Intel Apologizes For "Insensitive" and "Insulting" Ad

Following an uproar on our sister sites Gizmodo and Gawker, Intel has apologized for this, uh, “insensitive” ad. Intel says on their blog:

Intel’s intent of our ad titled “Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees” was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through the visual metaphor of a sprinter. We have used the visual of sprinters in the past successfully.

Unfortunately, our execution did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be insensitive and insulting. Upon recognizing this, we attempted to pull the ad from all publications but, unfortunately, we failed on one last media placement.

We are sorry and are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Nancy Bhagat Vice President, Director of Integrated Marketing

So they caught the whole “insulting” aspect of this before it ran, but too late to stop it?

At least she didn’t use the phrase, “We are taking this very seriously” in her apology. Consumerist is so sick of that hearing that phrase.

Intel Ad: Stupid? Or Stupid And Racist? [Gawker]
Intel Ad Might be Racist, but Boy Does It Make Me Want a Core 2 Duo [Gizmodo]
Sprinter Ad [Intel Blog]

Comments

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  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I really don’t see what the big deal is…I mean, I can see why people would take this as a racist ad, but I honestly doubt I’d have noticed that if it wasn’t pointed out. Kinda like the PSP ads with the white and black chicks.

  2. Youthier says:

    @AlteredBeast: I must be as insensitive as you and Intel because I stared at the ad forever before figuring out the problem.

    And I must also be a complete idiot because I swear “It’s offensive to bald people?” actually crossed my mind.

  3. theWolf says:

    Yeah. Sprinters are never black.

  4. alk509 says:

    Oh, brother…

    No, wait – make that “Oh, brotha…”

  5. alk509 says:

    Oh, brother…

    No, wait! make that “Oh, brotha…”

  6. iMike says:

    Much. Ado. About nothing.

  7. Phuturephunk says:

    Intel should apologize for shitty advertising, if anything.

  8. B says:

    Right, what could possibly be offensive about a picture of six black men kneeling before a smirking white man.

  9. Echodork says:

    Gawker making a big deal out of nothing? No!

  10. zibby says:

    You’re right, not all that much in this case.

  11. Dangerdog says:

    Silly sprinters. You’re all just going to hit into eachother.

  12. bombaxstar says:

    @iMike: My thoughts exactly.

  13. Starfury says:

    @Dangerdog: Now there’s a youtube video that would be fun to watch.

  14. Adept says:

    Gimme a break. People really work hard to make mountains out of molehills.

  15. ancientsociety says:

    @B: Agreed.

    And I wouldn’t be so quick to say “Much ado about nothing”. Advertising is, in many ways, covert and subtle, attempting to bypass your conscious efforts to block it out. And this ad succeeds in working subconsciously, just look at most of the responses – most of us had to have the racist message pointed out before we noticed it (myself included).

    Here’s the smirking white professional with his physically fit, black subordinates. While it may not be as overt as having him be a white plantation owner surrounded with kneeling slaves, it’s still racist.

  16. MeOhMy says:

    It would be insulting if they were actually kneeling…which they’re not.

    Stupid? Yes.
    Insulting? Seems like everyone’s looking for an opportunity anymore.

  17. Nytmare says:

    It does look more like obeisance than sprinting.

  18. gibsonic says:

    so people are offended by cloning right?…because it’s the same black sprinter PS’d into 6 different places on the picture.

  19. gibsonic says:

    if nothing else the “sprinters” are showing what all cubicle dwellers do metaphorically all the time… “assume the position”

  20. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: That’s the problem. You’re telling me they couldn’t get an ethnic mix of 6 different sprinters? Come on! The fact that it’s one guy ps’d 6x just reinforces the stereotype that black people are homogenous and lacking individual identities

  21. Rahnee says:

    I have to say I stared at the ad for a long while before reading the comments and never figured out what the big deal was. I had to read the comments before I realized the ad was considered racial. I have 2 art degrees and have studied visual arts and messaging for years. When I looked at this ad all I saw was poorly directed sprinters. I also wondered why an Intel ad had not a single computer in the picture. Race never came to mind. I saw runners with nice outdoor tans, a shitty ad and a photo that did not showcase the actual product being advertised. So Intel’s marketing dept sucks. So does every other aspect of the company. I don’t see what the big deal is. I agree with previous comments, “mountains out of mole hills”.

  22. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @ancientsociety:

    The whole idea is “multiplying” in this ad, so it NEEDS to be one person PS’d over and over. Perhaps it stands out more when that person is black.

    Or, it could be several different black guys, and you guys just think they all look the same. :-/

  23. zeitguess says:

    Wow. You really have to wonder what marketing firms are thinking when they come up with something like this and no one has warning bells. So much for cultural diversity in the workplace. I literally gasped the first time I saw this ad. You have minorities bowing down to ‘the man’ as well as all subservient ‘employees’ being minority men. No one else sees a problem with this?

  24. gibsonic says:

    oh come on…

    it’s actually likely that some artsy fartsy graphics designer was going for a cleaner/simplified image. having. It’s symmetry and symmetry is beautiful and pleasing to the eyes.

    I suspect you and other “Al Sharpton’s” would be crying foul if it didn’t have ANY black athletes and used a white sprinter PS’d 6 times saying…”Why did they have to PS a white guy 6 times instead of using an ethnic mix.”

    They were probably trying to save $ by only hiring 1 athlete.

    Last I checked there weren’t too many successful WHITE sprinters…all of the ones I can remember have been black.

  25. I saw the problem as soon as I looked at it, but I wonder if I would have if I had seen the ad independent of this article now. I mean, the headline/opening blurb may have had me looking for something at which to be offended. However, I think once you see the issue, the existence of the guy in the middle is a little more than merely uncomfortable. He’s a tit. No one would bow to him, especially not six well-muscled athletes.

