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Coke Ad Called Racist For Portrayal Of Arab-Americans

Coke Ad Called Racist For Portrayal Of Arab-Americans

A Coke ad has been called racist for depicting an Arab walking through the desert with a camel, a stereotype that Arab-American groups say is offensive.

The Coke ad was set to debut before an audience of 100 million US viewers during Super Bowl XLVII, but the beverage company may have to make some changes. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC, is asking Coke to change the ad it calls racist.

“Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers?” said Warren David, president of the ADC.

The Coke ad being called racist was unveiled in part last week, Reuters reported. In the ad, an Arab walking through a desert runs into cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls, and a crew of post-apocalyptic marauders in the style of the movie Mad Max, all of them racing to reach a giant bottle of Coke.

The Coke ad was actually meant to be interactive, with the company asking people to go online and vote for who should win the race. The Arab leading the camel was not part of the voting.

This feature irked some Arab-American groups.

“The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world,” Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email.

The Coke ad is not the only one being called racist. The ad, from Volkswagon, portrays a white man who speaks to everyone he sees with a Jamaican accent. Though many question whether the ad was racist, The New York Times‘ Charles Blow describing it as being “like blackface with voices.”

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48 Responses to “Coke Ad Called Racist For Portrayal Of Arab-Americans”

  1. Travis C Marshall

    what was racist about it? the chicks? the white guy? the mexican looking guy? the arab guy? the fact that I didn't see a black guy in it? what about the japs? the germans? the russians? the lizard people? the bird people? the ants? wtf was racist about it? can we say people need to get over race already?

  2. Theresa McGuire

    I too am struggling to see why it's racist. Don't some Arabs wear traditional dress and own camels? I personally don't see it as backward or racist because I think of Arabs as being successful. Then again, if I were an Arab who dresses modernly and drives a BMW, I would be mad if every non-Arab I met kept asking me where my robes are and where's my camel and maybe that's the point.

  3. Chris Flaherty

    It must have been that the arab was leading a camel. Everyone knows this is the first time an arab has been portrayed leading a camel. There are of course no camels in Arabia. Racism is a ridiculous assertion. Get over it.

  4. Sean Basinger

    Is it racist to say those that are offended can go kiss a camel's A.

  5. Vanessa Powers

    Why exactly is it racist to show an Arab in traditional dress? Many men don this type of dress in Dubai and many areas of the Middle East, including Palestine/Israel, Saudia Arabia, etc.

  6. Ed Fields

    If the ad showed Saudis, Iranians, or Taliban stoning the woman to death for drinking a coke, would that be racist? If the ad showed Indians gangraping a woman and violating her with the coke bottle, would that be racist? Just curious.

  7. Cari L. Fedorchak

    I consider them racists because they keep using the race card just as much as Jesse Jackass and Al Sharptongue! It's a game within an ad designed to have viewers vote on who gets the prize! Were these same dorks screaming racism when the white polar bears were being used cuz Coke didn't have mixed racial/cultural bears besides white-only polar bears?

  8. Michael Beard

    I am sorry I must of missed it, What was racist about that. Why is everybody so up tight anymore, I don't care what is being said someone is offended. Man get a life!

  9. Brian V. Sitterley

    I listen to whining about racism so much, that I assume a person is lying until really proved otherwise. This is typical. They would probably be less offended if they had the wit to return to Saudi Arabia. Freedom is offensive to moslems.

  10. Dan Squeak Hebbel

    maybe if they said camel jockey or sand n*gger, THAT would be racist. Stupid people need to knock it off saying this kind of crap is racist. They don't know what racist is.

  11. Anonymous

    I would love to be in a Super Bowl commercial! Give me a leaf blower, a sombrero and a Chevy truck!

  12. Anonymous

    I'm SO damned mad! Not a Southern White Boy Cracker Honkie in the whole durn thang!

  13. Minnie Cooper-Cinquecento

    How is that even REMOTELY racist? Yeesh…its a play on everyone who has ever been thirsty in the desert…duh! You only need 1/2 a bran to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mad Max, cowboys and Arabs who dress like that when they LIVE in freakin deserts. Hell, they dress like that on occasion here in Washington. The whole "sensitivity" thing is getting a bit tedious.

  14. Tim Suaso

    I've been to Kuwait once. Arabs in the traditional dress were everywhere. Their king’s portrait, which was prominently displayed in every building, depicted him wearing the traditional dress, and all of the Kuwaiti women wore a hijab. Furthermore, every morning on the way to work, we could see the Kuwaitis, who liked to camp in the dessert, riding and racing their camels through the dessert.
    I think what’s going on with the ADC is that knowing how fearful people in this country have become of being labeled a racist, they are seeing how far they can go with controlling American society by claiming racism over the most inane things. They are well aware that the commercial is not racist, but if Americans will give that much power to them, then why not exploit it?

