When will companies get it right?

Recently TMZ uncovered a casting call document from an ad agency working with luxury carmaker Acura whose Super Bowl ad had a peculiar request. The document requested that the role of the car dealer be played by a “nice looking, friendly” black actor who is “not too dark.”

The commercial aired during the Super Bowl and starred comedians Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld, and apparently an actor who fit the bill.

TMZ obtained the casting document from a disgruntled actor who presumably did not fall on the “right” side of the color spectrum, and was upset with the casting agency’s narrow-minded approach.

Although I’m not surprised, this is just another example of how people of color are continually marginalized in Hollywood. Even if you’re talented, you have to contend with some people’s colorism that view lighter skinned people as “nice looking” and “friendly,” while those with darker skin are often cast as scary and menacing.

The notion that dark skin is somehow suspect is nothing new. Throughout our history black and brown people have been relegated to second-class citizenship and have been looked upon with suspicion. Racial profiling, stop and frisk policies, and the repeated shootings of unarmed minorities by police and others are just an extension of ideas expressed in this casting document. However, the fact that an agency felt it right to put such blatant discriminatory language in writing is extremely problematic.

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