  26. gibsonic says:

    @AlteredBeast:

    after looking at it further, i do still think it is the same person but was photographed from both sides so that they wouldn’t have an unnatural mirror image effect.

  27. gibsonic says:

    THEY AREN’T BOWING!

    Have you people never watched a track meet?!?!

  28. Shadowman615 says:

    Sigh. I think it would be better to focus on honest-to-god racism rather than this kind of petty crap. People who get up-in-arms every time a Rorschach Ink Blot rubs them the wrong way are a distraction from more serious issues. It does nothing but detract from their cause.

  29. lore says:

    Wait, isn’t that sprinter in the back right of the image white? At least looks half…

  30. dbeahn says:

    Hell, I think this is a case of someone FINALLY showing the truth – bosses prefer their employees bent over. After all, companies are always giving their workers the shaft…

  31. Pelagius says:

    This advertisement is insulting to clones everywhere. Shame, Intel, shame!

  32. mopar_man says:

    I think all companies should just give up advertising. You know there’s people out there who just live to find something offensive about everything.

  33. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @mopar_man:

    I find that offensive!

  34. gibsonic says:

    See the words “Leap Ahead” right next to the Intel logo…

    MAYBE…just MAYBE…they were trying to use the imagery of runners read to leap to express in a static image the idea of motion…

    because anyone who has ever seen a sprint event from the Olympics or any high school track meet will know that when the runners hear that gun they LEAP off those blocks with great energy to get them going.

  35. gibsonic says:

    i find it offensive that they show such a pretty cubicle environment with so many windows…are they trying to make me feel inferior!

  36. Bay State Darren says:

    A] Not actually racist. Intel was not trying to insult black people.

    B] Still stupid. If tech bloggers are able to spot the inadvertent connoctation, should some idiot in marketing do the same with the copy before it’s published?

  37. ancientsociety says:

    @gibsonic: Well I’m far from being an “Al Sharpton” – I’m white, not a racist, and I disagree with his “method” – but I’m smart enough to realize that advertising is a form of propaganda.

    @AlteredBeast: 6 different black men, all holding the EXACT same position? I think not….

  38. davidaegger says:

    I think the people that find the ad racist are racists. Jumping up and down and going nuts everytime something could possibly, maybe have some racial message that might be construed does nothing to help equality. I’m actually proud of myself that I didn’t see anything racist in the ad until some nutjobs pointed it out.

    Lots of things can be taken lots of different ways. Like all the people that insist on finding metaphors in Tolkien when the guy insisted all his life that there were none, it’s just a story.

    People will distort anything to their own means when given the opportunity.

  39. Slytherin says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with this ad. Until I read the comments regarding what the commotion and “uproar” was about, race never crossed my mind.

    People need to lighten the f**k up!

  40. TCameron says:

    Nothing is worng with this picture, so long as they aren’t using performance enhancing drugs.

  41. SOhp101 says:

    Honestly there’s nothing wrong with the ad… except that their advertising department is so cheap that they wouldn’t purchase photographs of multiple sprinters and instead just bought one to fill up all the cubicles. Than again I guess all the cores are supposed to be the same…

    Maybe they can use the ‘but we wanted a streamlined appearance’ excuse but having the ‘IT manager’ or whatever he is off center is bs.

    It’s just a really bad ad. No, not because it’s potentially racially offensive but because it’s just really bad execution.

  42. jwarner132 says:

    At first glance, I can see how people might think this is racist, but now I can see exactly why Intel chose to set up the ad the way they did.

    Intel is trying to advertise their multiple-core processors by using sprinter clones. They couldn’t have used a diverse group of sprinters, or else they wouldn’t have been clones. Therefore Intel had to pick ONE person to be the sprinter (and clones). I just Googled it, and it turns out that the fastest sprinter in the world is in fact a black man, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell. So, by using a black man as the sprinter and clones, Intel is trying to say “Our processor is the fastest” by using factually correct visual representations.

    Putting a white man in the middle though probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but they were just trying to play to their biggest customer base. I don’t have any statistics on hand to back it up, but I think it’s safe to say that in the United States, the majority of CEOs and IT buyers (the audience for which the ad is intended) are white men.

    So I think Intel had solid reasonings for the decisions they made for the ad, but during the review process, someone should have realized that in today’s racially hyper-sensitive culture, it was probably a bad idea.

  43. gibsonic says:

    who wants some watermelon and fried chicken? I’m hungry.

  44. Chaosium says:

    @AlteredBeast: The PSP ads were even dumber, the people who were determined to be offended ignored the rest of the ad campaign, even when it was waved right in their face.

  45. startertan says:

    Where’s Al Sharpton? Shouldn’t he be on the news right about now demanding Bill Gates resignation since he’s demeaned and hurt every bald, dark tan/black track runner in the universe?

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what was wrong with the ad too. I thought it was b/c you’re not allowed to be half-nude at work…unless you work at hooters or a t!ttee bar.

  46. “Mountain out of a molehill” or not it’s pretty obvious what the problem with the ad is. Don’t several people have to look at these things before they go into print? How did nobody catch this?

    I just don’t think the visual works period. The sprinters just don’t make sense there. The text says “maximize the power” of your employees, not their speed and even then it’d make more sense to show them moving quickly. They’re not actually going anywhere yet in the ad. I think showing the sprinters running with suitcases and business ties would have worked better. But that’s just me.

  47. supra606 says:

    I agree with most of the posters. It took me a long time looking at the ad to realize what people are saying is wrong with it. In my opinion, people are only trivializing the real issue of racism when they try to nitpick everything for any hint of anything that could possibly be construed as racist just so they can whine about it.

  48. shoegazer says:

    If we all could just admit,
    that we’re all racist… a little bit
    Even though we all know
    That it’s wrong,
    Maybe it would help us
    Get along.

