Washingtonpost.com: Michelle Singletary's Color of Money | Toyota cars catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews

Washingtonpost.com: Michelle Singletary’s Color of Money

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My jaw dropped when I saw the Toyota ad on the back cover of the January of Jet magazine, a publication aimed at readers.

The ad read: Unlike last BOYFRIEND, it goes to IN THE MORNING. Say what? Was Toyota that it has a car that is more and dependable than black Was that supposed to be funny? If so, the was lost on me.

For background, read my column and browse an archive of my columns.

Rockville, MD: Did Jet offer any as to why it ran the ad? As an African-American magazine, it should be attuned to what would or be considered offensive within its I agree big corporations and advertising are generally unable to accurately minority groups’ hot buttons. is why I think the ethnic publications take the lead in educating the It’s good business for all parties.

Michelle Singletary: to another discussion. First let me say I all of you online with me today had a safe trip to your or home. The weather out here is

Now let’s talk race.


The explanation Jet magazine editors was that the ad was mistakenly placed in publication. They claim normal system of screening ads failed. Personally, I think the is hogwash and they certainly some of the blame for allowing the ad to be In many respects if we (meaning expect white-owned companies to to a certain standard and not offend us our businesses should be extra to do the same. Otherwise, I say we take our elsewhere — to white or magazines — that do enough to reject or screen ads.

Baltimore, MD: Women of all can relate to supporting a man who will not Don’t be so quick to apply the issue to everything. Jet’s editor/standards committee obviously But to be truthful, why is the line you gotta a J O B if you wanna be with me oft quoted by women?

Michelle Singletary: if I were a man — black or — I would be offended at all the bashing that is allowed in TV and print ads. Some of my friends are men and every single one of works hard and are good I don’t find anything about suggesting that men be depended on to work or take of their families.

And, women often that you gotta have a J O B because they want a man a job or at least looking hard for I don’t happen to think is anything wrong with do you?

Centreville VA: I agree the bad taste of the Toyota ad. Question: In targeting all audiences, should be represented as a percentage of the population, blacks and Hispanics roughly 10% I do see many more minorities

Michelle Singletary: I like the that companies are finally that minorities have and should be catered to. I don’t seeing ads with all white in them as long as once in a -heck more than in a while- companies, ad agencies that we live in America I want my son and daughter to see themselves in the ads, commercials, TV shows, doctors etc. depicted in the I don’t think companies to try and create a little melting pot in ad but instead strive to represent all of throughout their ad campaign for a car or else.

Tysons Corner, VA: lighten up#33. The ad was merely that you (the woman) go to in the morning while the boyfriend to work in the afternoon or evening, the being that your has a different schedule than you do, impacting your relationship. got nothing to do with reliability or

Michelle Singletary: Now by lighten up do you I should try to be more white? Cuz I offense at that.

Just

Hey, they specifically in the Toyota ad that they had a car might be more dependable someone’s boyfriend.

Centreville, VA: another kind of ad that me. The kind that stereotypes in to increase a firm’s credibility of As someone with Italian I give you the Olive Garden as an example. Their ads are so insulting in stereotype of Italians, I will eat there. But you know what? ads aren’t for me. They’re for non-Italians who us themselves. They’re saying, look at us, we’re really just like you expect to be#33 (I think they that most Italians their food bland and Americanized by our standards, so they don’t care if they us).

Sensitivity training for all ad execs#33!

Singletary: I say, amen, to In reporting this column I to ad executives and experts in marketing and said that to catch attention these days companies are pushing the envelope to be funny or say provocative. The problem is often fall back on old that I don’t find so And, they shouldn’t An earlier person suggested I lighten up. But it’s the little the accepted, often laughed at that leads to so many and the reason why we are still hotly race in this country.

Didn’t mean to be that

Laurel Maryland: Blacks also boycott Jet Magazine for such a racist ad. They have know that an ad would spark resentment blacks. But what can you expect, when blacks become they can become as insensitive as a member.

Michelle Singletary: I certainly agree that as we should make our views by taking our money elsewhere I think this offense a boycott. Both Jet and Toyota they were sorry. we let them off the hook that Hell no. But I do believe that and companies should get a chance to their mistakes. Instead of hammering the companies I think we demand proof that are reforming their ways. We be demanding that Toyota use minority ad agencies, hire minorities on their staff and their creative process to with to make sure doesn’t happen again. As I in the column if a company is going to try and to minorities they had better get it — the first time.

DC: You dodged the question. Why are you so sure the ad was to make a statement about men? Did the ad run only in Jet, or was it magazines, too?

Michelle It helps if you read the column the online discussion. Next do your homework before to class (smile).

Anyway, as I the ad ONLY managed to get into Toyota executives claim it was suppose to run in other female-targeted such as Good Housekeeping. But they CLAIM because of a error the ad was only printed in Doesn’t matter anyway. it had been placed in Good or People I — a black with a fair amount of — found it offensive. Did you There is a stereotype circulating black men aren’t dependable. The ad in ways played on that in an to be funny. It wasn’t. Now are you up to speed?

washingtonpost.com: We are about halfway today’s live discussion Michelle Singletary. We are still your questions and comments.

