 billion in GMV in just 24 hours –  very scary.

Their commercial promoted American consumer culture and globilization in an incredibly ethnocentric manner,  and on top of it the Chinese people who were being addressed by a white woman were dressed in entirely in yellow spandex suites and their faces were painted yellow. I couldn’t even believe what I was watching. I wanted to show it to you guys just so you could understand how problematic it is but I am having trouble finding it on youtube. If you have a hulu account, you’ve probably seen this video – and maybe you were like me and didn’t notice or question what you are watching at first until you saw it a couple times..  Anyways, I think it just goes to show how much subtle racism and overt consumer culture we absorb on an everyday basis and it makes me very scared for the kids at home watching tv everyday without this outside knowledge.


2 responses »

  1. carlywinant says:

    Wow, and what’s crazy is that a lot of people probably don’t even realize the racism behind an ad like that. I feel like with quick commercials like the ones on sites like Hulu that people don’t really pay attention to or care about, they can get away with a lot more offensive content because they’re super brief and some people barely acknowledge them. Also, I hope you’re feeling better!

  2. palomapineda19 says:

    Like you and Carly noted, this is pretty shocking to see from Hulu. I can’t remember the last time that I have seen a commercial as racist as this one, but it always scares me that advertisements like these exist – in spite of the long vetting process and producing process that I assume media campaigns and advertisements go through.

    Also looking at consumer culture and racism, it’s hard not to forget how much cultural appropriation is linked with consumer culture surrounding the Halloween holiday but also in adopting “ethnic” trends in fashion.

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