    Princeton: Oh, Christ do I feel good.
    Gary Coleman: Now there was a fine upstanding black man!

  49. gibsonic says:

    @supra606:

    exactly… aseop’s fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf

    if people cry foul for every little thing that really ISN’T a foul, they lose their credibility when something is really wrong. (i.e. Al Sharpton)

  50. Consumertaz says:

    @lore:
    They just adjusted the lighting on the different copies of the image. Its the same picture 6 times. 3 of which were flipped using the mirror button. The ones in the back have a greater amount of lighting because they are closer to the window. The whold thing probably took an hour to put together.

  51. 3drage says:

    I’m offended that Intel is too cheap to use different sprinter models in their photographs, and instead copied and pasted the same one over again.

  52. bravo369 says:

    Maybe it’s because i’m a computer guy but I had to look at it for a few minutes before spotting a problem. Frankly, I didn’t even really understand the ad in the first place. I mean, come on. This is a nothing issue to me.

  53. adrock75 says:

    I could see how it would be offensive – to a dumbass. The ad does suck, but racist? No.

  54. i can’t wait for the summer olympics when people are up in arms before every single race…since that’s exactly the position runners take right before they start running. it’s not kneeling as you’d have to be on a knee to be kneeling. it’s not bowing either.

    and it says ‘maximize the power of your employees.’ why are people so mad about turning your employees into black sprinters being considered making them more powerful? i’d take that as a compliment if it was me in that ad ready to run into photoshopped clones of myself.

  55. roche says:

    I am offended by the fact that everyone else in this country is turning into a pussy where the slightest thing offends or outrages them.

  56. pestie says:

    I’m generally disgusted by the “PC police” and their crusade to sanitize thought everywhere. I’m pretty far from your typical nanny-state, California liberal. I tell people to “get over it, it’s just a joke” on a regular basis. But I looked at this ad and though, “Jesus Harold Christ, who the fuck missed the symbolism here??” What Ancientsociety said above about advertising being aimed squarely at your subconscious is very true, and the implied message here is one clearly derived from the plantations of the Old South.

  57. Trai_Dep says:

    I think it’s a generational thing. Old fogeys see Black people and go, “Oh my gawd it’s a Black person!”

    Everyone else goes, “It’s a person. Sprinting. Shaved head. Spandex (!!). Black.”

    Old fogeys need to chill the hell out.

  58. gibsonic says:

    artists’ paintings depicting negro’s in rows picking cotton in plantation times used the natrual lay of the fields and artistic symmetry. it’s a way to show image depth while really only showing a few characters.

    modern ads depicting symmetry, that just so happen to be of black men DOES NOT mean they are trying to mimic plantation images of black men in the fields with a white master.

    oh btw, i saw an image of elvis kissing the virgin mary in my oatmeal this morning. Quaker Oats is the anti-christ!

  59. maddypilar says:

    Had the mulitplied sprinter been looking up, would the ad have gone over better? The bowed head was the thing that got me…although it took a while to see what it was that was offensive (besides the clunkiness of the ad and message).

  60. LTS! says:

    Well.. here’s food for thought…

    If you noticed a racial problem with this ad perhaps you have race on your mind a little too much. I don’t care whether you saw it from a white perspective or black perspective.. if you saw it, you are too concerned about race.

    I didn’t notice a damn thing about it. In fact, the entire picture just look stupid. But that’s another story.

    Racism is caused by people focusing on race as an issue. I never noticed there were black men bowing down, in fact, the only reason I even attempted to analyze the ad was because I was told there was something “wrong” with it. The best I came up with was “They didn’t use women as well?” I suppose if there were multicultural women sprinters in that picture they’d be seen as bowing down to man.

    If you reversed the picture would people be offended? I doubt it.

    Oh well.. time to move on.

  61. The Dude says:

    Decent adds that ‘may or may not’ have racial undertones can get by. But this one, being a weak ad, people have the right to nail it. If the idiots had just thrown in 1 or 2 white guys, there’d be no fuss.

  62. urban_ninjya says:

    The only problem I see is the WHITE MAN is the boss. Replace those black sprinters with chinese children knitting walmart shirts, you’ll get the same problem.

  63. tschepsit says:

    @gibsonic: White sprinter with a 2004 Olympic gold medal.

  64. axiomatic says:

    I just don’t see the fuss. It’s obvious to me that the design was not intentionally racist. I submit that the viewer is interjecting a racial connotation that was not there to start with.

    Yes I just called you racist.

    The wussification of America continues… pansies.

  65. gibsonic says:

    @tschepsit:
    nice find, except it was in the 400M.

    I personally ran the 400M in high school. I’m white. I did ok and beat a lot of black and white guys. However on anything shorter than the 400M i was routinely beat by black guys.

  66. If you noticed a racial problem with this ad…

    @LTS!: then you’re not blind.

    Look, I’m not saying the Intel ad is racist but to insist that the black sprinters in the ad are not immediately noticable is just ridiculous. You don’t have to analyze the ad to see that it looks like six black men bowing to a white guy. They should have caught it.

    Just because I don’t pretend everyone I look at is the same shade of tan doesn’t mean I’m “too concerned with race”.

  67. Steel_Pelican says:

    I think it would be an interesting exercise for future postings of this sort, to first post a story that says “what’s wrong with this ad?,” followed only by the picture. Let the commenters figure out what the problem is, as a way of guaging the overall “outrage” about a particular ad.

    When I first saw this ad online a few days ago, I didn’t immediately notice racial overtones. After reading the story, I saw them. But, in the spirit of disclosure, my ancestors came from Ireland and Norway.

    I just think it would be an interesting social experiment to see how many people pick up on the real or imagined subtexts- without pointing them out first.

  68. ahwannabe says:

    @trai_dep: Defend racism by injecting ageism. Nice.

