You’re either having a scotch at the Red Carpet Club or you’re downin’ cheap coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts:

This picture, which I happen to find hilarious, was taken by me during an unsuccessful attempt to get out of Logan Airport after the American Sociological Association meetings in Boston.  I ended up being treated very nicely at the Days Inn.

I have posted previously on the exoticization of the Other through tourism (see especially this post on hula girls in Hawaii).  This is part of an exoticization of the Other that occurs within state borders as well as across.   bell hooks talks about about how some white people see having sex with a person of color as an exciting adventure, like a trip to an exotic location, in her essay “Eating the Other.”   See also Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality by Joane Nagel and Black Sexual Politics by Patricia Hill Collins.  You can see visual representations of it here and here.

Jacob G. sent us this amazing ad suggesting that dating a person of another race is like going to an exotic location. 


he wanted to show me exotic places.

Um. Wow.

NEW!  From Postsecret:

In this series, I offer a typology reflecting the ways in which people of color are used in advertising aimed primarily at whites (see the first and the second in the series).  In this, the third edition, I suggest that sometimes people of color are included because the idea of “diversity” triggers the related ideas of “cool,” “hip,” “urban,” and “youth,” which also invoke “modernity” and the idea of being “global,” “cosmopolitan,” even “progressive” politics.

In this ad, a mix of races are used.  Notice that the ad also happens to include, in the bottom image, photography, what looks like a dark beer, and espresso (all “upper class” “sophisticated” interests) and, in the top image, we see that the woman who appears Asian is an art dealer.

In this next ad, again, we see a mix of races enjoying what looks like a train ride (how European!) with hard liquor.  The text:

The shortest distance between two places isn’t nearly as interesting.

I think it is no accident that “interesting” and racial difference are both present in this ad.

In this next ad we see a racially ambiguous male and a black woman.  Notice the clothes that they are wearing (casually sophisticated) and the delicate nature of their coffee cups.  This is leisure, not some working-class Joe with a cup o’ joe.  Text:

3658 miles from the coffee fields of the Columbian Andes.  But still the perfect climate for Colombian Coffee.

The idea of travel, of course, invokes a certain degree of cosmopolitan-ness and wealth.  And the “perfect” climate refers not just to weather, but to the kind of company Colombian Coffee drinkers keep.

This ad for H&M is a bit different.  Instead of invoking sophistication and cosmopolitan-ness, I think it invokes who and what is “hip” and “cool” and “diversity” is used as a signifier. The text:

H&M is Europe’s leading fashion retailer [Europe again], with over 850 stores worldwide [a reference to being “global”].  Offering high-fashion [i.e., “sophisticated?”] and quality for men, women and children at great prices.

These last two ads, instead of using people of color to emphasize being “hip” or “sophisticated,” use them to signal “youth” and what being young represents.  Young people are on the forefront of “cool,” of course, and also, in some sense, define “progressive” in that they herald a more “diverse” and “tolerant” future (hello, Obama). 


Next up: Including people of color so as to trigger the idea of human diversity.

Don’t miss the others in the series:

(1) Including people of color so as to associate the product with the racial stereotype. 
(2) Including people of color to invoke (literally) the idea of “color” or “flavor.”

Chris M. noticed something bizarre on the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website.

If you scroll about 1/4th of the way down this page, there is a list of pdfs and videos about security on airplanes. There are separate videos for the female and the male “business traveler.” They both show liquids in a plastic bag, but apparently only men carry laptops and women are relieved from having to take off their shoes.

Chris thought it was especially interesting to see this on a .gov site. Nice find Chris!