Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Finger Lickin' Good?

It's surely a very rare occurance that cricket ever hits the headlines in the good ol' US of A.

It was after all Robin Williams who described the great game as "basically baseball on valium".

This week however, our cousins across the pond have been seriously upset by, of all things, a 20 second Australian advert for Kentucky Fried Chicken which shows an 'outnumbered' Australian cricket fan passing round pieces of fried chicken, in an effort to placate a rather stereotypical band of all singing, all drumming West Indian cricket fans.

The fan (called 'Mick' apparently) wearing the yellow and green of Australia poses the question "need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?" He then hands out the drumsticks to the apperently ravenous West Indians who immediatly stop their pesky drumming. "Too easy" the smug Mick remarks.

The avert is as unfunny as it sounds but is no more guilty of racism than those awful Ashes adverts Sky ran featuring Shane Warne cooking a BBQ in the commentry box, much to the dismay of Botham and Gower (Botham, you may have observed, if you've been watching the current South African series, mentions his love of BBQs about every 10 minutes).

The Australians have always struck me as a race of people quite prepared to take the mick (Dundee) out of themselves and perhaps understandably they've come out fighting against the criticism the advert has recieved in the States.

Apparently to many in the US fried chicken remains closely associated with age-old racist stereotypes about black people in the once segregated south.

A writer at one US newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, questioned whether the ad was a spoof, remarking: "If it is a genuine KFC advertisement, it could be seen as racially insensitive."

I particuarly enjoyed the response of Professor Brendon O'Connor from Syndey University who said the association between fried chicken and ethnic minorities was a distinctly US issue.

He said: "They have a tendency to think that their history is more important than that of other countries."

Anyway judge for yourself but surely the most innacurate aspect of the ad is the unlikelyhood of this many West Indian fans being at a cricket match.....

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