Where Do My Readers Come From?

Monday, December 13, 2010


So, I, had an interesting thought this morning as I was getting ready to head down to the coffee shop. It came about because of a discussion that my house-mate and I had yesterday during the Pittsburgh Steelers game. They were showing basically the same Toyota car commercial over and over during the breaks. It was a national commercial and the point of it was that you never know who you will see buying a Toyota. What my house-mate commented on was that it also seemed that you would never see any African-Americans at the Toyota dealerships and very few Hispanics other then Eric Estrada, but I do not think famous people count, because in this case it was special because he was Eric Estrada not because he was Hispanic. When my friend pointed that out I countered with "Well perhaps African-Americans do not buy Toyotas. Maybe it is a demographic thing?" Now, I was being factitious but it made me think. I have grown up in Salem, Oregon. It is a small to midsized town in the heart of the Willamette Valley and on the west side of Oregon. I am within a hour long drive or less from the Pacific Ocean.

Now, I grew up here and Salem is a pretty white town. It is possible that we are now more then 50% Hispanic I do not know the exact numbers but I know as a child the few people of color in my grade school all the way through to high school were usually Asian of some sort. There were just not very many African Americans. But what I wonder is...should I care about that? Should it bother me when I see a commercial that is obviously whitewashed or conversely been run through some sort of committee that said well we need a rainbow so lets get one of every race. To me that is not realistic.

Now, do not get me wrong I have no problem with integration and the more people of differing backgrounds and experiences the more exciting a place can be to live and I think the food in those places will be better by far then a place that is predominately one race or the other. But, I am unable to control who moves where and I tend to feel like these things happen organically and do not happen smoothly or well when done artificially.

So should I be concerned about something that I really have no control over other then that I in my own personal life can be welcoming to all peoples. I am not in a position of authority. I am unable to make laws that will impact societal mores one way or the other. So should it bother me if notice a commercial is racist? Does it make me a bad person if it doesn't bother me?

Just some thoughts that are bouncing around in the old noggin this morning.
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