Spokescharacter Stereotypes


David Segal at Slate has an interesting slide-ssay (slide show essay) on “the strange history of racist spokescharacters.” Inspired in part by recent revisions to Uncle Ben’s rice spokescharacter that make him more of a fictional CEO than fictional chef/cook.

Segal writes that “nasty stereotypes have helped moved merchandise for more than a century and the history of their use and abuse offers a weird and telling glimpse of race relations in this country.”

Based upon his slide show….it looks like we still have a way to go. Some spokescharacters (including the Uncle Ben character and some sports teams) seem like they’re grandfathered in…but the pressure’s still on due to adverse publicity and they may change as well.