Denigration

76 Gas: We’re on the (white) driver’s side

76 Gas (owned by Phillips 66) is a gas station chain. They have a series of advertisements on their youtube channel. Many feature Asian actors playing negative Asian stereotypes.

Ad #1: The scene is shot in a rather dimly light Asian mahjong (akin to Chinese poker) club. Immediately you can see a live chicken on a table which looks to be the pet of the Asian man. I am not sure if this happens….EVER at any sort of mahjong club. See it here.

Analysis #1: The message is “Asian culture is so weird and outlandish compared to normal white people. What will they do next?”

In a fit of rage, the East Asian man stands up to yell in a dubbed accented English voice saying “you disrespected the game, and betrayed your honour, for that, you must pay” – yet again it is the cliched “you offended my honor” Asian “joke”. The White man then replies in dubbed Cantonese poorly, “I think his voice is rather different!”.

For once, it would be great if we do not associate East Asians and accents and deriding everything we say. Such associations reinforce the perpetuatual foreigner sterotype even though Asians have been living in America since at least the 1850’s – or..trying to live, rather.

Ad #2: A South Asian is running away with his eyes glued to his phone! Behind him are two White friends, one stealing an Asian man’s pet chicken and the other smirking as he topples a bin over. See it here.

Analysis #2: This is the IT geeks stereotype.

The contrast is black and white. The South Asian man is a boring IT nerd while the White characters can freely trash a gambling den (owned by Asian gangsters), steal a man’s pet chicken, and get away with it. That reflects the attitude on the attitudes and behaviors of many White immigrants in Asia.

Ad #3: The South Asian man is on his phone again while his White co-worker fills up gas. The white man slaps his phone on the ground, treating him like a child. The South Asian guy is unfazed and instead brings out another phone as if by nerdy blackmagic.See it here.

Analysis #3: This scene reinforces the trope that Asians are “Tech smart but boring and lack social grace.”

Ad #4: In video 4, the South Asian man decides to give a suggestion of a “longcut”, long story short, it ties together the other videos we have seen above. They spend most part of the day going on rollercoasters, watching roller skating arena, and playing Mahjong where the White man is caught cheating, hence runs away whilst stealing a pet chicken. They finish their day off by returning to their office. However, throughout the whole ordeal the South Asian man is on his phone! See it here.

Analysis #4: This reinforces the stereotype of South Asian being IT geeks, again.

Ad #5: They demonstrate more cultural ignorance. A Tibetan monk speaks Cantonese. This exhibits the ignorance that all Asian cultures and people are interchangeable. The narrative goes: “And like many, Yongdzin is tired of honkaholism”. I assume this refers to road rage/honking car horns. He is asked by a white psychiatrist how honking is an issue for him and he gives a random unrelated answer to “prove” how inscrutable he is, which is dismissed as drivel. Finally, the psychiatrist gives him a 76 gas branded toy horn. He squeezes it and then sniffs it. He is being treated like a child. See it here.

Analysis #5: As it is frequently reflected in real life perceptions, someone not speaking English (especially a strange “Asian” language) is equivalent to being stupid, unintelligent, childish, immature, and needing guidance. Here, a a wise man gets placed into a child’s position to play with a squeaky horn.

Conclusion: It is a continuous battle, even in commercials, where whites are the only ones portrayed as normal, while racial minorities are only seen as racial stereotypes, jokes, unintelligible, and weird. Every race is humiliated from time to time, but for Asians, it’s a full time job including graveyard shifts.

Stereotypes shown:

East Asian Male as not able or unexpected to speak English.

East Asian Male cast as gangsters.

South Asian Male cast as IT geeks

East Asian Male exhibits child like behaviors.

OFFENDER: 76 Gas
CATEGORY OF OFFENSE: Denigration ( Reinforces stereotypes)
MEDIA TYPE: Online Ad
OFFENSE DATE: January 1, 2019

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