  69. we're only gonna die says:

    @LTS!: I don’t think racism today is “caused” so much as it simply exists, and the problem with this ad, whether intentional or not, is that it reinforces a prejudicial and superficial view of people.

  70. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    Actually, white people should be offended: the ad is implying that you guys can run vary fast.

  71. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    Oops… I meant “can’t run very fast.”

  72. ladycrumpet says:

    I get what the ad is trying to communicate, I understand that the sprinter is in his startup pose, but so what? The imagery is still racist. Was it intentional? Doubtful. Incredibly thoughtless and stupid? Sure.

    There are worse incidents of racism, but it’s wrong to dismiss the criticism of this ad as an overreaction. It’s entirely possible that normal people who aren’t evil or backwoods are capable of being racist, simply by being thoughtless. At least Intel recognized there was a problem, instead of being defensive and accusing their critics of being wusses, too PC and overly sensitive, unlike most of the comments here.

  73. engunneer says:

    @startertan: Um – Bill Gates doesn’t own Intel…

  74. Christy says:

    I have to say that I’m pretty surprised at the comments I’ve skimmed through so far, and that I can’t really understand the collective rolling of the eyes. I saw this ad and immediately my jaw dropped. With the media being as hyper-aware as it tends to be with things like this these days, I just cannot figure how this would ever make it into print. Honestly, even if it were just a white guy looking smug and lording over all black employees without all the bowing and the “maximizing the power” business, it would be suspect, in my opinion. Then throw in the broad, sweeping generalizations about work ethic and athleticism, and you have a real mess. And I’m even not black.

    Intel is a big corporation. You can bet that this ad had to go through at least a few dozen hands before it went to print. And part of your job as an advertiser is looking at it through a few different sets of eyes and asking yourself how many ways it could possibly be construed. Bottom line, I’m having a hard time believing that the possibility of outrage didn’t cross anyone’s mind at Intel before it was approved.

  75. xamarshahx says:

    if it were white sprinters and a black guy standing, would it have been offending?

  76. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Dude everyone needs to chill the F*ck out. Its not racist its a ad a bad one but still just an add. I grasped the meaning of the ad as soon as I read it and the thought of “oh my god the massa is lording over his slaves” never crossed my mind until reading some of the posts. This is being blown way out of control.

    Oh and if you really want to be racist the white male is the most repressed person in America. We can’t do anything without being branded racist, sexist, ageist and so on. Everyone thinks its ok to talk crap about the whiteys but if it was reversed we would be the bad guy. I can’t even count the amount of times I have heard comics and even just regular people putting down whites, but if it was a white comic OMG your racist.

  77. nakedinlb says:

    OMG! Get a life people. What if it were 6 white guys and 1 black guy? Or some other combination? As a white American I’m sick of having tread on eggshells all the time that some people with different skin color will be offended. When/How can I stand up for my white heritige without being branded a racist? There’s Black Pride Month. I’m sure there’s Asian Pride Month somewhere. When is White Pride Month? When can I say I’m proud to be white and not have everyone think I’m a racist-nazi-skinhead? I’m a redheaded boy from So Cal and I’m proud of it.

  78. gibsonic says:

    you know, i was a bit mistaken about all the symmetry in this picture. The white dude isn’t standing exactly centered in the isle and it looks as if the runner on the right at the back of the picture is coming out of the white dude’s arse.

    now THAT’S something to get offended about.

  79. savvy9999 says:

    Hmmm. Anyone have a life-preserver? Some people are going overboard.

    This is simply another classic example of how, regardless of one’s political bent, if you’re an [insert your passion/issue here]-fixated hammer, everything starts to look like a [insert your passion/issue here]-ist nail.

  80. Pelagius says:

    I took one look at it and got the symbolism immediately: Use Intel or a gang of hip-hoppers will mug you, whitey.

    It’s totally obvious.

  81. startertan says:

    @engunneer:

    Shows you how close I was actually looking at it. I thought it was a Microsoft ad. Doh!

  82. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Oh, thank God, somebody gets it. I mean, I know being white means you don’t have to think about the racial connotations of stuff if you don’t want to, but I’m always surprised by just how many white people take advantage of that privilege.

    I love all the people saying “I didn’t notice anything going on with this ad because I don’t see race!” Liar. Yes you do. You are not “colorblind.” Those are not “nice outdoor tans.” You may have no intention of discriminating against someone of a different race, but to claim that you don’t notice it at all is just insulting everybody’s intelligence.

    Everybody, regardless of race or politics, sees the exact same thing when they look at this ad: six black men, bent over double, and a white man in the middle. That’s what is there. Unless you are actually blind, you see that too. It’s okay to acknowledge that someone is black. It’s only the truth.

    I would respectfully submit that a black person might be more likely to see racism in this image because he/she has experienced repeated acts of racism, both overt and covert, throughout his/her entire life. This does not make black people who object to the ad “overly sensitive” or “PC police” or pussies or dumbasses or any of the other charming terms used in this thread; it means that they have a different cultural and personal context from which they view images like this. Telling them that their feelings are stupid and wrong is incredibly condescending and inappropriate.

  83. gibsonic says:

    @Pelagius:

    you’re showing your age. hip-hoppers haven’t worn spandex since the early 90′s.

  84. gibsonic says:

    just because someone else was racist to you before, that doesn’t mean you are allowed to cry foul if someone else very accidentally and unintentionally does something that you perceive as racist.

    the entitlement attitude in this country is unbelievably out of control.

    sure, have your own feelings and opinions about the matter, that doesn’t mean YOUR feelings should dictate corporate or public policy when they are clearly your own hang-up.

  85. I think some people just look for a reason to get mad at something. I think the ad is stupid, but not racist.

  86. Pelagius says:

    @gibsonic: They’re wearing the parachute pants now, eh?

  87. cprincipe says:

    @Cumaeansibyl: I just see people in the ad. Is that racist?

