MetroPCS, a wireless communications company, is currently running a multi-commercial racist advertisement campaign. One of these commercials aired during the Super Bowl. The ad presents a scene with two gentlemen, Ranjit and Chad, who are obvious caricatures of South Asian Americans, flaunting thick mustaches and even thicker accents. Portrayed as style-vapid nerds who are apparent IT masters, they host a talk show, “Tech and Talk,” and are depicted as being entirely clueless outside the realm of technology. At one point, one of the Oriental commentators exclaims, “You are now like my uncle’s cow, Godi — tied to a post and milked at regular intervals!”  The commercial ends after the host relays a question from the audience, and bizarre belly dancers jump out from the wings of the stage, ridiculously flailing around in Indian attire. The Bollywood dancers are accompanied, for no apparent reason, by a man donning antiquated Bavarian attire — lederhosen and long socks — who puts a large conical hat on the questioner’s head.   

Ideas and representations matter, no matter how absurd the presentation.

We have seen the role media plays in the creation and perpetuation of minority stereotypes. There was a time when African Americans were depicted in media in only one of two ways: as big lipped, gap-toothed buffoons who were good for nothing but eating watermelons, or as monstrous and violent predators. Society has moved beyond depicting black people in such unabashedly simple and disrespectful ways, at least in front of large audiences. Even today, this community still must deal with racism that stems from the stereotypes that past media representations helped create.

The MetroPCS commercials are especially heinous because they are one of very few depictions of South Asian Americans in the media. As such, even stereotypical notions presented by insane commercials can easily be absorbed into society’s common vernacular and indoctrinated as truth.

We like to think that if we had the chance to relive the past, we would break from old norms and stand up to injustices like sexism and racism. Here is our chance. Do not stand idly by while another minority group is victimized. Refuse to buy or use MetroPCS products.

Boycott MetroPCS.


7 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Patel Punjab,

    Calm down slum dog, its just a commercial. Its ironic that cheap indian’s are probably the number one customer of Metro PCS!

  2. Glans,

    Yea, that commercial is funny as hell.

  3. I Drink Hi-C,

    Good article! Commercial is WACKKKKKK

  4. ashish,

    Its racist and stereotypes indians. We are not just IT techies with accents, there are Indian IT techies out there that have no accent as well as holding other professions. All you see on TV/movies is indians with accents (like 99percent of time). Have you tried showing second generation or third generation of Indians? Indians that speak english/american without indian accens. For asians in the media, you see this too but not as much but for indians its a given: accent .

  5. ashish,

    Patel Punjab
    “Calm down slum dog, its just a commercial. Its ironic that cheap indian’s are probably the number one customer of Metro PCS!”

    who you calling cheap? and probably number one? no not ironic very stupid comment. if trying to attain wireless service for less money than competitors to a point of balance between service acceptablity and cost constitutes being cheap than i think everyone at Metro is cheap then. What if some metro customers who save with metro pcs and are fine with it but at same time that particular metro customer loves to fish and has a $1000 shimano fishing pole/reel vs the verizon guy that loves to fish but doesnt believe in spending $1000 for a stick when he’s happy with $100 pole/reel.

    Of course its just a commercial, but its that attitude that is allowing western society media to portray indians in that manner when you and I both know not every indian has an accent and works in IT. Sure it would be funny IF you actually see indians in america that speak without an accent but thats where problem lies…you dont see that….all u see is indians portrayed as they do in the metro commercial. Until thats balanced, i guess i can take a chill pill and find it slighly amusing but when its the only thing you see (lets face it 99percent of time) then its just wrong.

  6. Anton DeNagrieve,

    Metropcs appears to be a scam company from the negative consumer affair complaints I’ve seen (over 100 and counting). Personally, I don’t care if the ads are racist or not, the last thing I want to see on TV are more indians…it’s bad enough I keep losing jobs because of them….why the hell Pakistan can’t doing something about it (hint) is beyond me. Where the hell is Custer when we need him? Oh, wait, that was the other Indians. Oh well, whatever works!

    And no, I’m not a racist, just one small person tired of trying to work against the flood of INDIA Inc. Try doing what they’re doing in their country and see where it gets you.


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