Month: January 2010

Of pigs and chickens and a world gone mad

Macdonalds has no dorae-pig because it was afraid to offend muslim sensibilities? Kfc has to pull the plug on an ad that shows a white australian offering a west indian fried chicken, because apparently there is a cultural stereotype in the us relating to fried chicken? What is the world coming to? Clearly people are becoming over-sensitive, to the point of being ridiculous. Religious faith is both simple and complex at the same time. It is simple because there are universals that we can all relate to that cut across faiths, which is probably the biggest draw for millions of normal people. It is complex because sometimes we allow the symbols to take over and lead us by the nose. Racial identity is the same. As long as we continue to lose sight of the wood and thrash among the trees, we will always allow ourselves to be falsely led by a rhetoric of difference, of intolerance, and of fear. Why don’t we change the rhetoric to one of knowledge, confidence and understanding? A consultation with a religious leader could assuage doubt over appropriate symbols in advertising- a step macdonalds could easily take given their budget and their apparent desire to accomodate the sensibilities of their customers. At least they would know for sure what those sensibilities were, instead of bending over backwards in a possibly misguided show of sensitivity. A simple survey among the right sample group could help kfc determine what the issues are in an ad campaign that uses race as a theme, however humorously.

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