  88. mammalpants says:

    actually, this is a stereogram.
    if you stare at the white guy long enough, the black guys all look like macro photographs of ticks!

    ticks arent people!!!

    as a human, i am pissed at this.

    Shame on you, Nancy Bhagat Vice President, Director of Integrated Marketing.

  89. inno says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer:
    AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA


    “The white male is the most repressed person in America.”


    No dude, it’s saying ignorant shit like that that makes you be branded racist.

    ‘Cause you know, the whole damn country is being run by black people and women! I mean, every president we’ve ever had was either black or a woman, and I won’t even mention Congress!

    Nemesis, you’re a perfect example of why some people are categorically NOT entitled to their opinion.

  90. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @gibsonic: Actually, yes it does, because pointing out that something is or could be construed as racist does not constitute an accusation of conscious racism.

    For instance, it’s no longer generally accepted to use the word “Oriental” in reference to a person’s race, but not everybody knows that. Telling someone “hey, it’s better to say ‘Asian’” is not the same thing as saying “you’re a racist.” It’s just a correction that needs to be made.

    Not all racist overtones are deliberate. Sensible people know that and will cut you some slack for an accidental offense, but they’re still going to tell you to change what you’re doing because they don’t want you to perpetuate racism unintentionally.

    Those who believe that this is a deliberate act of racist propaganda on Intel’s part are exaggerating the matter beyond all reason, but they’re also a very small minority, from what I’ve been able to tell. Everybody else can tell that this is one of those things that happens when your ad agency is staffed with clueless people. Now, if Intel had thrown a fit and refused to pull the ad, then people would start accusing them of being racists.

  91. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @inno: Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the WHITE MEN???

  92. mammalpants says:

    you know what guys? im really glad we are having this discussion. knowing is half the battle!

    thanks for caring about racism, intel. to show my gratitude, id like to order 10,000 core 2 duos, please.

  93. inno says:

    @CumaeanSibyl:
    Thank you for having the cool head to respond to this eloquently and respectfully. I was (and still am) too infuriated by the reek of arrogance and ignorance in some of the expressed opinions to form a coherent thought, but I am glad that someone else can. Thanks.

  94. gibsonic says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: everything you just said is nothing but PC BS.

    While I agree certain words are degrading like the “N” word, is that really any worse than calling someone a moronic fuckhead, or stupid cunt?!

    It’s a vicious cycle that is getting this country no where. The PC movement make people more aware of every word connotation and visual interpretation that it does nothing but perpetuate the divide by point things out all the time that are racist!

    and as a side note for all of you that hate it when people make Office Space references…

    yeeeeeeaaaaah….i’m going to need you to go ahead and bend over in a crouched sprinter’s stance that in no way makes you look like you are bowing before me. That would be greeeeeeeat!

  95. SurrenderMonkey says:

    That is whack

  96. rcsfca says:

    I am not black and I found the ad to be offensive. People on the this board should read their marketing history to discover how historically minorities have been portrayed poorly in ads in order to sell products. I also find it interesting that there are several comments here from people stating that they don’t understand why such a small ad would cause so much trouble. I find it interesting that some of those same people make a big fuss of more trivial things such as their x customer service didn’t pick up the phone, or their flight was delayed 10 minutes or the UPS guy was late 2 minutes…

  97. gibsonic says:

    everyone is entitled to their opinion. that doesn’t mean their opinion is right.

  98. SJActress says:

    I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I didn’t notice that all the sprinters were black and the “boss” was white. I guess I really am colorblind!
    Now that it’s been pointed out, I could certainly see how someone could be offended by it.

  99. LTS! says:

    @CumaeanSibyl:

    Oh, because I didn’t notice the racial implications. It can’t possibly be because I didn’t even care. I’m glad you have used your superior intellect to call me a liar.

    By the way, nice to see you assumed I am white. Where did you get that from? You simply exemplify my initial statement. If everything in this world is about color to you then all you’ll ever see is color.

    Are you telling me that I should look at the people I see walking past me and say, well, he’s black, better watch my wallet, or well he’s white, with faded jeans and a dixie flag walking with his sister/wife, or well he’s asian I bet he can calcluate pi to one million places.

    Do you even understand how ludicrous that sounds? Yes, I see people’s skin color, it’s like saying I didn’t see someone wearing a blue shirt. It’s a color, it has nothing to do with anything. I’ve seen people of every color exhibit every range of social behaviors, from intelligence to criminalistic.

    When do people move past race as an issue? Why does it have to be an issue? You can be prejudiced against someone for a million different reasons and only one of them is the color of their skin. But somehow this is more important than the other 999,999 reasons… because why? Because in the past some people decided that they would treat Africans as slaves and second class citizens? So, I guess because because the Romans used people of all races as slaves we shouldn’t put people in advertisements because it represents slavery.

    Where does it end? When can you finally say to yourself, I need to stop worrying about such things. If you are going to continue the fight against prejudice then good luck, Sisyphus.

  100. Paradise says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: i would have glossed over it if i’d seen it in a magazine. i’m not actively scanning for what you perceive to be hidden messages.

  101. axiomatic says:

    “People on the this board should read their marketing history…”

    Why not just hand out Lithium? Lithium works faster.

  102. Lavanaut says:

    What’s interesting to me is Intel’s claim of “40% more performance for business”. I’d really enjoy debating the racism involved in their competitors’ ads depicting a measly 4.28571 black men.

  103. gibsonic says:

    do people read comments on the 2nd page?

  104. A_B says:

    There have been several thoughtful comments by CumaeanSibyl and others, that I agree with.

    What’s distressing is the cavalier attitude by other people about the iconography. It’s pretty clear that the reason many people don’t “see” the problem in the add is that we have grown accustomed to seeing images of black men as second tier (to put it mildly).