  15. India Hamilton

    I have no idea why I was watching this waiting for the SLIGHTEST impression for anything racial. A bunch of racial cultures coming together for an ad is NOT racist. In fact, this was even about RACE it was more about the cultures of people from where they are.

  16. Jayson Molinares

    I love how the advertisement industry always gets criticized. People just love to point at something.

  17. Anonymous

    There is not one thing racist about this ad. But maybe I should be offended by the depiction of the biker guy? I ride a bike too and that filthy nasty looking Mad Maxx character does not in any way represent me. Now, I'm am SOOOO offended… LOL Not really. C'mon people! Get a grip and relax!

  18. Patrick Grant

    The only racism that is not reported OS anti white racism. And blacks are the biggist group that vent anti white comments. When the race baitets tried to railroad the duke lacrosse players they called them orivleged white boys. When OH was acquired the black hcommunity cheerred likye hutheir team won the superbowl.

  19. Nicolai Brooks

    Who the fuck cares it's a god damn commercial and I bet thge fuckin arab dude wins…Cause it's fifty miles ahead and he's going to take the road less traveled. Its only racist because he's ona fuckin camel and everyone else got fuckin cars or bikes and busses! That's the only thing that I can see coming out of it!

  20. Lisa Elgarnaoui

    If this ad was targeting consumers directly in Saudi Arabia or Dubai then no this portion of the ad would not be offensive, but much of the rest of the ad would be to that audience. Since the ad is targeting US consumers, then yes it is offensive to many Arab Americans as they do not dress this way, they look like you and me and they certainly do not own a camel. To depict them in this way is stereotyping and many of us know how stereotypes can make us feel. Think about the stereotypes Arab Americans face today…Islamophobia has a tight grip on a good portion of this country. Arab Americans must deal with this on a daily basis as many non-Arab Americans stereotype Arabs as being Muslim. Yes, many Arabs are Muslim, the middle east is where Islam was born, but there are many Jewish, and Christian Arabs as well. So putting them into a stereotype such as this really is not fair and can be offensive to some Arab Americans. For me it really boils down to Marketing 101 – Localizing for your targeted audience. The man dressed in traditional middle eastern clothes, guiding a camel in the desert just doesn't make sense if you are targeting a US audience. I'm surprised Coke missed the mark on this really.

  21. Blue Mann

    The Arabs are one of the most racist groups on the planet, and they're upset about being stereotyped in the ad because they weren't included in the race to the Coke bottle? The brutal truth is, they'd probably still be wandering around the desert on camels if it wasn't for their oil.

  22. Hector Navarrete

    Where's the racism? the new arab stereo type should be STUPID…. they will complain about anything just to have control of americans. Telling us what we can and can't air in our country. If you don't like it and it offends you, GO HOME! if you're telling me your from america, then stop complaining other wise GO HOME! GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY.

  23. Nicholas Kloster

    Great advertisement, you see?
    It's just a way to get you to watch it.
    Calling it racist.
    Will make you watch it.
    You just voluntarily watched a Coca Cola commercial.

  24. Anonymous

    THERE WAS ONLY 1 NATIVE AMERICAN LAS VEGAS WOMAN.. RACIST! This country seriously needs to grow up. There is absolutely nothing racist about this. If there was a plane landing, bombs, weird facial hair, or a messed up camel then OK MAYBE. What I see is another funny Superbowl commercial ad like Doritos that I hope is aired.

  25. Asif Ali Budhwani

    Its spelled "Muslims". "Moslems" is how ignorant folks say and spell it. don't be one. Im muslim I love my freedom and MY country, U.S.A. smoke one and chill man your in Colorado.

  26. Judy Lupchansky

    These are all movie archetypes, not ethnic representations (Lawrence of Arabia, Cowboys, Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the dessert). The offensive bit is that they didn't have the courage to actually have drag queens driving that bus.

  27. Cemre Knownas Gem

    if they love to point at people with their choices then they will get pointed out lol

  28. Richard Gilmour

    Does this mean that the movie "The Mummy" is racist? Because I like that movie.. but wait, if I like that movie does that make me racist? Even though I have Arab friends. I'm confused.

  29. Anonymous

    But there no problem with showgirls, cowboys and mad bikers? Muslims are cry babies.

  30. George Kecskemeti

    Lisa your comment is really confusing. Are you saying Christian Arabs dress differently from Muslims? Or that the commercial depicts Arabs in a modern urban setting as wearing robes and riding camels? Perhaps as a white person you are angered and disturbed at the depictions of whites as out of control cowboys in this commercial? No? Maybe you are just someone with too much time on their hands and a penchant for embracing causes you think will give you an edge in holier than thou game among your peers.

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