Or the dusky dusk

Entirely too many people out there have taken leave of their Census:

“Why so many blacks in ads?” is one of those burning issues that I was totally oblivious to until Frank S. Robinson, no relation to the Hall of Fame outfielder, as far as I know, laid it out recently.

He wrote that “I’ve made a point of tallying blacks in ads and commercials. And in fact they are way overrepresented, relative to their 13+% population share.” Oh, dear! And I thought we were supposed to be post-racial!

I’m not entirely sure why anyone would bother to count up these things. In the first place, it’s a waste of DVR space. (I’m pretty sure that no way has Frank actually watched them all, or even a significant portion of them, live.) Oklahoma City is around 15 percent black, I’ve lived here for 40-odd years, and I don’t recall ever being struck by the demographics of TV commercials, possibly because I have a long-standing tendency to run to the bathroom when the ads start — or possibly because Oklahoma City has been around 15 percent black for 40-odd years. (1970 Census: 13.7 percent.) This town is definitely less white than it used to be — 84 percent then, 62 percent now — and definitely less white than its reputation suggests, but the biggest in-migrations have come from Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

Meanwhile, Frank complains:

“That yuppie demographic is where the consumer-spending money is. And for them, blackness is actually attractive; connoting coolness, hipness, with-it-ness, knowing what’s going on. Not inferior but superior. And to this demographic, an America fully integrating blacks is a better America. Putting them in ads hence creates a positive buzz.”

Well, if that’s where the spending is, the most sensible thing to do is to cater to them, is it not?

The logical thing for Frank to do, presumably, would be to work on some serious reproducing, so as to help offset the general diminution of whiteness in the American population. But I guess that would get in the way of his TV watching.


  1. McG »

    10 August 2017 · 10:42 am

    Assuming, of course, that it isn’t the other way around…

  2. Francis W. Porretto »

    10 August 2017 · 11:11 am

    If you think TV ads are racially unbalanced — which they are, by the way — count up the number of interracial and homosexual couples in contemporary television programming. “Overrepresented” doesn’t do the phenomenon justice.

  3. Mike aka Proof »

    10 August 2017 · 3:02 pm

    “the demographics of TV commercials” I try to watch as few as possible, but it seemed for a while that every time you showed more than two children in an ad, there had to be a ‘Benetton’ mix of boys/girls/blacks/Asians.

  4. Holly H »

    11 August 2017 · 9:10 am

    Um….it’s too soon for any white person to complain about reverse-discrimination. About a decade too soon.

  5. ETat »

    12 August 2017 · 6:29 am

    It is about 2 decades late/overdue, in my experience – ~ same time I’ve arrived in NY.

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