    In most stories, movies, video games, what have you, the white male is the leader. The black man, even if he is depicted positively, is usually just a sidekick. We have come to accept this structure as normal. Obviously there are varying degrees of this structure, from “Steppin’ Fetchit” to Lando Calrissian. It’s not necessarily racist to have a white male lead, and a black man as a supporting character.

    Think about the times when those roles are reversed. They’re rare, and usually generate some commentary (“can a black leading man open a movie?”).

    While there is in fact a tendency of extremists, on both sides, to react negatively to certain comments (from “you racist!” to “you’re aiding and abetting the enemy!”), this does not mean that every objection is necessarily meritless.

    Here, the iconography used is so beyond the pale, that a failure to recognize it or appreciate it once highlighted, indicates a troubling level of conditioning, or acceptance of the “white man first, black man second” iconography.

  105. Bay State Darren says:

    If someone as über-liberal as me says they don’t think it’s racist, and it isn’t, then how does anybody else? [Except, of course, alarmists and attention hogs. I probably just answerd my own question.] Bottom line: Please don’t blame liberals in general for overreacting to this and sounding the racism alarm, most of us aren’t. Just a few nutjobs.

  106. ikes says:

    It is obvious from the copy that the sprinters represent not employees but processors. When is the last time you saw a white processor? GEEZ, PEOPLE.

  107. royal72 says:

    hahahahahahahahahahaha that’s fucking great!!!! i can’t believe that out of the fifty or so marketing executives surely involved in this project, no one noticed the possible implication of the ad. to busy sending memos about wacky hat fridays i’m guesstimating.

  108. Trick says:

    They should have used the fat black woman from here,

    [consumerist.com]

    She is already in the sprint position! Is that just as racist???

  109. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @gibsonic: So the PC police are “perpetuating the divide,” by which I presume you mean the racial divide, because they’re “point[ing] things out all the time that are racist!”

    … in other words, objecting to racism perpetuates racism. I’m not buying it.

    @Paradise: Nobody’s required to scan media for hidden messages. Some people are just more likely, because of personal experience or cultural background, to see certain subtexts. It’s not fair to reject their observations out of hand because we didn’t see the same thing on first glance.

    @LTS!: I did not say that people who say they don’t care about race are liars. I said that people who say they don’t see race are liars. As you said, people see race in the same way they see a shirt color or a hairstyle: it’s a set of visible characteristics that you can’t choose not to observe. How you choose to react is, of course, an individual matter. What I’m saying is that some people are so determined to prove themselves entirely without prejudice that they will claim they “don’t see race,” which is patently absurd. What they mean to say is that they don’t attach any particular significance to race, which is laudable if true, but not at all the same thing as “not seeing.”

    With that said, I would point out that there are generally two kinds of people who “make an issue” of race: the people who suffer racial discrimination every day of their lives, and the people who perpetrate that discrimination. The rest of us, if we so choose, can afford not to pay attention.

    Where does it end? When can you finally say to yourself, I need to stop worrying about such things. If you are going to continue the fight against prejudice then good luck, Sisyphus.

    So my choices are to either pretend that an injustice doesn’t exist or to engage in a futile, hopeless battle against it while people make fun of me?

    Well, that rock’s not going to shove itself.

  110. centraal says:

    For those of you saying they don’t see a problem, or that this is somehow a “hidden” — I doubt you’ve ever been discriminated against for race or ethnicity. Believe me when I say that it shocks and angers you, even when you’re somewhat used to it. It’s an even bigger hoot when people accuse you of “making a big deal out of nothing.” This advertisement is ridiculously bad and clearly exhibits racist overtones.

  111. LuvJones says:

    What gets me is white folks are saying “Oh gee I don’t see it” You don’t see it because it doesn’t offend you, but couldn’t you possibly see how it just MIGHT offend a black person? Judging from alot of the responses I guess not. Probably the same white folks who claim there is no racism at their jobs or in their neighborhood. Yeah if it doesn’t affect you it’s certainly NOT there, right?

  112. Protector says:

    That someone cannot see the issue with this ad is an issue in and of itself.

  113. Wubbytoes says:

    This is unbelievably stupid. Racism does exist in the world today, anyone that says that it doesn’t is an idiot. I am someone who has been the victim of racism. But, I really fail to see how this ad is “insensitive” or “insulting.”
    Give me a break.

  114. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    OK Everyone, take a deep breath and repeat after me:

    Al Sharpton is not the emperor of black people!

    Now, I forwarded this ad to a few of my fellow educated, successful, Black folks and asked “What’s wrong with his picture”, and 20 out of 20 of us agree: YAWN!

    The sista has spoken. You can stop arguing now.

  115. jaxcs says:

    Stated baldly, t’s an ad with a smiling white guy in the middle of six bent over black guys. How hard is it to note racial overtones? Given our country’s history, how do people fail to notice the unintended message?

  116. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @roche: Yeah! Why the HELL should I care about other peoples’ feelings!

  117. crushtheenemy says:

    it looks to me like the black guys are trying to tackle the white guy…that’s just me… :)

  118. frozen_saint says:

    @cumaeansibyl:

    True to your name you’re playing Cassandra for a lot of ignorant people here. You are a trooper for responding so intelligently and respectfully. Don’t you find it interesting how people feel the need to prove you wrong?

    The thin-skinned people who recognize that racism may exist, even in the highly suggestion-saturated medium of advertising may not be colorblind, but those that accuse them of seeing things that aren’t there may simply be like the colorblind-incapable of seeing what’s actually there.

    Being politically correct, playing lip service and being inoffensive out of fear and obligation, is as offensive to me as it is to you. There is a difference between being PC and recognizing that though one may not be deliberately racist (e.g. i grew up with kids who sincerely thought that jews grew horns, blacks had an extra bone in their leg, etc.), to remain ignorant or in denial is to allow the perpetuation of racist ideas.

