Sunday night, while many gathered around the TV and tuned into the Super Bowl, advertisers shelled out major cash to capture the attention of viewers. Some commercials, such as the Doritos and Volkswagen ads were hits, while others were major flops (ehem. GoDaddy).
Because we are in the middle of campaign season, Super Bowl Sunday also saw its fair share of political ads, but one is catching heat because of its offensive nature.
Former U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra’s Super Bowl campaign ad has come under fire for being racially insensitive. Hoekstra, who is hoping to defeat Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, released an ad featuring an Asian woman riding a bike through a rice paddy, speaking broken English, and thanking Senator Stabenow for supporting China through U.S. spending.
Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as black religious leaders and the Asian Pacific Islander’s voting group, have condemned the controversial ad, but Hoekstra is defending it.
“We knew we were taking an aggressive approach on this, but we’re in a time when people are fed up with the spending and we wanted to capture that frustration with the spending,” Hoekstra said. “It hits Debbie smack-dab between the eyes on the area where she is most vulnerable.”
Hoekstra claimed the ad wasn’t insensitive to the Asian community because the actress was “100% Chinese,” but rather was a criticism of his opponents’ votes in the Senate.
“The Chinese benefit from the recklessness of U.S. spending. It doesn’t criticize the Chinese at all,” he told reporters.
While the advertisement is clearly offensive to Asian Americans, it’s just the latest case of race bating in this election cycle. From calling President Obama a “food stamp president,” to continuing to bash immigrants, Republicans’ insistence on stoking racial prejudices to garner votes is not only repulsive, but will most-like fail.
As America become less and less white, many in the GOP need to realize they are not simply speaking to those who look like them. In order to be successful, Republicans need to connect with minority voters, not offend them.
What do you think of this ad and Pete Hoekstra’s refusal to apologize? Will we see more racially insensitive ads as the 2012 election season continues?