Brand ambassador Ashton Kutcher debuted a new video for Popchips where he dresses up in different characters for a dating service. And yes, one of those men is Indian. The Washington Post reports that the campaign directs people to a Facebook app, where friends can play matchmaker for each other. (And while stuffing their faces with Popchips, right?)
But let’s back up for a bit.
Does he really dress up as Raj, a “Bollywood producer,” complete with tan make-up and a thick accent? Oh, yes. He does. We’re quite familiar with the whole “yellowface” or “brownface” look, where white people portray our people through the power of foundation and a little tape around the eyes (or in this case, a fake mustache), so Kutcher’s video certainly crosses the line for me. If it’s a faux pas for people to dress up in blackface (and rightly so), what gives them the okay to dress up and impersonate other cultures, races and ethnicities? It’s a cheap laugh based on cheap stereotypes with nothing witty or clever about it.
I know not everyone agrees that cultural/racial impersonations are always racist. But isn’t it ironic that while Kutcher is a huge proponent for human rights, he’ll do something like this?
So what do you think? Is this Popchips video racist or not?