    Consider a VW ad with a blond haired and blue-eyed factory manager surrounded by hunched over rabbis assembling cars: “The new Jetta is 100% Kosher.”* If you had no awareness of the holocaust or the use of slave labor in concentration camps, it’d simply be a stupid ad. But i suspect most of you would recognize that it’d be pretty twisted. To the rest of you, ignorance is indeed bliss no?

    Now that I have invoked Godwin’s Law, comments are over.

    *Note to VW AG: MAKE THIS AD.

  119. aikoto says:

    I don’t really see the problem either. They took a single runner and duplicated him. It’s not like they purposefully found six black guys.

  120. superslowmo says:

    there are actually two sprinters. look at the shading on the ribcages, the positioning of the small finger, and the shading on the muscles of the upper arm.

  121. bdgbill says:

    Why don’t we just pass a law that says minorities must only be depicted in the media as lawyers and doctors (ala Cosby Show)? Oh, anf they must be good doctors and lawyers – not the evil type.

  122. LTS! says:

    @A_B: It’s not that I am accustomed to seeing a white in the “dominant” position. It’s that I don’t care who it is in that position. I’m not so ignorant as to say racism does not exist, of course it does. But when you have idiots like Sharpton and Jackson who spout off about racist implications in everything then the message gets lost. I might point out, a few references where the “black man” was not subservient to the “white man”. Star Trek Deep Space 9 (black man runs everything), Bruce Almighty, (hell, God was black!), The Negotiator (black man solves white corruption). There are examples seen everyday where the stereotypes that people worry about are not present. My question is, when is it enough? When will it not matter anymore? If this ad is so horribly racist then what about the people who still believe black people are animals?

    @CUMAEANSIBYL: I don’t see “race”. I see a color. With the mixing of color in this world how can anyone be sure what “race” someone is. If you mix black and white, you will get a variation of skin colors, is this person black, are they white? What race are they? That I suppose is up to the individual person to decide.. if there even is such a thing. So what’s the point?

    I don’t even know what race is anymore. I’ll believe it to be a color, but we’re all different colors so what difference does it make. One person is lighter another is darker.. so what? Even within the boundaries (if you can define such a thing) of black, white, yellow, red, brown, and so on there are variations of colors. I think the problem is that race gets confused with ethnicity because in many cases they run parallel with each other. ie. black = African-American… well.. does it? I have plenty of black friends who refuse to refer to themselves as African-Americans. As they say, they’ve never even been to Africa. It’s like a white person stating they are Irish-German-Anglo-Franco-Americans. There are a lot of dark skinned people in Haiti, are they all African-Haitians? It’s just patently absurd the terms we use in this country to refer to people.

    Certainly there is a history of negative connotation towards the term “black man”. There are people who say, I’m brown, not black. From a technical standpoint I suppose they are correct, but you know it’s like playing the color game in an Eddie Bauer catalog. Look at that red shirt, that’s not red, it’s tomato. Oooookay, whatever.

    People are called white, but they are really pink or something else, certainly not white. So what, it’s close enough. Everyone wants to break that association of negativity with “black” but if you keep referring to it then you will carry it along into whatever term you use. Just get over it and move on. Ignore it and it ceases to be an issue. Mind you I mean the issue of “black” as a negative term not racism which will never go away.

    If you believe the rock will get somewhere, then by all means keep on pushing, but don’t be surprised when others begin to see your exuberance over moving the rock an inch as nothing monumental, especially when the rock will end up back where it started anyway.

  123. gibsonic says:

    oooh oooh pick me! pick me! Is it my turn again?!

    @CumaeanSibyl:
    So the PC police are “perpetuating the divide,” by which I presume you mean the racial divide, because they’re “point[ing] things out all the time that are racist!”

    … in other words, objecting to racism perpetuates racism. I’m not buying it.

    Just because you aren’t buying it, doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. Examples of this are everywhere.

    Michael Vick – how some people are able to make his whole situation about race is beyond me, but yet that is exactly what is happening/happened.

    Duke Lacrosse team – completely innocent, the stripper made it all up but yet Sharpton and half the black activist in the country had the Duke players crucified before they ever got a day in court. Wouldn’t you say it was actually NON-racist of them to desire a black stripper at their party in the first place. Sure the guys are all rich white boys, in a racist world, wouldn’t they only want white girls?

    The stream of ignorance can flow in both directions. You accuse others of being ignorant or blind to overt or covert racism, but you are easy to show a blind eye when people go around beating the racism war drum and sensationalizing a non-issue to the point where it opens old wounds which is destructive to the cause of racial healing.

    Buy it or not, talking about an issue and talking through an issue to resolution are very different things. Sharpton and Co. as much as they wish they were, will never be MLK. They talk to hear themselves speak and for their own gain and popularity. Sharpton is the farthest thing from a Reverend that I’ve ever seen. Maybe he missed that part in his Bible in the beatitudes where it says, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will inherent the earth” would anyone call Sharpton a peacemaker? honestly?

    Just talking about an issue on the internet or CNN doesn’t necessarily help it. Talking through an issue with action steps of healthy change are what makes a difference.

    i agree with the comments above about how race is really a nondescript way of classifying people these days in the US. It’s not called the melting pot for nonthing

  124. frozen_saint says:

    Gibsonic, I don’t think anyone is denying that ignorance goes both ways and bringing in spurious outside examples of PC idiocy and ignorance does not undermine the assertion that overt/covert/unintentional racism exists, like in this advertisement. As a flipside to your Duke lacrosse/Vick examples (which are arguably more sensationalist media driven than PC thug driven) if race is in the eye of the beholder, why are black felons given harsher sentences than equivalent white felons?

    It gives me pause when people are quick to label and dismiss a matter or people, as you do by claiming this case as mere PC sensationalism or lump everyone who disagrees with you as members of the Sharpton camp.

