Shame on the Colonel

I can’t view that KFC commercial for the grilled chicked the same way anymore. Not after reading this post over at Stuff White People Do. Really, the more I see it, the more ridiculous it seems. What IS the point of the Asian people dressing/acting that way? Read the swipe below and draw your own conclusions:

Perpetually Think of Asian Americans as Foreigners

I don’t normally post commercials, especially for a grossly abusive and unhealthy outfit like KFC. I’m posting this one because it exemplifies so well something that white people often do–think of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners.

I mean . . . is this for real?

As Angry Asian Man points out about this ad,

As you can see, it features folks of varying size, shape and color debating the merits of fried versus grilled chicken… including two Asian dudes dressed in ethnic costume for no apparent reason. Seriously, everyone else in the commercial is dressed “normally,” but these two Asian dudes — speaking in heavily accented Engrish, for good measure — are going full Oriental.

What is the reasoning behind this? Once again, the Asian guys serve as the funny foreign element in the commercial — looking, speaking, and at the end of the spot, dancing like silly-ass fools. That’s racist!

I don’t know, perhaps KFC would like to hear from you about this. Customer contact info here.

Law Professor Frank Wu calls the racist phenomenon exemplified by this ad the “perpetual foreigner syndrome.” The term should be self-explanatory, but for many, it’s not. Wu’s label basically identifies a common American conception of Asian Americans as outsiders, as “un-American,” no matter how fully they signal their American-ness.

Advertisements like this one play up to and perpetuate this syndrome. Ordinary Americans demonstrate that the syndrome has penetrated and infected their psyches when they laugh along with such portrayals, and when they think of those who object to them as oversensitive purveyors of “political correctness.”

I called KFC and complained. It took a few minutes to get through, but then I spoke to a pleasant and very cooperative person, who wrote down my complaint and promised to “pass it on to upper management.” I added my voice to what I hope becomes an indignant clamor, demanding that they take the commercial off the air.

Will you call? (I don’t see an email address on their contact page.)

U.S. 1-800-225-5532
Canada 1-866-664-5696


Filed under Swiped

4 responses to “Shame on the Colonel

  1. Ehhh. Maybe they aren’t supposed to be Asian-Americans, but just Asians.
    Maybe they do the KFC commercials in their country, and are famous and we just don’t know of them.

    Or maybe this is just a case of Whitey doing what Whitey does best: Not understand people other then themselves.

    Either way… I ain’t eating that grilled chicken.
    Never saw a grill in KFC in my life.
    Them jawns seem like the McRib sammich. Pre-formed and shaped to look natural.


    • Bourgie, JD

      Um, even if they were just Asians… they don’t walk around dressed like that on the regular. At least not the majority. This is based on my experience in two Asian countries so I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
      And according to the post, this perpetual foreigner thing isn’t new. It’s just the way we (Americans and Advertisers) see Asians in general.

      Full disclosure: I had that grilled chicken (before noticing the wackness of the commercial) and it was pretty good. I’ve heard otherwise from folks, but the piece I had was on point. LOL

  2. KFC’s marketing for the grilled chicken has been odd. This isn’t the first commercial to have me watching and wondering – WTF. The entire commercial is a train wreck – from the clucking little girl to both the male and female Doublemint twins. Seriously, I’m not understanding the concept of the grilled chicken commercials. But maybe it’s because I haven’t tried it. I haven’t ‘caught the holy grill’ feeling to understand why people would walk around clucking…commercial or not, it looks stupid.

  3. Philip

    wow people need to be more appreciative of others differences and not try to make fun all the time were all the same inside anyway

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