Ft. Md.: The Toyota ad to me means a lot of but the most telling is the fact this was obviously not created by Americans and not run past African for screen testing. We as an African community do not demand business be amongst our communities, whether it be agents, doctors, lawyers or And then we get upset when Jet let us down. That’s right, Jet demand a certain amount of advertising. If it did, this have happened.

Michelle In my own personal life I have a commitment to do business with businesses. When my husband and I to have a deck built we sure to get three bids and of ourselves to include a black We told the black contractor we preferred to give him the business got to support the brothers and keep of our dollars in our community. However, we that black contractor up to the standards as the white contractors. His bid in lower with a lot of extra The bottom line, is I don’t spending my money with black, Hispanic, Asian or any kind of businessman or woman. I do, try to throw my dollars behind companies. I do expect our black such as Jet to project a fair of my community one that might not be by white companies.

Bethesda, MD: It is OK to get — and it is easy to say lighten up if you are (as I am). What a lot of whites understand is the privilege in not having to about racist ads like So of course, as an African-American, you take Michelle. And so should we all. up Toyota — and Saatchi and These are the messages that our minds — and play out day in other ways.

Michelle Singletary: Preach, my or brother. Far be it for me to say let’s not try to be funny. But so people are down on being correct. All we are saying in being correct is to respect people not yourself. I’ll admit for one column I almost used the Dutch as in dutch-treat or pay your way and pay mine. A good friend of pointed out that dutch be offensive to people of Dutch I couldn’t believe his objection and for I thought was such a harmless But I was dead wrong and I didn’t use the in the column. As my friend pointed out were plenty of ways to say should pay their own way without someone. I got news for companies out if you offend me, you ain’t going to get my That’s my message.

San Francisco, CA:

While I agree with assertion that Toyota employ more minority that tactic in itself (as you realize) needs some

The agency needs to have sense of ethnic identity; being black will not that. They need to an agency that is aware of not blacks, but the spiritual components of Black people need back at themselves. Some some enlightenment. All simultaneously.

Singletary: I certainly can’t with you on this point. companies could benefit your wisdom.

Exiled How do you know that the Toyota ad in was not created by a black ad person or I also think that you lighten up. I really do not understand why you take the ad so personally if the situation in does not apply to you. As for the Garden commercial, I saw it the other day and it was amusing because several I know say the food is less great.

Michelle Singletary: with these lighten up I like my color just

And, I’ve been to be have a pretty good of humor.

The Toyota ad was not funny and it was not created by a person or black ad firm. But if it were, still doesn’t it wouldn’t be offensive. Do you really black people can’t each other? Have you seen HBO’s Def Comedy Jam in so many black comedians referred to our blacks that I watching the show. And you don’t to be black or Italian to be offended by when you see it.

Tysons Corner: I you’re extrapolating too much the ad being targeted for black and black men being the object of You’re assuming because it ran in it was created to target blacks. if it was, you’re then the creator had a negative image in and intended the reader to infer from the ad. I think the word in the ad was referring to the man being home in the or evening when the woman was (some men do have afternoon/evening — just like and not referring to any ability to provide or be a guy. Methinks you doth too much.

Michelle Singletary: you been living in a cave from our civilized world. where have you been the 30 or 40 years? It doesn’t matter if were targeting dogs. The ad ran in a magazine. Blacks men have to be stereotyped as jobless thugs. If you to throw a rock into a and instead hit my head, do you think not going to be hurt? I’m the person who came up with the name for the Washington football didn’t mean to be offensive but is an offensive name.

Washington, DC: I had not read your column I didn’t know it was required But I am now up to speed. I agree that of the ad only in Jet is rather suspicious. leaves me wondering why you say it doesn’t if the ad had been published in People too. If the ad were aimed at a circulation audience, there be no racial issue. So why do you say it doesn’t Any ad that pokes fun at unreliable men is

Michelle Singletary: Perception, perception. It all comes down to

Arlington VA: What are we talking when we say white companies Is Toyota a white company? will always be an issue so as we continue to make it one and to shove it each other’s throats. tired of everything being vs white — if Toyota ran an ad offended you, let’s at not blame it on the fact that is white.

Michelle Singletary: And what we blame it on? Martians? The ad company and that created the ad campaign for are white. They have a cultural upbringing which may them less sensitive to that concern blacks. I hope you aren’t suggesting we should continue to allow ads to be presented to us because frankly mad as hell and I’m not going to it anymore#33

Gaithersburg, Md: Michelle, I your column as I always do on I really think that you are too hard to find ‘race’ it really is not. I do not read Jet yet I saw the ad that you refer to in another magazine (can’t remember one) several months It seemed to apply to anyone who has to someone who doesn’t reliably in the morning. For example, my stepson. up the good reporting, just see what is not there.

Michelle You see somebody reads the column.

what I learned from my this particular ad did not run anywhere And, I see just fine. Saw that made me mad and wrote it. Just trying to enLIGHTEN you

Well, that’s it for the day. As it was a pleasure. Have a wonderful day and be out there.

Copyright 1999 The Post Company

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