    It’s a very simple matter: in a neutral society it is merely a picture, but given the context and history, it causes offense. If someone can’t understand or feels the need to argue that it shouldn’t cause offense–especially to the people who feel it, maybe he or she should evaluate his or her own perspective.

    Yes it hurts to be lumped into a group or have things assumed about you, a lot of people have dealt with such feelings all their lives, for matters more important than an ad, and this is why it’s important to draw the line and raise awareness.

    It’s very convenient and easy to say that race doesn’t exist, that it’s a human construct and conception, and therefore we should ignore it as though it were a bogeyman. But this bogeyman has very real effects on real people. Ignoring matters will not change things, and for those who are satisfied, why change anything? Some people eat dirt and call it fine, some people complain, and some people complain about the complainers. To the people I lump as the willfully ignorant, taste soil, it’ll only make you wiser.

    Read a book:
    [www.amazon.com]

  125. nidolke says:

    @zeitguess: They’re not “bowing down” to whitey, they’re track runners ready and in position to start a race. Derpaderrrp.

  126. gibsonic says:

    @frozen_saint:

    there isn’t a rolleyes big enough to respond to this diatribe.

  127. deverbative says:

    This ad points out racism in American culture today. It’s no longer white people saying black people are inferior- that’s no longer socially acceptable. It’s white people complaining black people are too sensitive about racial issues.

    The problem was obvious to me when I looked at it.

  128. tz says:

    Are all sprinters bald, or have I missed the joke?

    I can see how the tonsorially challenged might object (and I’ve victimized myself with DIY haircuts, and may even attempt to become light headed).

  129. nakedinlb says:

    i’m so fucking tired of people telling me to be PC. bullshit. i’ve never been PC and i’m not about to start now (i’m 42). if your feelings have been hurt, tough shit. get thicker skin and move on. that’s life, baby. while i agree some words have negative connotations, the “N” word, etc. i can remember my grandfather use the word “colored” until the day he died 2 years ago. that’s what he was brought up using. he wasn’t being racist, just the term at the time of his upbringing. (funny aside, in my office, someone asked for colored paper for something. someone shouted out, “i think the proper term is now “african-american paper”. the entire office died laughing, yes, including all the black, asians, indians, whites, etc. of which there is no dominate group.

  130. suburbancowboy says:

    In an effort to avoid any implications of racism, it seems like in every commercial on TV now (in which people of different ethnicities are featured), the boss is always the black guy, and the employees are always the white ones. The white guy is always the one doing something dumb or goofy, and the hip black dude looks at him in disgust. Or in WaMu’s case, all of the bankers are stodgy old white men, while the cool guy who isn’t going to overcharge you and give you ridiculous fees is a black guy. Nobody freaks out when this happens. It is a shame that people even think about race anymore. Myself included.

    That said, the sprinters can definitely be perceived as bowing down or being subservient to their white boss, and it could’ve definitely got the same message across in a better manner. Any controversy would’ve been avoided by not going the cheap route and using the same guy for all six sprinters, and throw a couple of white guys in there.

  131. snowferret says:

    Funny how this slaps some people right in the face as soon as they see it and others don’t notice how it could be offensive until it’s pointed out. I wouldn’t read too much into it though.

  132. Charles Duffy says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    “Mountain out of a molehill” or not it’s pretty obvious what the problem with the ad is.

    I didn’t realize the sprinters were black. Seriously. On first glance at this ad, I didn’t peg them for race at all. I thought “crappy ad”, to be sure, and the guy up front had an expression on his face that struck me as unnatural, but that’s about the extent of it.

    Which isn’t entirely typical for me — I grew up in a tiny little racially-homogeneous community while hearing about racial tensions on the news every night, and so I have some trouble with avoiding undue connotations (which has gotten better over the years, but not as much as I’d like). But when looking at the sprinters, I just thought “atheletes” (wasn’t sure if they were sprinters or swimmers ready to jump off a line — the pose is pretty similar), not “black”.

  133. MadMolecule says:

    @LuvJones: I think there’s a problem in your assumption that anything that “MIGHT offend a black person” is automatically offensive. Pretty much anything one can say could conceivably, in some set of circumstances, offend someone somwhere; if we’re all required to only say things that could not possibly offend anyone at all, the world will get mighty quiet. And boring.

    For example, my first sentence in this post COULD be construed to mean “racism doesn’t exist and black people are paranoid and hypersensitive.” (That is NOT what I meant, of course.) But because there is the possibility that someone could misinterpret it to mean something other than what I intended, does that mean I shouldn’t say it? Or moreover, that I should be reprimanded somehow for saying it?

    When the Supreme Court examines laws that limit speech, they always specify that the prohibited speech (conspiracy, treason, child pornography, solicitation, copyright infringement, etc.) must be VERY clearly defined. If the definition is vague, then there will be a gray area in which people aren’t sure if certain speech is punishable or not, and obviously people will stay out of that gray area, afraid to say things that are actually protected speech. In these cases, the Court says that a vague law will have a “chilling effect” on free speech.

    The notion that anything that might possibly be offensive to someone should be taboo would have a MAJOR chilling effect on people’s ability to reasonably discuss issues that sorely need discussing.

  134. MadMolecule says:

    @Charles Duffy: I didn’t realize they were black either until I went back for a second look to figure out what was offfensive.

  135. peeweeherman says:

    The sad thing is if were a black guy standing there with the sprinters being white nothing would have been said.

    It’s not racist at all. Clearly it is implying that your employees will “sprint” through their work. It’s looks nothing like black men bowing down and if you see that then that says more about your mentality.

    I personally find it more offensive when people treat blacks as if they’re handicaps. They’re not as strong as white people so we have to treat them nicely and protect them because they’re simply not as strong as white people. That is what a lot of this PC BS sounds like too.

  136. FrankGrimes says:

    It is totally racist because white people are track stars too.