Check out this fascinating commercial for Identity Guard, sent in by Brian T., that contrasts a serene, pristine, white world with a busy, dirty, black one:

The commercial only “works” if people generally recognize the portrayal of Nigeria as a source of corruption.  It undermines this stereotype in the end, but it can only do so because the stereotype exists in the first place.  In that sense, it’s a really nice demonstration of the fact that, at least as far as the people involved in making and approving this commercial (including test audiences) are concerned, the idea that Nigeria (and perhaps “Africa” at large) is corrupt is a powerful and ubiquitous social construction.


Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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